International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

Complexity and Flexibility in Call Center Scheduling Models
Thomas R. Robbins

Call center scheduling models have historically presented a significant challenge to operations researchers and practitioners alike. Though conceptually simple to describe, the models can quickly become quite complex and computationally intensive. Increasing the flexibility of the scheduling model, for example by adding additional scheduling options lowers cost but can drive the model to a size that is impractical or impossible to solve to optimality. In this paper we examine the trade-off between flexibility and complexity. We investigate the feasibility of solving these models in what is often the call center supervisor’s tool of choice– Excel. We present two different formulations with a number of scheduling options for each. We discuss strategies to achieve practical solution time frames using the Excel-based Risk Solver Platform engine. Our analysis shows that more sophisticated models provide improved schedules and that Excel is a viable modeling platform for this problem.

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