Comparison of service types at gas station

gasstation

Coming to gas station to fill your fuel tank, more and more often you can see people not knowing how to use this simple service. More and more companies in Russia use new and uncommon for Russia service types at gas stations. These types include fully automated gas stations or those with “first fill – then pay” scheme. Range of offered service types gets wider not only in Moscow and St.Petersburg but throughout the country.

Are the new service types more time-efficient? Which type of service allows to minimize average customer service time? How well can different gas stations cope with customer flow at rush-hours?

Let’s try to answer these questions by simple calculation! Gas station doesn’t seem to be a complex customer service facility (obviously, it only consists of some queues to pumps and cash desks). Although several attempts to make a simple model comparing different service types in Excel resulted in a kind of disappointment. The model needs numerous condition cells and interdependencies. Finally, the complexity becomes unmanageable or, at least, not relevant to such a simple task. It becomes clear that Excel is definitely not the best tool for our exercise.

Much more suitable way to model gas station is simulation. This approach allows to model the processes at the facility and to create an interactive animation of the modeling process! So, we’ll make the simulation model to compare the following service types at gas stations:

  • Self service station (no attendants), payment before filling
  • Fully automated gas station with self-payment terminals
  • Full service gas station, attendant performs filling, payment before filling
  • Self service station (no attendants), payment after filling
  • Full service gas station, attendant performs filling, payment after filling

For each of these service types model calculates:

  • Average customer service process duration (time passed between entering the gas station and leaving it)
  • Customer service time structure (fractions of time spent for queuing to pump, waiting for pumping start, pumping itself and time to leave the gas station)

The incoming customers flow has two daily peaks – at 8 am and 5 pm. Each customer service scheme is evaluated at exactly the same flow of incoming customers.

The simulation model below can be run in two modes:

  • Single simulation experiment to model a certain service type with animation
  • Bacth of simulation experiments, one for each service type, with no animation but the table comparing results of the experiments.

Launch the model by clicking the following picture:

Run the Gas Station model

The result of a batch run allows to make an interesting analysis of gas station service types. So, modeling showed that automated gas station with self-payment terminals is the fastest service type allowing to reduce average service time by 40% (4.57 minutes compared to 7.56 minutes for regular self-service station). Fully automated fueling stations allow to avoid the growth of queuing time even at peak hours

Demo model summary

Name Comparison of service types at gas station
Industry Customer service, retail
Business problem statement Which type of service allows to minimize average customer service time? 5 types of customer service are considered:

  • Self service station (no attendants), payment before filling
  • Fully automated gas station with self-payment terminals
  • Full service gas station, attendant performs filling, payment before filling
  • Self service station (no attendants), payment after filling
  • Full service gas station, attendant performs filling, payment after filling
Model input Customer service type, amount of cash machines, amount of attendants, daily profile of customers flow rate
Model output Average customer service duration, customer service time structure
Modeling method Discrete-event simulation
Modeling result Modeling showed that automated gas station with self-payment terminals is the fastest service type allowing to reduce average service time by 40% (4.57 minutes compared to 7.56 minutes for regular self-service station). Fully automated fueling stations allow to avoid the growth of queuing time even at peak hours

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