Adaptive server staffing in the presence of time-varying arrivals: a feed-forward control approach

Testik M., Cochran J., Runger G.

JOURNAL OF THE OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY, vol.55, no.3, pp.233-239, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


We study the short-term staffing problem of systems that experience random, non-stationary demand. The typical method to accommodate changes in arrival rate is to use historical data to identify peak periods and associated forecasting for upcoming time windows. In this paper, we develop a method that instead detects change as it happens. Motivated by an automatic call distributor system in a call centre with time-varying arrivals, we propose a change detection algorithm based upon non-homogeneous Poisson processes. The proposed method is general and may be thought of as a feed-forward strategy, in which we detect a change in the arrival process, estimate the new magnitude of the arrival rate, and assign an appropriate number of servers to the tasks. The generalized likelihood ratio statistic is used and a recommendation for its decision limit is developed. Simulation results are used to evaluate the performance of the detector in the context of a telephone call centre.