Using different response-time requirements to smooth time-varying demand for service

Whitt, Ward

Many service systems have demand that varies significantly by time of day, making it costly to provide sufficient capacity to be able to respond very quickly to each service re- quest. Fortunately, however, different service requests often have very different response-time requirements. Some service requests may need immediate response, while others can tolerate substantial delays. Thus it is often possible to smooth demand by partitioning the service requests into separate priority classes according to their response-time requirements. Classes with more stringent performance requirements are given higher priority for service. Lower capacity may be required if lower-priority-class demand can be met during off-peak periods. We show how the priority classes can be defined and the resulting required fixed capacity can be determined, directly accounting for the time-dependent behavior. For this purpose, we ex- ploit relatively simple analytical models, in particular, Mt/G/∞ and deterministic offered-load models. The analysis also provides an estimate of the capacity savings that can be obtained from partitioning time-varying demand into priority classes.


Also Published In

Operations Research Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Published Here
September 19, 2017