Operations Analytics: Queuing in Excel

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CASE STUDY: Waiting Lines (Queuing) For this assignment, you will analyze a case study and prepare a short executive report (plus appendices) that discusses the conditions of the case and your recommendations. CROWD CONTROL AT SUPERMARKETS At a time when all stores need to practice social distancing and crowd control, various stores are experimenting with different queuing systems to expedite customers through the checkout process but maintain social distancing and safety measures. This is going to be a unique assignment for each team of students. Think about the supermarket where you (or a family member) does the majority of your food shopping. You need to estimate (guess) the following values at your local supermarket: COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING TABLE based on the information and ranges provided below: 1. Average # customer arriving per hour* 2. Average minutes needed for a standard checkout** 3. Average minutes needed for the express checkout** 4. Number of Standard Cashiers*** 5. Number of Express Cashiers*** * Arrival rate of customers – estimate the number of customers at your supermarket that complete their shopping and are ready for to checkout each hour (HINT: select a arrival rate between 30 and 70 customers per hour) ** Service time of cashiers – estimate the average time it takes a cashier to process a customer order. HINT: select two service times (1) the average service time for a standard checkout line and (2) the average service time for an express checkout line. (HINT: select the average service time between 5 – 9 minutes for the standard checkout line and 3 – 5 minutes for the average time at the expresss checkout) *** Number of cashiers – estimate the number of standard cashier lines available & number of express lines available. (HINT: select the number of standard cashier lines between 5 and 10 and express /self-checkout lines between 2 and 4) In this case study, you will analyze the current queuing system at your supermarket and a few alternate arrangements to determine the optimal level of staff efficiency and guest service. Your goal will be to improve guest service by reducing the length of time that guests spend waiting in line. (1) Use the data you entered into your table to determine lambda and mu. Note you will have different mu values for the standard cashier and for the express / self-check. (2) For each plan described below, use the values you provided to evaluate the queuing performance measures – average time / number of customers on line and average time / number of customers in the system. PLAN I: SEPARATE LINES FOR EACH CASHIER / ONLY STANDARD: Assume no express cashiers and all customers use the regular cashiers each with a separate waiting line – eg. when a customer completes their shopping, they choose which cashier’s line to stand on for checkout. PLAN II. SEPARATE LINES FOR EACH CASHIER / BOTH STANDARD AND EXRPESS: Now assume that 25% of arrivals plan to use the express cashiers and the remaining customers use the regular cashiers. Again, each cashier has his/her own line. Evaluate the queuing performance measures based on the values you provided – you will need to do separate calculations for each and then ……. PLAN III. SINGLE LINE FOR ALL CASHIERS / ONLY STANDARD: Assume no express cashiers and all customers use the regular cashiers. All customers stand on one line and will use the next available cashier. PLAN IV. SINGLE LINE FOR ALL STANDARD CASHIERS / SINGLE LINE FOR ALL EXPRESS CASHIERS: 25% of customers stand on the express line to wait for the next available express cashier and the remaining customers stand on the standard line to wait for the next available standard cashier. The only difference between PLANS I / II and PLANS III / IV is the line formation. For PLANS I /II, there is a separate line in front of each of the cashiers, for PLANS III / IV, there is a single line that wraps around with a corral (or around the store perimeter) and the next guest will go to the next available cashier). This option would require sufficient space for what could be a substantial queue. PLAN V. Please provide your suggestion for a “better” queuing checkout system. Be creative here and think about ways to maintain safety and be able to expedite the checkout process. Be sure to compare your performance measures to the other plans. Your idea?????? INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare an Executive Summary which should include the following sections: a. (20 points) Case Synopsis (include a brief summary of the case and a description of your supermarket selected and include a description for your Plan V) b. (20 points) Methodology (include a discussion of what information you estimated including the completed table (as shown above) to indicate the values used for your analysis. Create a summary table containing the queuing parameters (lambda, mu, # servers) for of each of the plans (or parts of the plans) c. (40 points) Findings and Conclusions i. Determine the average amount of time that a customer spends checking-out under each option. HINT: for Plans with multiple “systems” (eg. 25% express customers, 75% standard customers) calculate a weighted average for that plan so you can easily compare performance measures to the other plans. ii. Compare the various plans using relevant performance measures (time spent waiting in line / in system, number of guests waiting in line / in system, probability that a customer will need to wait to be served, etc.). You should include a summary table of for the performance measures for each plan. d. (20 points) Recommendation i. Based on your analysis, which option do you recommend? Why? ii. Which of the methods provides the safest scenario in light of best practices for social distancing, etc.? iii. What other issues should you consider in making this decision (other factors)? CASE STUDY: Waiting Lines (Queuing)

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