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IOE 899 Seminar Presents: Rhonda Righter, University of California Berkeley - Mar 23, 2011

Mar 23, 2011 | 4-5 PM | 1680 IOE

"The Impact of Customer Flexibility in Service Systems"

Abstract: In many service, production, and traffic systems there are multiple types of customers requiring different types of "servers," i.e., different services, products, or routes. Providing flexible servers that can serve multiple types of customers improves performance, but the cost of providing this flexibility, e.g. for cross-training, may be very high. On the other hand, often some of the customers may be flexible, i.e., they may be willing to change their type in order to achieve faster service, and the infrastructure to take advantage of this customer flexibility is often relatively inexpensive. Our research is in part motivated by a call center which provides service in both English and Spanish. We model our system as a set of alternative multi-server queues, and with a mixture of dedicated (to a single queue) and flexible customers, and exponential services. We extend known results showing that JSQ - Join the Shortest Queue - is the optimal policy for flexible customers.

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