Improving efficiency in social services with discrete event simulation

Russell Harpring*, Gerald W. Evans, Rod Barber, Stacy M. Deck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services' main office in Louisville, Kentucky deals with hundreds of clients with various needs each day. The office provides food stamps, child care assistance, and financial support among other services. A simulation model of the intake process was developed and analyzed in order to investigate various alternatives concerning process flow, staffing, and layout. The simulation model shows long wait times for clients coming into the system to receive benefits. Working with a state budget during variable economic times leaves no room for hiring new workers, so changes must come from within. The flexibility of the simulation model allows for experiments on the system to be created and observed. This paper describes the simulation model, the analysis of alternatives with the model, and the changes implemented in the system as a result of the analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalComputers and Industrial Engineering
Issue numberApril
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Discrete event simulation
  • Service systems
  • Social services
  • Public policy


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