INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH – PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS GNDU
Define Operations Research? Describe the characteristics and limitations.
Operations research is the application of scientific method to problem arising from operation involving integrated system of men, machine and material. It normally utilises the knowledge and skills of an inter-disciplinary research team to provide the management of such system with optimum operating solution.
ACCORDING TO HM WAGNER
“Operations Research is a scientific approach to problem solving for execution management.”
ACCORDING TO THOMAS L SATTY
“Operations research is the art of giving bad answers to problems to which, otherwise worst answers are given.”
Thus, Operations research is the application of modern methods of mathematical science to complex problems involving management of large system of man, machines and money in industry, business, government and defence.
FEATURES/ CHARACTERISTICS/ NATURE OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH
System Orientation: Operations research is a system oriented scientific approach. It studies the problem as a whole and provides the solution that is to be applied on whole system or organisation. But in real world, the one thing optimum for one department may not be optimum for another department. So while deriving at the solution, one must take into account all possible interactions of all the departments.
Inter-disciplinary Team approach: According to Ackoff and Saieni “Operations research is the application of scientific method by inter-disciplinary team’s problems involving the control of organised system as to provide solutions which best serve the purpose of the organisation as a whole.”
So, Operations research is inter-disciplinary in approach. It requires the knowledge of allied discipline like statistics, engineering, economics, management, computer science and so on. Operations research’s team brings the latest scientific know how to analyse the problems and helps in providing better results.
Scientific Approach: According to morse and Kimball, “Operations Research is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding the operations under their control.”
So, operations research is a proper scientific approach to solve the complex business problems. The scientific methods in Operations Research consists of three phases:
Judgement Phase: This phase consists of:
Research Phase: This phase utilises:
Action Phase: It consists of making recommendations for the decision process by those who first posed the problem for consideration or by anyone in a position to make a decision influencing the operation in which the problems occurred.
Decision Making: Operations Research is an optimal decision-making science which helps the management to make better decisions in time. Decision making can be improved and in fact the headache of management can be cured by using the scientific methods of the Operations research to take the decisions. The main features of all decisions are:
The objective should be clear and un-ambiguous. This helps to take proper decisions. Next, various possible alternatives should be studied along with the constraints imposed on each alternative. The scientific operation research methods helps to take best possible action.
Use of Computer: Operation research often requires a computer to solve the complex mathematical model or to perform large number of computations that are involved.
Use of a digital computer has become an integral part of the Operations Research approach to decision-making.
Objectives: The goals or objectives of the organisation provides a base to the future course of action. Operations research attempts to find out the best and optimal solution to the problem on the basis of the objectives set. The proper analysis of objectives helps in deciding the best alternatives.
Quantitative Solution: According to EL Arnoff and MJ Netzong, “ Operations Research is the systematic method oriented study of the basis structure, characteristics, functions and relationships of the organization decision making to provide the executive with sound, scientific and quantitative basis for decision making.
The above definition clearly states that the solutions derived by applying the Operations methods and techniques are quantitative in nature as all the techniques applied are mathematical.
Operations research attempts to provide a systematic and rational approach for quantitative solutions to the various managerial problems.