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Retail Simulation for Customer Wait Times


The Challenge

To minimize personnel expenses or achieve increased satisfaction with service levels.

The Arena Solution

This paper discusses a simulation IP-personnel planning, especially by making use of POS data. First, during the past two years, POS data was carefully reviewed to analyze the frequency with which customers came into the store. Thereafter, based on the correlation coefficients of the data, several customer frequency patterns were established. Then, a stepwise procedure for personnel scheduling was proposed. Simulation modeling was used together with integer programming to minimize total personnel expenses.

In this study, the work load for all operations in every time period is examined in terms of man-hour; hence, work loading is performed in relation to time elapsed during each 24-hour period during the first stage. Then, integer programming is adopted to obtain an initial feasible solution to staffing problems. Finally, simulation experiments are performed together with OptQuest, and optimal solutions are obtained. 


The proposed procedure was used for the actual case. It has been shown that staffing problems can be solved easily and effectively in a real-life situation. The optimal solution cut current, actual working hours by 7.5 %. The work load under the "IP" model decreased working hours by a total of 20 and improved the solution by 30%.

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In this study, a simulation model was constructed and used to examine staff scheduling with particular attention to customer wait times at the cash register at a retail store. All operations performed by clerks were carefully examined to determine staff scheduling at the retail store on campus at Nagoya University. All required data for staffing problems were collected, including the point of sales (POS) data and time study data for all clerks, with reference to the company manuals.