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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.


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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Considering the appeal of the Krispy Kreme waiting line, it would not be surprising to find professional queuers in the line to increase the image of a hard-to-get product and make customers want to join the line.
What makes that guest wait or leave can be managed--if waiting lines are understood.
Ceteris paribus, therefore, the Type A person may be expected to be extremely hostile towards queuing, and especially critical of errant customers causing holdups in express waiting lines.
For those who want a change, we propose a new paradigm of waiting: waiting line segmentation.
However, there are not enough centres to provide care for all the children suffering from the condition, and the existing ones all have long waiting lines, thereby delaying treatment and therapy for many children," he added.
Yet veterans report they are facing long waiting lines at mental health clinics and struggling to get the services they need.
The US government is to add security staff at dozens of airports to reduce long waiting lines for passengers at security checks.
Waiting lines have been as long as an hour, which means the line could close as early as 3 p.
And though the once-long waiting lines at lunchtime have gradually dwindled, Friend still attracts sizable noon-hours crowds.
He vows to reduce waiting lines at health clinics to a maximum of three hours.
Poisson probability distribution--A probability distribution used to describe the random arrival pattern for some waiting lines.
Public healthcare systems in CEE and Russia are facing severe difficulties and challenges, such as insufficient financing, long waiting lines or bribery.