## INTRODUCTION TO OPERATIONS RESEARCH – PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS GNDU

**Define Operations Research? Explain the methodology of Operations research.**

**OPERATIONS RESEARCH**

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.

**METHODOLOGY OF OPERATIONS RESEARCH**

PROCESS STEPS | PROCESS ACTIVITIES | PROCESS OUTPUT | |

Step 1: | Observe the problem environment | Visits Conferences Observations research | Sufficient information and support to proceed. |

Step 2: | Define and analyse the problem | Define objectives Define limitations | Nature of solution required |

Step 3: | Develop a model | Define inter-relationships. Formulate equations. Use known OR models. Search alternate model. | Model that work under stated environmental constraints. |

Step 4: | Select appropriate data input | Analyse internal- external data. Analyse fact. Collect opinions. Use computer data banks. | Sufficient inputs to operate and test model. |

Step 5& 6: | Provide a solution qualified the model. | Test the model. Final limitations. Update the model. Resolve the behavioural issues. | Solutions that support current organisational objectives. Improves working. |

Step 7: | Implement the solution | Sell the idea and give explanations. Get management involved. | Management support for long run operations of model. |

This is the first step in the methodology of the Operations research. The researcher should come to know about the environment in which the problem prevails. He can do so by paying visits, attending educational conferences and doing some kind of research work. More the understanding of the problem, more the chances to get optimal solution to the problem.__Observe the problem environment:__After analysing the problem environment, the researcher should analyse the problem and define it in clear terms. All the factors affecting the problem directly and indirectly should be taken into consideration.__Analysis and dealing the problem:__

The in-depth analysis of the problem helps in the proper understanding and this contributes towards finding the best solution for the problem.

Example: Suppose a manager notice that a reduction in sales volume is causing a fall in the profit of the current year. The operations researcher has been asked to analyse the problem.

Now the Operations researcher analyse the company’s product prices and promotions. He discovers that promotion is the main problem area. He must investigate the various variables responsible for reduced sales. The culprit could be:

- Amount of money spent
- The media used
- The timings
- Or any combination of these.

3. ** Developing a model: **Once the project is approved, the next step is o develop a model. The model is developed to show the situations under study. It also shows the relations and inter-relations among various elements.

The model is developed after considering the various constraints and factors affecting elements of the model.

The model should be attested by the management after the completion or it may be modified on its failure to give best solution.

4. ** Collecting data required by the model: ‘**Garbage in and garbage out’ is the famous saying. It means if the data is inappropriate then the model built on the basis of that data will also be inappropriate. So, the data should be collected very cautiously. The data may be collected from either primary or secondary source. This means the researchers should conduct fresh research to get the data or should approach the historical records.

** 5. Coming up with a solution: **Once the data is collected related to the problem, the next step is to solve the model and coming up with a solution. Usually, the operations researcher takes simplified assumptions and solutions generally will work under such assumptions. Therefore, once Operations research has given a solution, the inputs should be changed/ altered to get to know about the change in the output.

The researcher should also apply the sensitivity test to know the magnitude and directions of output.

6. ** Qualifying the models and solutions: **The findings of the problem should be presented to the management by the operations researcher. It is the duty of the researcher:

- To explain the findings.
- To state the assumptions under which the solution will be feasible.
- Techniques applied to generate the results.
- Weaknesses of the model etc.

7. ** Implement the solution: **Once the solution is found out, it is the duty of the management to implement the solution by taking care of the risks associated with it. This stage involves various kinds of behavioural issues.