Characteristics of Operations Research
(a) Inter-disciplinary Team approach. It is an important characteristic of Operations Research. According to this characteristic, on single individual can be an expert on all aspects of a problem under consideration. This operations Research utilizes the inter-disciplinary approach i.e., an O.R. team comprises of experts from different disciplines. Such a team when confronted with a new problem determines the solution of the problem by following inter-disciplinary approach. Every expert of the term tires to abstract these of problem and determines if the same type of problem has been undertaken previously by him or his colleagues. If a similar problem was dealt/handled by an expert of the team previously then it becomes quite easy for him to apply the same techniques methods to determine the solution of the current problem as well. In this way each member of the team by utilizing his experience and expertise may be in a position to suggest an approach that otherwise may not be thought of.
Thus, operations Research makes use of experience and expertise of people from different disciplines for developing new methods and procedures. These new methods may be more effective because these methods evolve from specific tools and techniques of various disciplines and may be often applied with or without some modifications and refinements to the business problems.
A mathematician looking at an inventory problem may formulate some type of mathematical between the manufacturing department and final shipment in terms of quantity and time factors. A chemical engineer might formulate it in terms of flow theory. A cost Accountant may conceive the solution of the problem in terms of its costs can be controlled and reduced. Several other disciplines can be brought to view the problem from different angles. Which of the alternative methods from the various disciplines is most beneficial depends upon the existing circumstances. Sometime to obtain the optimum solution. Synthesis of expert's opinion about the solution of the Inventory control problem here is an example of Interdisciplinary Team Approach.
(b) O.R is a continuing process. It cannot stop on the application of the model to one problem, for this may create new problems in other sectors and in the implementation of the decisions taken. O.R must also specify the organizational changes required to implement decisions and control the results thereof. Without this work of the O.R. practitioner is incomplete.
(c) Objective O.R. attempts to find the best or optimal solution to the problem under consideration. To do this it is necessary to define a measure of effectiveness that takes into account the goals (objective) of the organization. In other words "Operations Research is the scientific study of large systems with a view to identify problem areas and provide the managers with a quantitative basis for decisions which will enhance their effectiveness in achieving the specified objectives."
(d) O.R. increases the creative ability of a decision maker.
(e) Operations Research is a decision making science.
(f) Uncover new problems for study methods.
(g) Examine functional relationships from a systems overview.
(h) O.R gives only bad answers to the problems where worse could be given i.e., it cannot give perfect answers to the problems. Thus O.R. improves only the quality of the solution.
(i) Methodological Approach. O.R. utilizes the scientific method. Specifically the process begins with the careful observation and formulation of the problem. The next step is to construct a scientific (typically mathematical or simulation) model that attempts to abstract the essence of the real problem. Form this model conclusion or solutions are obtained which are also valid for the real problem in an iterative fashion the model is then verified through appropriate experimentation.
(j) Operation Research replaces management by personality.
(k) Operation Research is for operation economy. OR is a problem solving and a decision making science. Whenever we have confects uncertainty and complexity in any situation or can help in the end to reduce costs and improve profits and effect substantial "operations Economy." In inventory control in the past, for example the order sizes and the reorder levels were based on rules of thumb. OR provides here scientific decision rules for setting these parameters and reducing acquisition costs inventory carrying costs and shortage costs considerably. Likewise the technique of linear programming helps in maximizing profit or minimizing costs in product mix adverting mix, transportation assignment problems etc.. once the old approach of management by intuition is buried a scientific approach to decision making is bound to help often the conflicts are so tangled that they defy any intuitive solution viz., the marketing function frequently caught up in reconciling the following conflicting objectives 1. Product innovation 2. High scale volume 3. Increasing market share 4. Flexibility in the market place 5. Entry into new markets and revenue markets. It is here that OR is likely to convincingly optimize the total effectiveness.
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