Scheduling is an operations decision that strives to provide the right mix of labor and machines to produce goods and services at the right time to achieve both efficiency and customer service goals. For example, a hotel must anticipate the peaks and valleys in demand that may occur during a day, during the week, and at different times of the year. Labor (front desk clerks, room service personnel, housekeepers, bellhops, etc.) must be scheduled carefully to meet customer demand at any given time, without scheduling excess employees that would impose unnecessary costs on the hotel. In a hospital setting, scheduling surgeries is a very important activity. Surgeons, nurses, support staff, equipment, supplies, and operating rooms must be scheduled carefully so patient surgeries can be conducted effectively and efficiently. At colleges and universities, scheduling the right courses with the right number of classroom seats at the right times is critical to allowing students to graduate on time.
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