Operational research :
Operational research (OR) is a discipline that focuses on the application of scientific methods, mathematical models, and statistical analysis to solve complex problems in various fields, such as business, engineering, and healthcare. OR aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and performance of organizations and systems through the use of scientific approaches and tools.
Two examples of OR are:
Supply chain optimization: Supply chain management involves the planning, coordination, and control of activities involved in the production, distribution, and delivery of goods and services. In order to optimize the supply chain, OR techniques are often used to analyze data and design systems that minimize costs, reduce waste, and improve customer satisfaction. For instance, OR methods can be used to optimize the routing and scheduling of vehicles in a transportation network, to determine the optimal inventory levels for a warehouse, or to design efficient logistics systems for the distribution of goods.
Healthcare resource allocation: In the healthcare industry, OR techniques can be used to optimize the allocation of resources, such as beds, staff, and equipment, in order to improve the quality of care and reduce costs. For example, OR methods can be used to determine the optimal number of beds needed in a hospital, based on the expected demand for services and the available resources. OR can also be used to develop mathematical models that predict the likelihood of patients requiring certain types of care, such as surgery or rehabilitation, and to allocate resources accordingly. In addition, OR can be used to design efficient systems for the delivery of healthcare services, such as hospital networks or ambulatory care centers.
OR techniques are often used in combination with other tools and methods, such as linear programming, simulation, and decision analysis, in order to solve complex problems. OR requires the integration of various disciplines, such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, and engineering, in order to design and implement effective solutions.
OR has a wide range of applications and can be used to solve problems in various sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, finance, and healthcare. OR can help organizations improve their efficiency, reduce costs, and increase their competitiveness by providing evidence-based solutions to complex problems. OR can also help organizations make informed decisions by providing data-driven insights and recommendations.
OR has a long history, dating back to World War II, when it was used to solve military problems related to logistics, transportation, and communication. Since then, OR has evolved and expanded to other fields, such as business, engineering, and healthcare. OR has contributed significantly to the improvement of organizational performance and the optimization of systems in various sectors. OR is a valuable discipline that helps organizations make better decisions and design efficient systems by applying scientific methods and tools.