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An ordered collection of persons or things in which one is serviced after another. For example, persons may form a queue to buy tickets to the cinema. Likewise, an employee may form a list of tasks to be done each day and perform them each in turn. The word queue is most common in Britain and the Commonwealth; the equivalent in American English is waiting line or simply line.
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the build-up of customers who are delayed while waiting for service. Queuing can occur in a retail outlet where shoppers queue at supermarket checkouts or cars queue on petrol station forecourts. Similar queuing problems occur in factories where components queue to be processed on machines.

Variability in the demand for service and the variable time to complete service makes it difficult to judge the level of service to provide for customers. Where numerous service channels are provided, customers will experience few delays even when many customers arrive simultaneously for service. On the other hand, providing numerous service channels involves large labour costs, as in the case of supermarket checkout staff or bank clerks, or large investment in physical facilities, such as tanker berths or airport runways.

Queuing models employing statistical techniques can be used to analyse queues and to balance the cost of resources used to provide service against the cost of the time lost by customers while waiting for service.

These models consider the number of potential customers; the likely rate at which they arrive; whether they arrive singly or in batches; the number of parallel queues; maximum queue length; order of service (first come, first served or prioritized); number of servers; likely service time; and whether customers are served singly or in batches. For complex queues, SIMULATION techniques may be employed to decide the level of service to provide and how to organize the service facilities. See BALK, MULTIPLE CHANNEL-SINGLE PHASE.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson
References in periodicals archive ?
In addition, [27-29] studied queueing delay patterns using mobile-sensing-based travel time data and estimated queue length for signalized intersections.
We consider a queueing system with K finite capacity queues as depicted in Figure 1.
To analyse the queueing model developed, the following parameters are defined:
Queueing system with phase service has received a significant amount of attention of the researchers working in the area of queueing and reliability theory.
Our approach proposed in this paper (1) may be treated as extension of selected solutions summed up in [6, 7], where Queueing Petri Nets (QPNs) language [1] has been successively applied to the web-cluster modeling and performance evaluation.
So how come they can afford to fritter away funds on a new queueing system which has made things worse for their hard-pressed customers?
A third of shoppers admit to having lost their temper while queueing and many more say they have seen aggression while waiting in line.
BRITISH patience with queueing is wearing thin, an expert warns.
Debra Powis, of Sturminster Close, Clifford Park, was fuming after queueing for two hours to get a ticket for her season ticket holder husband Stephen.
THERE have been plenty of big games for Boro in the last 30 years - and fans are no strangers to queueing for their chance to watch them.
We are so good at queueing in this country that I know lots of other people were taught the same thing when they were growing up.
DOZENS of people have been queueing all week to snap up luxury apartments going on sale on Sunday.