Tackling Backlogs with Queuing Theory: A Strategic Approach

Do you find yourself facing several operational challenges?

Here’s the scenario:

  • Your team’s backlog is growing, even though there doesn’t seem to be an increase in demand.
  • Your team is putting in a lot of effort.
  • You’re consistently missing delivery targets, and cycle times are expanding.
  • Efforts to enhance efficiency are falling flat.
  • Adding more personnel isn’t an option, and even if it were, it wouldn’t happen quickly.

You might hope that these issues will somehow resolve themselves, but what will you do when they recur? What kind of impact does it have on your customers and employees? Where is the breaking point? If you can’t regain control of the situation, the damage to your business could be substantial, and you might lose control over it entirely – not an ideal scenario.

We’re here to help by shedding light on the science of queuing theory, offering practical insights into the factors driving these challenges. While it’s a complex field, we’ll demystify it for you in a straightforward way.

Understanding All Work as a Process

When we view all work as a process (even if it doesn’t resemble a production line), we begin to think about flow. Every process involves an input, a transformation (involving people, systems, or machines), and an output. Our ecosystem comprises numerous processes, each with its unique characteristics.

The Role of Variation

Variation refers to changes or slight differences that are commonplace. For instance, it could involve variations in input volume or quality, team members’ skills, or the process they follow. The impact of variation can vary across different processes and ecosystems – some are more affected than others. However, one thing is clear: if left unmanaged, it significantly impacts your end results, especially in terms of cycle time, turnaround time, or end-to-end time – essentially the same thing.

The Science of Queues

When we talk about queues, we’re referring to the same queues you encounter at the supermarket, in the emergency department, on the phone, or at traffic lights – situations where something or someone is waiting. Queuing theory has given rise to various formulas used to estimate queue times. Instead of delving into the formulas, we’ll provide you with the key takeaways:

Queue times increase when:

  • You have less people available (a rather obvious factor).
  • The time required to complete the work increases, often due to increased complexity.
  • Demand surges, driven by factors like growth or seasonality.
  • Utilisation (i.e., how busy you are) rises. When it approaches 100%, queues can spiral out of control – picture filling a bucket; if you keep pouring water when it’s already full, it overflows, and there’s no capacity to contain it.

Now, here’s the kicker

Queue times increase EXPONENTIALLY with variations in inputs or processes. Think differing motivation levels, demand fluctuations, or varying case complexities.

The impacts are far more severe when operating at higher utilisation levels. We often see organisations striving for efficiency by operating at high utilisation settings, but if there’s a lot of unmanaged variation, it comes at the expense of customer experience.

Conclusion: Strategic Solutions

There are systematic and strategic ways to address queuing theory challenges – either by reducing or managing the sources of variation within your ecosystem. In our Core Operational Excellence program, we teach and coach leaders to do just that in real time.

Leveraging the 70/20/10 Learning Model for Organisational Success: QBS’s Proven Approach

The world of professional development is evolving, and in the heart of this change lies the transformative 70/20/10 learning model. As more businesses appreciate the impact of continued learning on their success, this framework is rapidly becoming the cornerstone of effective training programs. At QBS, we’ve adopted this dynamic model to craft training experiences that not only equip participants with knowledge but also mould them into efficient, forward-thinking leaders. We do this by leveraging the 70/20/10 learning model in our Core Operational Excellence and Introductory Operational Excellence leadership programs

The Learning Model Revolutionising Business Training

At its core, the 70/20/10 model is a blend of experiential, social, and formal learning. It proposes that 70% of knowledge comes from on-the-job experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational events. This strategy reflects how we naturally learn and allows learners to integrate new knowledge with their personal experiences. Whether it’s a critical decision at work or a stimulating conversation with a colleague, the 70/20/10 model considers every interaction a learning opportunity.

Empowering Individuals and Organisations: The Wide-Ranging Benefits of the 70/20/10 Model

The 70/20/10 model, when used correctly, has a multitude of benefits:

Personal Growth and Career Advancement

Through the 70/20/10 model, individuals experience holistic development. They cultivate critical thinking and problem-solving skills via experiential learning, enhance their communication and interpersonal abilities through social interactions, and expand their knowledge base via formal education. This multifaceted approach fosters well-rounded professionals ready to lead in the modern business landscape.

Propelling Organisational Success

For Australian organisations, this model is a blueprint for cultivating a robust learning culture. By focusing on real-world experiences and peer interactions, it boosts team collaboration, enhances adaptability, and promotes innovation. In essence, the 70/20/10 model helps businesses build a workforce capable of steering the organisation towards enduring success.

Graduates of the Core Operational Excellence program by QBS which leverages the 70/20/10 learning model for organisational success.

Graduates of the Core Operational Excellence program by QBS which leverages the 70/20/10 learning model for organisational success.

QBS’s Take on the 70/20/10 Model: An Approach Tailored for Transformation

At QBS, we’ve refined the 70/20/10 model to align with our commitment to fostering proactive and disciplined leaders. Our programs begin with logically sequenced workshops – providing the formal education (10%). Each is followed by focused on-the-job application with peer and coach interactions (70% and 20% respectively). This structure ensures that our learners not only understand the principles of operational excellence but can also apply them in real-world contexts.

To further bolster this learning, we provide individual coaching and performance assessment. This ongoing support helps learners consolidate their knowledge, enhance their skills, and progress confidently towards their leadership goals.

Embrace the Future of Learning with the 70/20/10 Model

The 70/20/10 model is more than a learning framework—it’s a strategy for personal growth and organisational success. By aligning learning with our natural cognitive processes, it ensures knowledge retention, skill development, and the cultivation of innovative, proactive leaders.

At QBS, we’ve witnessed the transformative power of this model firsthand. We invite you to experience this dynamic learning approach, revolutionise your leadership development, and propel your organisation towards new horizons of success.

Join QBS’s Leadership Revolution Today

If you’re ready to experience the game-changing impact of the 70/20/10 model, it’s time to explore QBS’s range of programs for operational excellence. Your journey towards leadership excellence begins with QBS!

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