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Thursday, November 21, 2019

What is Queuing Theory?

Waiting for a product or a service delivery is a common life experience faced by customers every day. It could be enjoyable or frustrated experience that improve or diminish user loyalty to that product or service. It is very important to be managed well to avoid excessive waiting period, but striving to eliminate the waiting time completely can be very costly to any specific industry. So, it is crucial for business success to keep effective balance between the service cost and the associated waiting time cost (Wang, 2008). Waiting lines happen when service providing capacity appeared to be less than the service demand. Despite of the fact that waiting lines appeared to be linked with service industry, actually waiting lines also happening in the manufacturing industry, like warehouse management. Shortage in service providing capacity can be resulted from demand planning deficiency or through beaks or spikes exceeding the average normal demand (Stevenson, 2015).
Queuing Theory can be described as a process of mathematical analysis for the associated waiting time for service delivery to customers (Investopedia, n.d.). Queueing systems can be divided to two categories: Finite Source and Infinite Source Models. In Finite Source Models, Intensity of requests arrival depends on the system state which include complicated calculations. From the other hand, In Infinite Source Models, requests are independent of the customers’ number in the system which reduce calculation complexity and provide controllable model (Sztrik, 2012).
There are many factors impacting the service provider, like restaurants, brand or reputation include: Food quality and taste, Food and Restaurant cleanliness, Location and ambience, Prices, and waiting, or queuing, time.  Examples of the expected impact of waiting time on service delivery include: Supermarkets, Inventory management, Call centers, Hospitals, Banking Services, … etc. Studying waiting time for service delivery is important to maintain the service provider goodwill and to eliminate customer’s frustration. Three factors can shape customer’s perception about the value expected from needed waiting time, include: Psychological, Physical, and Emotional. So, beside the importance of keeping customer satisfaction and proper management for the waiting time, complete removal of the queuing time could lead to underestimating to the product attractiveness. Queuing Theory deals with waiting times in any service providing industry. It deals with the time needed to provide the desirable service to customers. Queuing process considers six general characteristics: Arrival pattern, Service Pattern, Number of servers, Queue length, System Capacity, and Queuing discipline. General types of Queuing discipline include: First In – First Out, First Out – First In, Random Order, or Priority Discipline (Gumus, Bubou, & Oladeinde, 2017).
Technology provides excellent solutions to reduce waiting lines. Technical solutions and advanced devices can collect, analyze, and categorize waiting lines details quickly and efficiently. Online services, like reservations’ applications, provides service industry with dynamic and high performance platform. For example, online banking services, eliminate/reduce the need to wait in queues for executing monetary transactions. Another example, online hotels services, eliminate/reduce the need to wait in queues for reserving, cancelling, or executing payment transactions. Third example, online telecommunication services, eliminate/reduce the need to wait for call center agent response. And many examples of the use of technical solutions in supermarkets, restaurants, shops, … etc to reduce the customer waiting time for desirable service delivery.
Looking to some of the region restaurants, like Macdonald, Burger King, and others, they installed cabins outside the restaurant to receive customer request before reaching to the delivery counter. Another restaurant, Dominos Pizza, provides special discounts for phone prior ordering before coming to the branch. Also, most of the local restaurants provide delivery service where you can order the meal through phone or application and receive it without the need to visit the restaurant location. Other restaurant, Sub way, utilize Just-In-Time delivery method in front of the customer which balance the waiting time with customer preference selection method. From the other hand, still many of these restaurants having improvement opportunity in the payment methods; e.g. still the use of online payment is less utilized. Actually, the delivery period, for home ordering, still long which need to be improved to avoid pushing customers for physical collection needs.
Autry, C.W., Goldsby, T.J., Bell, J.E. & Hill, A.V. (2013). “Managing the Global Supply Chain” (Collection). USA: FT Press.
Business Dictionary website. (n.d.). "Tradeoff". Retrieved from:
Gumus, S., Bubou, G., & Oladeinde, M. (2017). “Application of queuing theory to a fast food outfit: A study of Blue Meadows Restaurant”. Independent Journal of Management & Production, 8(2), 441-458.
Gillam, G., Simmons, K., Stevenson, D. & Weiss, E. (2014). “Line, line, everywhere a line: Cultural considerations for waiting-line managers”. Business Horizons, 57 (4), 533-539.
Investopedia web site. (n.d.). “Queuing Theory”. Retrieved from:
Sztrik, J. (2012). “Basic Queueing Theory”. Retrieved from:
Wang, J. (2008). "Queueing Theory". Retrieved from:

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