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to help determine the busy times of the day the shop has recorded the number of customers arriving at the tills in each 5 minute interval during the shop\'s opening hours

INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES
ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS

The Students' Union Shop is trying to work out how many cashiers it needs to employ in order to provide an adequate service level. Customers at the shop line up in a single queue and are called forward to pay for their purchases when a till becomes free.

To help determine the busy times of the day, the shop has recorded the number of customers arriving at the tills in each 5-minute interval during the shop's opening  hours, from 8am until 6pm (N.B. this is the number who actually make a purchase and does not include customers who are just browsing).  Records for a period of 5 weeks are available. All the data were collected during term time.

The shop usually functions with just three cashiers but it has the capacity to support up to 6. An extra cashier costs £20 an hour.  The shop is open for approximately 50 weeks each year.  The management has also collected data about the time it takes for cashiers to take payment. These data come from term time and 1000 records are available.

Management are concerned that customers wishing to buy food, in particular,
may be going to other outlets within the university such as the Big Ears Sandwich Shop or the Noddy Bar.

Management are also concerned about the turnover of their staff and would like to reduce their stress and also stop them getting bored.  They would be interested to hear about any innovative operating strategies for doing this.

Part. 1

You are employed as a consultant for the Students’ Union Shop and should
- Provide them with an efficient tool for easily evaluating their current performance using the data provided or new data in a similar format.

You are required to produce a multi-server queuing model using Excel, which could be used by the Students' Union Shop management team for evaluation of their performance using the data provided or any new data that becomes available in a similar format.

The model should be supported by technical documentation, which should give details of the analysis method used, include a description of how it was implemented in a spreadsheet and a brief description of how to use the spreadsheet.

If there is any further information you believe to be essential, make a realistic assumption and explain clearly what you have done.

Part. 2

You are employed as a consultant for the Students’ Union Shop and should

·        Report on their current business, pointing out any existing problems;

·        Suggest improvements to their current strategies.

You are expected to communicate your findings with the management of Students’ Union shop.

You are required to produce a narrative presentation describing your analysis and outlining your results.

Your presentation should review the current situation of the Students’ Union Shop queuing system and suggest ways of improving the service level.

 

You must give a convincing argument to support the improvements you are suggesting, e.g. by showing the cost-benefit of adding an extra cashier in terms of staff utilisation and customer waiting time.

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