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Optimal service policies under learning effects
by Geoffrey S. Ryder, Kevin G. Ross, John T. Musacchio
International Journal of Services and Operations Management (IJSOM), Vol. 4, No. 6, 2008


Abstract: For high-value workforces in service organisations such as call centres, scheduling rules rely increasingly on queueing system models to achieve optimal performance. Most of these models assume a homogeneous population of servers, or at least a static service capacity per service agent. In this work we examine the challenge posed by dynamically fluctuating service capacity, where servers may increase their own service efficiency through experience; they may also decrease it through absence. We analyse the special case of a single agent selecting between two different job classes, and examine which of five service allocation policies performs best in the presence of learning and forgetting effects. We find that a type of specialisation minimises the steady state queue size; cross-training boosts system capacity the most; and no simple policy matches a dynamic optimal cost policy under all conditions.

Online publication date: Mon, 16-Jun-2008


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