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Research Details

Overflow Networks: Approximations and Implications to Call Center Outsourcing, Operations Research

Abstract

Motivated by call center co-sourcing problems, we consider a service network operated under an overflow mechanism. Calls are first routed to an in-house (or dedicated) service station that has a finite waiting room. If the waiting room is full, the call is overflowed to an outside provider (an overflow station) that might also be serving overflows from other stations. We establish approximations for overflow networks with many-servers under a resource-pooling assumption which stipulates, in our context, that the fraction of overflowed calls is non-negligible. Our two main results are (i) an approximation for the overflow processes via limit theorems and (ii) asymptotic independence between each of the in-house stations and the overflow station. In particular, we show that, as the system becomes large, the dependency between each in-house station and the overflow station becomes negligible. Independence between stations in overflow networks is assumed in the literature on call centers, and we provide a rigorous support for those useful heuristics.

Type

Article

Author(s)

Itai Gurvich, Ohad Perry

Date Published

2011

Citations

Gurvich, Itai, and Ohad Perry. 2011. Overflow Networks: Approximations and Implications to Call Center Outsourcing. Operations Research. 60(4): 996-1009.

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