Added: 08.06.2010 22:21
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Reconciling Operational Research Limitations

Operational research is a branch of mathematics that uses advanced analytical methods such as mathematical modeling, statistical analysis...

Operational research is a branch of mathematics that uses advanced analytical methods such as mathematical modeling, statistical analysis and mathematical optimization to come to an optimal solution to complex decision-making problems. However, operational research methods can also be applied in any other simple business decisions using Ms Word excel or other programs alike. Some of the problems that can be solved using operational research approach include: credit policy analysis, cash flow analysis, investment portfolios, product selection, budget allocation, selection of suitable personnel, etc.

The application of operational research has a lot of advantages. The organization that uses operational research approach is always better in coordinating, controlling and decision-making. Apart from this such organization has better system in analyzing some set of problem of decision making. Example is a decision in getting the best location for factories, whether to open a new warehouse or not, and if the warehouse is to be opened, best location and number of warehouses.

But with all the advantages associated with the use of operational research, there are still limitations occasions by this approach. One of those limitations is the distance created between a manager and operations researcher. Operational research as a specialist’s job needs a mathematician or a statistician, who might not be acquainted with the business problems. In the same veil, a manager might not be able to comprehend the complex working of operational research; therefore, there is a gap between the two.
Another limiting factor is the money and time cost. These arise when the important data are subjected to frequent changes, and putting them into the operational research models can be very costly. Also, a stable situation in a period of time may be preferred to a perfect operational research solution available after another said period of time.

Other difficult problem in operational research method is its dependence on an electronic computer. Operational research methods try to find out an optimal solution by considering all factors involved. These factors turn out to be very immense in today’s world. So, expressing them in quantity and identifying the relationships between them requires a lot of calculations that can only be handled by computers.
In addition, operational research provides a solution only when all the elements related to a problem can be expressed in numbers. So, all relevant variables may not be able to be quantified in all cases, since factors that cannot be quantified are not used in operational research models. Lastly, decisions as a result of operational research could be very difficult to implement. This is because it doesn’t take the complexities of human relations and behavior into account.

Research question: How can the limitations of operational research be resolved?

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