Waiting Line Management in Supermarket

Topics: Quality of service, Service, Service system Pages: 96 (31526 words) Published: May 9, 2013
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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Industrial Engineering and Logistics Management
Final Year Project
Waiting Line Managementin Supermarket Check-Out Process

Group Member | :| Chan WaiNok|
| | Chow Yuen Ching|
| | Wong Wai Ki|
Project Advisor | :| Prof. Rachel Zhang|

1.1Waiting Line System3
1.2Reasons for Managing the Waiting Line in the Check-out Process6
1.3Making Decisions14
1.4Our Main Focus19
2.1Specifications of Problems21
2.2Potential Solutions26
3.1Optimal Scheduling41
3.2Changing the Settings of Express Counters53
3.3Loyalty Card62
3.4Analysis of the Check-out System in Foreign Countries71
4.Conclusions and Discussions97
4.1First Step For Improvement – Optimal Scheduling/ Express Counters97
4.2Further Improvement98

1. Introduction
1.1 Waiting Line System
1.2.1 Simple Waiting Line System
As doing business, companies may encounter problems when providing services to customers. Whenever the demand of customers exceeds the supplies of services from the companies, customers accumulate and wait and waiting lines, or queues, form as a result (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2004). Generally, waiting line is defined as the medium customers wait for the services. In a simple waiting line system, there is an individual processing station, which functions as a service provider, while each customer acts as an arrival. Arrivals enter into the station to enjoy service according to their needs, time schedules or personal interests. The rate of arrivals may be various as different customers have preference in entering the station. The processing station may serve one or more arrivals at the same time, depending on the types of service. When serving each arrival, the service has certain processing time, which may have variations corresponding to different services. After serving the current arrivals, the service ended and the other arrivals enter into the station. Another services start immediately. 1.2.2 Waiting Line System with More Settings

The simple waiting line system only consists of a single station to process each service. As businesses expand, managers may design the setting of waiting line systems with varies processing stations or varies waiting line and the arrival rate may also differ in each situation. (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2004) Comparing with the simple waiting line system, the systems with multiple servers have more advantages as more servers mean a greater flexibility when crowds formed. When a store has more than one processing stations, there are two types of waiting line styles. One of the waiting line styles is the centralized waiting line, which allows customers to wait in that single line and go to one of the processing stations whenever there is a free server. Alternatively, the other is the separated waiting line, which means that there are corresponding waiting line for each processing station and customers have to decide which Counters to go before waiting in that corresponding queue. The two queuing styles have their own advantages and can be well deployed to different business. The business environment should be considered before deciding the waiting line styles. In Hong Kong, different service companies have different setting in designing the waiting line systems. The automated photo taking machines make use of the simple waiting line system. Only one processing station will provide service to customers. When the processing station is busy, other customers have to wait in the single waiting line until the previous service completes. The retail stores and the supermarkets in Hong Kong do not make use of the simple waiting line system. Instead of using...
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