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Meaning and Scope of Operation Research

Evaluation of operations research

            During World war II Britain was having very limited military resources an urgent need was felt to allocate the scarce resource in an effective manner to the various military operations and to the activities within operation. Therefore the British and the American military management limited large number of scientists including Physicists, biologists, statisticians, mathematicians and psychologists to apply a scientific approach to the many strategic  of tactical problems. Their efforts were instrumental winning the "Air battle of Britain" "Battle of the North Atlantic" and the Island campaign in the Pacific. The success of this team of scientists in Britain encouraged United States. Canada and France to start with such teams. The name Operations Research (OR) came directly from the context in which it was used and developed, viz.... research on military Operations. As the discipline of Operations Research developed many names like operational analysis system analysis cost benefit analysis management science decision science etc... were assigned to it.

            After the war the apparent success of the military team attracted the attention of the industry which seeking solutions to problems caused by the increasing complexity and specialization in organizations. This created possible goal incompatibilities and interaction effects among areas of specialization and fictionalizations. This resulted in complex decision problems and the business organizations were the prompted to use the formal tools of Operations research.

            Operations Research techniques were utilized in India firstly in 1949 when an Operations Research unit was established at the Regional Research Laboratory, Hyderabad. Simultaneously, prof. R.S. verma set up an operations research team in the Defense science Laboratory to solve the problems of stores, purchases and planning. In 1953 prof. Mahalanobis made use of Operations Research application in formulating the second five year plan for forecasting the trends of demand availability of resources and for forecasting the complex schemes necessary for development of the economy. Planning Commission made use of Operations research techniques for planning the optimum size of the caravels fleet of Indian airlines. During last one decade operations research had an increasing impact on organizational management and decision making both in public and private sector in India. Operations Research is now being used widely in the military, government industry and business. Many industries including commercial airlines automobiles sively employing Operations Research techniques and finding them extremely helpful. TISCO, TELCO, HINDUSTAN LEVER LTD., Sarabhai group BHEL Indian railways etc. have made wide spread use of operation Research techniques to make optimum use of their limited resources to maximize the profit. Textile forms like D .C.M., O. C M,. Are using linear programming techniques in Cotton blending RCON NBCC etc., are making use a of PERT/CPM techniques for effective management and control of their construction projects. Many other organizations are utilizing operations research techniques for solving problems relating to staffing, investment, advertising, inspection, product mix blending, production planning, etc.

            During the 50s operations Research achieved recognition as a subject for study in the universities. Since then the subject has gained increasing importance for the students of management public administration, Behavioral sciences, engineering, Mathematics, Economics and Commerce etc. today Operations Research is also widely used in regional planning transportation public health communication etc. besides military and industrial operations.

Remark. The Indian Statistical Institute and the Indian standards institution have taken several measures for the promotion and development of statistical quality control (SQC) which is one of the important techniques of O.R. it has helped many factories to reduce wastage. re work scrap and to improve the quality of manufactured products and the efficiency of machines and operations etc. The committee on plan projects of the planning commission is exploring the possibilities of introducing it in public enterprises.

            The OR Group set up recently by NPC has suggested that the following problems may be taken up for investigation in India with the help of OR techniques: (a) Railway Wagon turn around marshalling yard operations, freight train routing, (b) operation of multipurpose dam reservoirs, (c) Determination of optimum mining limits, (d) Location of depots, and warehouses of large distributing agencies, (e) Defining operations and process control in the jute industry.

            In fact it is worthwhile recording the excellent and widespread work being done through O.R. methodology, not only in Defense and the Railways and private establishments but also the various Institutes of Technology, the central Food Technological Research Institute the Fuel Research Institute the Institute of Science Bangalore, the council of scientific and Industrial Research Mathematics and of Business Management at the various universities in India these again are only a few of the institutions and establishments which are resorting to O.R. techniques not only as a short term strategy for trouble shooting but also for long range programming.

            The other factors that contributed greatly to the rapid growth of operations Research during this period was the substantial progress that was made in developing and in the improvement of techniques available to Operations Research and the parallel development of the digital computer.

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