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Introduction - Operations Research

The roots of Operations Research (O.R.) can be traced many decades ago. First this term was coined by Me Closky and Trefthen of United Kingdom in 1940 and it came in existence during world war II when the allocations of scarce resources were done to the various military operations. Since then the field has developed very rapidly. Some chronological events are listed below :

1952    - Operations Research Society of America (ORSA).

195 7   - Operations Research Society of India (ORSI)

- International Federation of O.R. Societies

1959    - First Conference of ORSI

1963    - Opsearch (the journal of O.R. by ORSI).

 

However the term 'Operations Research' has a number of different meanings. The Operational Research Society of Great Britain has adopted the following elaborate definition :

 

"Operational Research is the application of the methods of science to complex problems arising in the direction and management of large systems of men, machines, materials and money in industry, business, government and defense. The distinctive approach is to develop a scientific method of the system, incorporating measurements of factors such as chance and risk, with which to predict and compare the outcomes of alternative decisions, strategies and controls. The purpose is to help management to determine its policy and actions scientifically."

 

Whereas ORSA has offered the following shorter definition :

"Operations Research is concerned with scientifically deciding bow to best design and operate man-machine systems, usually under conditions requiring the allocation of scarce resources".

 

Many individuals have described O.R. according to their own view. Only three are quoted below :

"O.R. is the art of giving bad answers to problems which otherwise have worse answers"  _T. L. Saaty

 

"O.R. is a scientific approach to problems solving for executive management"-H.M. Wagner

"O.R. is a scientific knowledge through interdisciplinary team effort for the purpose of determining  the best utilization of limited resources".-H.A. Taha

 

An abbreviated list of applications of O.R. techniques are given below :

 

1. Manufacturing                                            Production scheduling

Inventory control

Product mix

Replacement policies

2. Marketing

Advertising budget allocation

Supply chain management

3. Organizational behavior

Personnel planning

Scheduling of training programs

Recruitment policies

4. Facility planning

Factory location

Hospital planning

Telecommunication network planning

Warehouse location

5. Finance

Investment analysis

Portfolio analysis

6. Construction

Allocation of resources to projects

Project scheduling

7. Military

 

8. Different fields of engineering.