Operations Research (OR) is a field of study that uses mathematical and analytical methods to make better decisions and solve complex problems in various domains, including business, industry, government, and healthcare. The primary goal of operations research is to provide tools and techniques for decision-makers to optimize their processes and make more informed choices.

Key aspects of Operations Research include:

  1. Mathematical Modeling: Operations researchers use mathematical models to represent real-world systems. These models can be linear or nonlinear, deterministic or stochastic, and they aim to capture the essential features of the system being studied.
  2. Optimization: Optimization is a fundamental concept in operations research. It involves finding the best solution from a set of possible solutions. This can include maximizing profits, minimizing costs, or optimizing resource allocation.
  3. Simulation: Simulation involves creating computer models of complex systems to analyze their behavior over time. This is particularly useful when dealing with dynamic and uncertain systems where mathematical modeling alone may be challenging.
  4. Decision Analysis: Operations research helps in making better decisions under uncertainty. Decision analysis techniques, such as decision trees and game theory, are used to analyze and evaluate different decision-making strategies.
  5. Queueing Theory: Queueing theory is concerned with the study of waiting lines and the associated phenomena. It is often applied in situations where entities (such as customers or tasks) wait in line for service.
  6. Linear Programming: This is a method for finding the best outcome (such as maximum profit or minimum cost) in a mathematical model whose requirements are represented by linear relationships.
  7. Network Analysis: Operations researchers use network models to represent and analyze the flow of goods, information, or resources through a system. This can include critical path analysis in project management.
  8. Inventory Management: Operations research techniques are applied to optimize inventory levels, balancing the costs of holding inventory against the costs of stockouts.
  9. Supply Chain Management: OR is widely used in supply chain optimization to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the entire supply chain, from production to distribution.
  10. Scheduling: Operations researchers develop models and algorithms for efficient scheduling of activities, whether in manufacturing, transportation, or project management.

The interdisciplinary nature of operations research allows it to be applied to a wide range of industries and problem domains, making it a valuable tool for decision-makers in various fields.

Also, from another source:

Operations Research (OR) is a discipline that uses quantitative methods to improve decision-making within an organization. It is a broad field that encompasses a wide range of techniques and methodologies, including:

OR is used in a wide variety of industries and organizations, including:

Benefits of Using Operations Research

There are many benefits to using operations research, including:

How to Get Started with Operations Research

If you are interested in using operations research in your organization, there are a few steps you can take:

  1. Identify a problem. What is the biggest challenge facing your organization?
  2. Do your research. Learn about the different OR techniques and methodologies that are available.
  3. Hire an expert. If you need help getting started, consider hiring an OR consultant.
  4. Develop a model. Create a mathematical model of the problem you are trying to solve.
  5. Solve the model. Use an OR software program to solve the model and find the best solution.
  6. Implement the solution. Put the solution into practice and monitor the results.


Here are some resources that you may find helpful: