What Is Operations Research and Why Is It Important?

Operations research is an important tool that has helped organizations improve their efficiency and performance for decades. It is a field of research that studies the utilization of resources and the optimization of systems and processes. By using mathematical analysis and optimization techniques, organizations are able to analyze their processes and operations in order to identify areas for improvement. This allows them to make decisions and take actions that will improve their bottom line and increase their competitiveness. As a result, operations research is an integral part of many organizations’ decision-making processes.
This blog post will provide an overview of the field of operations research and discuss the various techniques and tools used to optimize operations and processes. We will also discuss the benefits of operations research and how it can help organizations improve their performance and stay competitive. By the end of the post, you should have a basic understanding of operations research and be able to discern the potential applications for your organization.

Importance of operations research

Operations research is crucial because it develops workable answers to difficult business problems. It uses data to generate information that can be used as insights to enhance outcomes and make better business decisions in the future. Analytics, which uses mathematical and scientific methods to analyze and study issues, is another crucial component of operations research.

With the aid of tested techniques and models, this beneficial technique also functions as a tool for removing uncertainty. Incorporating real-world data into a model that has been successful in other applications could increase confidence in the result. Since few aspects of running an organization are guaranteed or certain, uncertainty is frequently present in business. Having trustworthy data can help with problems and inspire confidence because managing a business and the procedures associated with it can be uncertain for people.

What is operations research?

Operations research, a subfield of applied mathematics, employs mathematical principles to address issues that frequently confront business owners and managers. Additionally, businesspeople are encouraged by operations research to use cutting-edge analytical tools to make more intelligent and successful decisions for their organizations. Operations research was used in the military in its early stages, especially in England during World War II. Nevertheless, it has since grown to include business applications, such as resolving issues with the aid of data mining, statistical analysis, and mathematical modeling.

The following steps could be taken when applying the operations research methodology:

Components of operations research

Three primary elements or goals are frequently present in the field of operations research:


Finding the best answer to a problem based on potential constraints is called optimization. You might use maximization or minimization when applying this process to resolve business issues to refer to a benefit or cost that has already been selected or specified. When calculating the optimization of a situation, constraints frequently appear because these limitations do exist in real-world circumstances.

For instance, if a company has a staffing issue, one of the limitations would be the shifts that each employee could work. A company wouldn’t want to select this option because it would violate labor laws to optimize staffing by using people who work 24-hour shifts.

Statistics and algorithms

Algorithms and statistics, which are components of the larger field of mathematics, are heavily utilized in operations research. The set of optimization algorithms, which seek to find a minimum or maximum value based on a particular set of possibilities, is a significant set of algorithms that falls under the category of operations research.

Using the algorithm, you could figure out how much it would cost to staff a manufacturing facility at the lowest cost in the business staffing example. The limitations in this illustration would be the number of employees required to run a business, their hourly wages, and the maximum number of hours each employee can work.


In that it employs formulas to alter a situation’s possible outcomes, simulation is similar to optimization. An operations research analyst may change some of the constraints or factors in the equation when using optimization algorithms to get a different result.

You could also employ the following approaches and techniques in operational research:

The majority of these methods try to describe a situation or a possible outcome of a situation by building various mathematical models.

Examples of operations research

Numerous issues that affect companies in various industries can be addressed by operations research. Problems that operations research has attempted to solve include the following:

To better comprehend the procedure and the solutions it can produce, look over the following examples of operations research:

Example 1

Every pay period, a manufacturing facility goes over budget on employee salaries. An operations research analyst uses operations research to calculate the facility’s staffing costs as cheaply as possible. The main limitations are the number of workers the company has, the number of hours each worker can work during a pay period, and the number of workers required to operate the facility at full capacity. The operations research analyst can identify both the ideal staffing situation and the less ideal staffing situations (such as when higher-paid employees are working) by building a model with variable data components.

Example 2

A chemical manufacturing facility must contend with the challenge of producing excessive inventory, which causes products with a limited shelf life to expire. When operations research is used in this situation, it would be necessary to evaluate the facility’s capacity for production as well as the needs for inventory in relation to the shelf lives of each item in stock. In an effort to lessen waste brought on by the expiration of expensive products, an operations research analyst could choose the best production schedule for goods with a shorter shelf life using these constraints.

Example 3

A marketing agency must ascertain the most effective messaging for its clientele. Operations research may be able to resolve this issue by building a model that includes all possible messaging options and determining which has the best response and engagement rates. This information would be used to determine the best messaging formats for customers, allowing the business to modify its messaging approach.

What is Operational Research? – Full feature


What do you mean by operations research?

The major sub-disciplines in modern operational research, as identified by the journal Operations Research, are:
  • Computing and information technologies.
  • Financial engineering.
  • Manufacturing, service sciences, and supply chain management.
  • Policy modeling and public sector work.
  • Revenue management.
  • Simulation.
  • Stochastic models.

Why is operational research important?

  • Define the problem. …
  • Identify the objectives. …
  • Specify performance measures. …
  • Identify the alternative courses of action. …
  • Analyze the alternatives to understand the consequences of each. …
  • Compare the consequences and select an alternative. …
  • Present the results and conclusions.

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