Operation Research & Characteristics of OR

Operation research and characteristics

Operation research is the art of giving bad answer to problems, to which, otherwise, worse answer are given.
Operation research simply defined, is the research of operations.
An operation may be called a set of acts required for the achievement of a desired outcome.

Such complex, interrelated acts can be performed by four types of systems

  • Man
  • Machine
  • Man-Machine Unit and any organisation of men
  • Machines

OR is concerned with the operations of the last type of system,


  1. Its system orientation
  2. The use of interdisciplinary teams
  3. application of scientific method
  4. uncovering of new problems
  5. improvement in the quality of decisions
  6. use of computers
  7. quantitative solutions
  8. human factors

1). Its system orientation

This means that an activity by any part of an organization has some effect on the activity of every other part.
Therefore, to evaluate any decision, one must identify all possible interactions and determine their impact on the organization as a whole.

Production department is interested in long, uninterrupted production runs since they reduce the set-up and cleanup costs.
To solve the problem with this viewpoint is simple.
However, these long runs will result in large raw material, in process and finished product inventories in relatively few product lines.
This will result in bitter conflict with finance, marketing and personnel departments.
As already discussed finance department wants to have the minimum possible inventory; marketing department, a large but diversified inventory, while personnel department wants continuous production during slack periods also, resulting in large inventories.

2). The use of interdisciplinary teams

that i t is performed by a team of scientists whose individual members have been drawn from different scientific and engineering disciplines.
For example,
one may find a mathematician, statistician, physicist, psychologist, economist and an engineer working together on an OR problem.

Another reason for the existence of OR teams is that knowledge is increasing at a very fast rate.
No single person can collect all the useful scientific information from all disciplines.
Different members of the OR team bring that latest scientific know-how in different disciplines to analyse the problem and help in providing better results

3). Application of Scientific Method

Operation research and characteristics the use of scientific method to solve the problem under study.
Most scientific research, such as chemistry and physics can ve carried out well in the laboratories, under controlled conditions, without much interference from the outside world.

4). Uncovering of New Problems

fourth operation research characteristics.
which is often overlooked, is that solution of an OR problem may uncover a number of new problems.
these uncovered problems need not be solved at the same time.
However, in order to derive maximum benefit, each one of them must be solved.
The results of Operation research study pertaining to a particular problem need not wait until all the connected problems are solved.

5). improvement in the quality of decisions

OR gives bad answers to problems, to which, otherwise, worse answers are given.
It implies that by applying its scientific approach, it can only improve the quality of solution but it may not be able to give perfect solution.

6). Use of computers

Another characteristics of OR is that it often requires a computer to solve the complex mathematical model or to manipulate a large amount of data or to perform a large number of computations that are involved.

7). Quantitative solutions

OR approach provides the management with a quantitative basis for decision-making.
For example,
it will give answer like, “the cost to the company, if decision A is taken is X; if decision B is taken is Y, etc.”

8). human factors

In deriving quantitative solutions we do not consider human factors, which doubtlessly play a great role in the problems posed.
Definitely an Operation research study is incomplete without a study of human factors.

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