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Answered) ITM 501 Simulation Project Background The value proposition of ABC is providing not only functionality at an affordable price, but also outstanding...


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Simulate the incoming service requests for ABCâs help desk for a week. As required in the project, you need to determine the arrival time and the type of each request. 

ITM 501 Simulation Project Background
The value proposition of ABC is providing not only functionality at an affordable price, but also
outstanding service. As such, they always had very effective customer service, especially with their
help desk that differentiated them from many other businesses at their caliber. In the early days,
the owners each took a 6-hour shift staffing the help desk, which was closed from 11pm to 5am.
This structure worked because ABC’s clients were all North American and mostly from the
Eastern Time zone. As the volume of business and the variety of the clientele increased, the help
desk started running 24-7, and ABC hired dedicated personnel, who work 8-hour shifts. The shifts
are Shift 1: From 8 am to 4 pm, Shift 2: from 4 pm to midnight, and Shift 3: from midnight to 8am.
The help desk employees are typically at the same skill and knowledge level, and they staff the
shifts on a rotating basis, i.e. they all do each of the three shifts some time during the week.
ABC can receive requests via phone, e-mail, or real-time (text) chat over the Web. Most of the
requests are standard; therefore, the help desk personnel’s knowledge and skill levels are
sufficient to handle them. In rare cases that a request needs to be processed by the development or
maintenance team, the help desk employee still logs the request and then passes it on to the
appropriate group. It is ABC’s policy that requests are handled on a first come-first serve basis,
and a request in the queue is processed as soon as a help desk person is available. ABC does not
allow their help desk staff to multi-task, because over the years they observed that they should
pay individual attention to each client.
ABC estimates that the recent expansion of their business into new areas will result in high
demand levels. The distributions of incoming service requests for different time periods will be as
follows: between 12am and 8am exponential distribution with a rate of 3 requests per hour,
between 8am and 4pm exponential distribution with a rate of 4.5 requests per hour,
between 4pm and 12am exponential distribution with a rate of 4 request per hour, Between midnight and 8am, the probabilities of an incoming request being through e-mail, webchat, or phone are 0.60, 0.30, and 0.10 respectively. These probabilities are 0.30, 0.20, and 0.50
respectively between 8am and 4pm, and 0.35, 0.05, and 0.60 respectively between 4pm and
midnight. ITM501 Amir Gandomi, Ph.D. Page 1 of 3 Service time for e-mail requests is uniformly distributed between 5 and 50 minutes; service time for
phone requests is normally distributed with a mean of 18 minutes and standard deviation of 3
minutes, and service time for web-chat requests is given below:
Service time distribution for web-chat requests
Service Time
Probability
(minutes)
8
.16
9
.24
10
.21
11
.20
12
.12
13
.07
They predict that unacceptable service levels could lead to loss business either in terms of lost
clientele or shrinkage of the volume of business from existing clientele. Examining data available
from industry has led them to assume that the amount ($) of lost business from each minute of
delay in responding to a client request (phone and web-chat) will be random with a normal
distribution with mean $0.15/min and standard deviation of $0.03/min. The delay for these
channels can be defined as the time that is elapsed between the arrival of a request and the start
of a response. The cost of delay for e-mail requests (defined as the time between 30 minutes after
the receipt of a service request and the time stamp on the response e-mail) is uniform between
$0.09/min and $0.20/min.
The costs related to help desk staffing are simply the cost of labour (help desk staff wages) and the
cost of lost business. ABC pays $670/week to each of the help desk staff, each of whom will be
working one of the shifts every day for 7 days a week.
The decision that ABC is facing is how many Help Desk staff to assign to each shift to minimize
help desk related costs. Your job is to help them with this decision by simulating these costs
(weekly) using Crystal Ball. The alternatives to consider are whether to assign 1 or 2 staff to each
shift. Therefore there exist 8 alternatives: (Shift 1, Shift 2, Shift 3) = {(1,1,1), (1,1,2), (1,2,1), …,
(2,2,2)}. The cost estimates should be based on 1000 replications (weeks) of the simulation. ITM501 Amir Gandomi, Ph.D. Page 2 of 3 Deliverables
1. Executive Report (to be submitted through D2L by April 30, 11:59pm, one per group):
This is a professionally written report summarizing your analysis and justifying your
recommendation to an ABC manager who understands their business problem, but does not
necessarily know much about simulations or anything else you have learnt in this class.
Submit a Word file named according to the following format:
<last name_1>_<last name_2>_<last name_3>_ Executive Report.docx
2. Detailed Analysis (to be submitted through D2L by April 30, 11:59pm, one per group):
This is a Crystal Ball/Excel file supported by sufficient explanations of your model. It should
be intended for someone who is knowledgeable about how decision modeling and simulation
work (such as your instructor).
<last name_1>_<last name_2>_<last name_3>_Detailed Analysis.xls
3. Peer evaluation (to be submitted through D2L by each student by May 1, 12:00pm):
Download and complete the peer evaluation form from D2L. It is available under
“ContentSimulation Project”. Clearly, this is only applicable to groups with 2 to 3 members. ITM501 Amir Gandomi, Ph.D. Page 3 of 3

 


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