Constantly changing market conditions require managers to react quickly to maintain a competitive edge in their industries. Management science, also called operations research, utilizes mathematical models, statistics and other computational tools to solve business problems. Considering the type of system you are managing and time constraints within which you must make improvements, you choose your technique based on the nature of the problem you are trying to solve. Applying these methods reached through scientific research helps you to generate the expected results.
Successful management relies on careful coordination,often using scientific methods in project planning. For example, critical path analysis allows you to identify which tasks in a project will take the longest or adversely affect the length of other tasks, permitting you to focus on those tasks. Computer models can also help you determine utilization and recommend more effective usage. In addition, this type analysis allows you to develop proactive strategies for handling outages and overloads.
Analyzing Workflow and Networks
You can also use management science strategies to design your physical workplace layout by analyzing workflow traffic patterns and individual tasks. Similarly, computational techniques are useful in analyzing computer or telecommunication networks. These techniques ultimately lead to cost reduction through the employment of a global workforce and resources. Accurately projecting these kinds of savings enables you to ensure your long-term success.
Solving Problems in Retail
Management science techniques enable cost effective, innovative and creative problem solving. Computer programs that allow researchers to simulate events such as atomic blasts or natural disasters in order make decisions can be employed to simulate business situations as well, using specialized mathematical equations called algorithms to simulate business conditions. For example, creating a mathematical model in an electronic spreadsheet can help you determine optimum staffing levels under different conditions. In addition to this optimization model, you can build a queuing model to manage customer waiting line time. By manipulating variables, you can examine potential outcomes and make real-world adjustments regarding your staffing schedules.
- Practical Management Science; Wayne L. Winston and S. Christian Albright
- An Introduction to Management Science: Quantitative Approaches to Decision Making; David R. Anderson et al.
- Operations Research and Management Science Handbook; A. Ravi Ravindran
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.