A queue management system is used to control queues. Queues of people form in various situations and locations in a queue area. The process of queue formation and propagation is defined as queuing theory.
Automatic queue measurement systems for small structured queues
Automatic queue measurement systems are designed to help managers in two ways – first, through enhanced customer service; second by improving efficiency and reducing costs. They use people counting sensors at entrances and above checkout lanes/queue areas to accurately detect the number and behavior of people in the queue. Built-in predictive algorithms can provide advance notice on how many checkouts or service points will be needed to meet demand. Dashboards, available on a computer monitor or mobile PDA device, are often used to provide a range of information, such as dynamic queue length, waiting time data, and checkout performance on the shop floor. In the event that performance falls towards a minimum service level, in supermarkets or banks management teams can be automatically alerted beforehand, allowing them time to proactively manage the situation. Key measurements produced are:
- The number of people entering the store
- Queue length
- Average wait time
- Till operator or bank teller idle time
- Total wait time.
A number of the large UK supermarket chains use such systems for service level and resource management.
Automatic queue measurement systems for large and unstructured queues
Where queues form in unpredictable locations and/or extend beyond a relatively small queue area, overhead detector based queue measurement systems cannot be effectively used. Alternative technology solutions using wide area queue sampling are effective in these situations. One method is using Bluetooth detection from mobile telephones held by people in the queue. Although a sampling technique, as typically 10 – 30% of telephone have active Bluetooth at any one time, it gives a reasonably accurate measurement of average queue wait times where long queues are present. A precise but more expensive method is the use of a people counter. Measuring and counting can be particularly useful in situations such as airport security where a large volume of people pass through an area in varying flow patterns and constantly varying physical locations.
Enterprise grade queue management system
With the improvement of network connectivity, the organizations are exploring for deployment of a centralized computerized queue management system suitable as enterprise grade solution. Computerized queue management system is becoming a part of IT projects within organizations for taking the initiative to use their existing hardware and database to reduce the cost of investment, taking leverage of using internal network connectivity within the branches for central system management and reporting on the customer flow data.
Automatic queue measurement systems for a complete reception solution
Reception management solutions allow managing flows and the purposes of visits from initial contact to the service given.
These intelligent management systems allow to increase productivity and sales and reduce operating costs by ensuring that customer is served by the staff that are the most qualified according to the request. Reception management solutions are above all a way of increasing customer satisfaction by reducing the perceived and actual waiting time, creating a pleasant environment and a fair reception. These innovative reception management solutions also contribute to the satisfaction of working teams by reducing the amount of stress and optimizing the processing of requests. Reception management solutions also enable to generate data about how customers wait and how staff can best serve them. This type of information assists in improving organization processes and in increasing the quality of customer service.
Reception management solutions cover 6 stages:
- Information (can also be done by video, SMS, Internet …)
- Allocation & direction (can also be done by video, SMS, Internet …)
- Waiting & communication (can also be done by video, SMS, Internet …)
- Call (can also be done by video, SMS, Internet …)
Besides these stages, for a complete reception solution, it is useful and efficient to include appointments management, agenda planning and future flows and resources forecasting. These modular solutions, adaptable to various sectors (Retail, Health, Telecommunications, Finance, Transport, Public Sector…), can suit to the management of a simple queue to centralized multiple site organization.