Operations Research

Topics: Decision making, Decision theory, Operations research Pages: 7 (1937 words) Published: November 10, 2012

Operations Research is a unique discipline, one of its kinds, best of breeds, employing several highly developed and advanced analytical techniques which in turn aids in effective decision making. It is often regarded as a sub-field of mathematics. Operations research (OR) are not only deeply involved with making and taking effective decisions. It is also concerned with minimizing losses, optimization, simulations, forecasting and predicting within an organization. According to Morse and Kimball, Operations Research is a scientific method of providing executive departments with quantitative basis for decisions regarding the operations under their control. HISTORY

Operations Research, took birth as a new field of study in Britain in 1939 -40 at the start of World War II in the efforts of military planners, and it has developed and expanded execeedingly in the last five to six decades. After the war, the techniques were used in areas such as business, industry and society. Since then, operational research has extended into a field widely used in industries ranging from petrochemicals to airlines, finance, logistics, and government, moving to a focus on the development of mathematical models that can be used to analyze and optimize complex systems, and has become an area of active academic and industrial research.1 Historical Origin

Prior to the war, the British army was performing exercises and experiments on the radar system for detecting the aircrafts. In July 1938, the Superintendent of Bawdsey Research Station, revealed that even though the exercise/experiment had confirmed the technical viability of the radar system for detecting aircraft, he was not happy with its operational achievements as it was not up to the mark. Because of this, he suggested that a program which focuses more on the operational activities as opposed to the technical aspects of the system should be encouraged. The term "Operational Research" was coined as a suitable description of this new branch of applied science. On 15th May 1940, with German forces spreading rapidly in France, Stanmore Research Section was asked to analyze a French request for ten additional fighter squadrons. Based upon a study of current daily losses and replacement rates, they prepared a graph, indicating how swiftly such a move would exhaust fighter strength. No aircrafts were sent and most of those currently in France were recalled. This is known to be the most strategic contribution to the course of the war made by Operations Research (as the aircraft and pilots who were saved were therefore available for the successful air defense of Britain, the Battle of Britain). In 1941 Operational Research Section (ORS) was established in Coastal Command which was to carry out some of the most well-known OR work in World War II. Thus OR, as a separate field of specialization took birth.2 OPERATIONAL RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT AND DECISION MAKING

To be an efficient manager, one should be able to make effective and efficient decisions. And the manager should have a basic understanding of the decision science tools used in developing a set of alternatives to choose from. Operational Research is an interdisciplinary branch of applied mathematics devoted to optimal decision making and planning. Analyzing a process or operation, helps determine its purpose and effectiveness and gain maximum efficiency. The operation technique is utilized by functional groups such as Industrial Engineering in effort to support Operations Managers to make economically feasible decisions on a range of systematic challenges.2 The main responsibilities of operations management are to allocate as efficiently and effectively as possible the given resources. With today’s situation in the global market and large scale systems, achieving optimum performance is quite difficult. Many powerful decision tools and advanced technologies are available for all levels of decision...
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