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Operations Management - Introduction to Operations Research

Definition and Features of Operations Research

   Posted On :  22.06.2018 09:04 am

It is very difficult task to define OR, since it is evolving as a domain of knowledge and its boundaries and content are not yet fixed.

Definition of Operations Research

It is very difficult task to define OR, since it is evolving as a domain of knowledge and its boundaries and content are not yet fixed. You can think that OR uses mathematical and quantitative techniques to substantiate the decision being taken. Further, it is multidisciplinary which takes various theories, techniques and tools from subjects like mathematics, statistics, engineering, economics, psychology etc. and uses them to evaluate the consequences of possible alternative actions with the decision makers.
“Operations research is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding the operations under their control”.
“Operations research is the application of scientific methods to arrive at the optimal solutions to the problems”.

 Features of OR

There are various significant features available for the domain Operations Research.


Many business houses, in the recent times, come across issues, which are multifaceted problems and these problems require identifying best possible solutions. OR as a body of knowledge, aims to provide the business executives and decision makers an optimal solution through the use of OR techniques. It also helps the decision maker to improve his creative and judicious capabilities, analyse and understand the problem situation leading to better control, better co-ordination, better systems and finally better decisions.

Scientific Approach

OR applies scientific methods, techniques and tools for the purpose of analysis and solution of the complex problems. It completely eliminates heuristics and personal bias of the decision maker.

Inter-disciplinary Team Approach

Basically the industrial problems are of complex nature and require a team effort to handle it. More often, the team comprises of scientist/mathematician and technocrats joint effort to obtain a feasible and optimum solution for the enterprise. The tries to analyse the cause and effect relationship between various parameters of the problem and evaluates the outcome of various alternative strategies.

System Approach

The main aim of the system approach is to trace for each proposal all significant and indirect effects on all sub-system on a system and to evaluate each action in terms of effects for the system as a whole. The interrelationship and interaction of each sub-system can be handled with the help of mathematical/analytical models of OR to obtain acceptable solution.

 Use of Computers

With the advances in computing sciences, various models in OR efficiently use the advances in computing / computers. With the use of computers, it is possible to handle problems with high degree of complexity, which require large amount of calculations. The objective of the operations research models is to attempt and to locate best or optimal solution under the specified conditions. For the above purpose, it is necessary that a measure of effectiveness has to be defined which must be based on the goals of the organisation. These measures can be used to compare the alternative courses of action taken during the analysis.
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