Methodology of Operation Research
Quantitative basis for decision making is provided to managers by O.R. it enhances a manager’s ability to make long range plans and to solve the routine problems of running a enterprise/concern OR is a systematic and logical approach to provide a rational footing for taking decisions. Operation research, like scientific research is based on scientific methodology which involves following steps.
1. Formulating the Problem:
OR is a research into the operation of a man machine organisation and must consider the economics of the operation in formulating a problem for O.R. study analysis must be made of the following major components:
(i) The environment.
(ii) The objectives.
(iii) The decision maker.
(iv) The alternative courses of action and constraints out of the above four component, environment is most comprehensive as it provides a setting for the remaining three. The operation researcher shall attend conferences, pay visits, send observation and perform research work thus succeeds in getting sufficient date to formulate the problems.
2. Constructing a Model to Represent the System under Study:
Once the project is approved by the management, the next step is to construct a model for the system under study. The operation researcher can now construct the model to show the relations and interrelations between a cause and effect or between an action and a reaction.
Now the aim of operation researcher is to develop a model which enables him to forecast the effect of factors crucial to the solution of given problem. The proposed model may be tested and modified in order to work under stated environmental constraints. A model may also be modified if the management is not satisfied by its performance.
3. Deriving Solution from the Model:
A solution may be extracted from a model either by conducting experiments on it i.e., by simulation or by mathematical analysis. No model will work appropriately if the data is not appropriate. Such information may be available from the results of experiments or from hunches based on experience.
The data collection can clearly effect the models output significantly. Operation researcher should not assume that once he has defined his objective and model, he has achieved his aim of solving the problem. The required data collection consumes time to prepare if date collection errors are to be minimized
4. Testing the Model and the Solution Derived from it:
As has been pointed out earlier a model is never a perfect representation of reality. But if properly formulated and correctly manipulated, it may be useful in providing/predicting the effect of changes in control variables on overall system effectiveness.
The usefulness or utility of a model is checked by finding out how well it predicts the effect of these changes. Such an analyse is usually known as sensitivity analysis. The utility or validity of the solution can be verified by comparing the results obtained without applying the solution with the results obtained when it is used.
5. Establishing Controls over the Solution:
The next phase for the operation researcher is to explain his findings to the management. It may be pointed out that he should specify those conditions under which the solution can be utilized.
He should also point out weaknesses if any so that management will know what risks they are taking while employing the model to generate results. Thus he should also specify the limits with in which the results obtained from using the model are valid. He should also define those conditions under which the model will not work.
6. Implementation of the Solution:
The last phase of the operation research methodology is implementation of solutions obtained in the previous steps. In operation research though decision making is scientific but its implementation involves so many behavioural issues. Therefore the implementing authority has to resolve the behavioural issues. He has to sell the idea of utility of O.R not only to the workers but also to superiors.
The distance between O.R scientist and management may create huddles thus the gap between one who provides a solution and the other who wants to utilize it must be eliminated. To achieve this both the management and O.R scientist should play positive role A properly implemented solution obtained through application of O.R techniques results in improved working conditions and gains the management support.