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free smu solved assignments of MB0048 Q1. The basic characteristic feature of Operations Research is that it employs mathematical representations or models to analyse problems. Discuss the methodology of Operations Research.

Answer: Churchman, Aackoff, and Aruoff defined operations research as the application of scientific methods, techniques and tools to the operation of a system with optimum solutions to the problemswhere 'optimum' refers to the best possible alternative.
The objective of OR is to provide a scientific basis to the decision-makers for solving problems involving interaction with various components of the organisation. This can be achieved by employing a team of scientists from different disciplines to work together for finding the best possible solution in the interest of the organisation as a whole. The solution thus obtained is
known as an optimal decision.
You can also define operations research as The use of scientific methods to provide criteria for decisions regarding man, machine, and systems involving repetitive operations.”
The basic dominant characteristic feature of operations research is that it employs mathematical representations or models to analyse problems. This distinct approach represents an adaptation of the scientific methodology used by the physical sciences. The scientific method translates a given problem into a mathematical representation which is solved and retransformed into the original context. 
As shown in figure, OR methodology consists of five steps. They are - defining the problem, constructing the model, solving the model, validating the model, and implementing the result.

Definition: The first and the most important step in the OR approach of problem solving is to define the problem. One needs to ensure that the problem is identified properly.
Construction: Based on the problem definition, you need to identify and select the most appropriate model to represent the system. While selecting a model, you need to ensure that the model specifies quantitative expressions for the objective and the constraints of the problem in terms of its decision variables. A model gives a perspective picture of the whole problem and helps in tackling it in a well-organised manner.
Solution: After deciding on an appropriate model, you need to develop a solution for the model and interpret the solution in the context of the given problem. A solution to a model implies determination of a specific set of decision variables that would yield an optimum solution.
Validation: A model is a good representation of a system. However, the optimal solution must work towards improving the system’s performance. You can test the validity of a model by comparing its performance with some past data available from the actual system.
Implementation: You need to apply the optimal solution obtained from the model to the system and note the improvement in the performance of the system. You need to validate this performance check under changing conditions. 


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