Most people don’t like to wait, be it in a doctor’s waiting room, a shop, or an airport. So, understanding the science of waiting times and finding methods to tackle the waiting time problem is of interest for many.
There is a fundamental contradiction between optimizing the fraction of time that the servers are busy and optimizing waiting times.
Moreover, waiting time are increasing more rapidly if there is more VARIABILITY in the system. Variability can be either in the service time or in the arrival time, or in both.
Of course, this contradiction is rather unfortunate in many circumstances. Usually, organizations want their servers to be busy (for economical reasons), while they don’t want their customers to wait too long (customer satisfaction).
Understanding the science behind this fundamental dilemma helps organizations to think about possible solutions and their consequences.