Operations Research is defined as “The use of scientific methods to provide criteria for decisions regarding man, machine, and systems involving repetitive operations.”
Methodology of Operations Research
One needs to ensure that the problem is identified properly because this problem statement will indicate the following three major aspects:
- Description of the goal or the objective of the study
- Identification of the decision alternative to the system
- Recognition of the limitations, restrictions, and requirements of the system
A model gives a perspective picture of the whole problem and helps in tackling it in a well-organised manner. Therefore, if the resulting model fits into one of the common mathematical models, you can obtain a convenient solution by using mathematical techniques.
A solution to a model implies determination of a specific set of decision variables that would yield an optimum solution. An optimum solution is one which maximises or minimises the performance of any measure in a model subject to the conditions and constraints imposed on the model.
If under similar conditions of inputs, your model can reproduce the past performance of the system, then you can be sure that your model is valid. The model is based on careful examination of past data, the comparison should always reveal favourable results.
You need to apply the optimal solution obtained from the model to the system and note the improvement in the performance of the system. You need to validate this performance check under changing conditions. The interaction between the operations research team and the operating personnel reaches its peak in this phase.
Phases of Operations Research
- Determination of the operations
- Establishment of objectives and values related to the operations
- Determination of suitable measures of effectiveness
- Formulation of problems relative to the objectives
- Operation and data collection for a better understanding of the problems
- Formulation of hypothesis and model
- Observation and experimentation to test the hypothesis on the basis of additional data
- Analysis of the available information and verification of the hypothesis using pre-established measure of effectiveness
- Prediction of various results and consideration of alternative methods
This phase involves making recommendations for the decision process. The recommendations can be made by those who identify and present the problem or by anyone who influences the operation in which the problem has occurred.