Introduction to Operations Research

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MB0048-Unit-01-Introduction to Operations Research
Unit-01-Introduction to Operations Research
1.1 Introduction
Learning objectives
1.2 Historical Background
Definitions of Operations Research
1.3 Scope of Operations Research
1.4 Features of Operations Research
1.5 Phases of Operations Research
1.6 Types of Operations Research models
1.7 Operations Research Methodology
1.8 Operations Research Techniques and Tools
1.9 Structure of the Mathematical Model
1.10 Limitations of Operations Research
1.11 Summary
1.12 Terminal Questions
1.13 Answers to SAQs and TQs
Answers to Self Assessment Questions
Answers to Terminal Questions
1.14 References
1.1 Introduction
Welcome to the unit on Operations Research Management. Operations Research Management focuses on the mathematical scoring of consequences of a decision aiming to optimise the use of time, effort and resources, and avoid blunders. The act of obtaining the best results under any given circumstances is known as optimising. The key purpose of Operations Research (OR) is to do preparative calculations that aid the decision-making process. Now, you will agree that decision-making is a key part of our daily life. The ultimate goal of all decisions is to maximise benefits and minimise effort and time. OR gives decision makers the power to make effective decisions and improve day-to-day operations. Decision makers consider all the available options, study the outcomes and estimate the risks. In simple situations, you use your common sense and judgement to take decisions. For example, if you are buying a microwave or washing machine, the decision-making process is not very complicated. You can simply compare the price, quality and durability of the well known brands and models in the market and take a decision based on it. However, in complex situations, although it is possible to take decisions based on one’s common sense, a decision backed by mathematical calculations reduces the risk factor and increases the probability of success. Some such situations, where decision-makers have to reply on mathematical scoring and reasoning, are finding an appropriate product mix amidst competitor’s products or planning a public transportation network in a city. Learning Objectives

By the end of this unit, you should be able to:
· List the significant features of Operations Research
· Describe the methodology of Operations Research
· Define the structure of a mathematical model in Operations Research · Describe the significance of the function of Operations Research 1.2 Historical Background
During the World War II, scientists from United Kingdom studied the strategic and tactical problems associated with air and land defense of the country. The aim of this study was to determine the effective utilisation of limited military resources to win the battle. The technique was named Operations Research. After World War II, Operations Research techniques were developed and deployed in the decision making process in complicated situations in various fields, such as industrial, academic and government organisations. 1.2.1 Definitions of operations research

Churchman, Aackoff and Aruoff defined Operations Research as: “the application of scientific methods, techniques and tools to operation of a system with optimum solutions to the problems”, where ‘optimum’ refers to the best possible alternative. The objective of Operations Research is to provide a scientific basis to the decision-makers for solving problems involving interaction of various components of the organisation. You can achieve this by employing a team of scientists from different disciplines, to work together for finding the best possible solution in the interest of the organisation as a whole. The solution thus obtained is known as an optimal decision. You can also define Operations Research as “The use of scientific methods to provide...
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