Operations Research Analysis is one of the foremost growing fields in business. Most companies are becoming global with branches located in several different countries. The challenge in such countries is optimizing the supply chain such that the raw materials are bought cheaper and delivered faster.
There is an interesting history behind the development of Operations Research. Charles Babbage, who conducted research in transportation and the sorting of mail, first developed it. His work resulted in the creation of Universal Pennypost in the UK. The first actual full-fledged operations research was conducted during World War II. It is assumed that 1000 men and women were involved in Operations research during World War II. Under the guidance of Patrick Blackett of Coastal Command’s Operational Research Section (CC-ORS), Britain introduced the ‘convoy’ system to reduce losses due to transportation.
Even today, there are many operational analysts working for the army and navy. Apart from the civil services they work for companies in sales and logistics departments. For example, operational analysts in UPS help in real-time tracking of every single package that is sent through UPS. In Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York, operational analysts created a specific radiation treatment plan which became very successful.
Typical work of operational analysts would involve the following:
- Visiting the area of operations and observing the processes
- Collecting data from various databases and analyzing the same
- Using advanced statistical tools and software to segregate and gather the required useful data
- Identifying the problem and developing alternate solutions
- Proposing the various solutions and explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each solution
- Providing a cost-benefit analysis for the final solution
For highly sophisticated operations like this–Operations Research Analysts use advanced mathematical modeling involving the latest software. This software helps in faster decision-making and in deeper analysis of the data.
The software can be classified as:
- Designing Software – Autocad, CATIA software and Mathsoft Mathcad
- Reporting Software – Business Objects by SAP, Strategic report system
- Analytical Software – Lindo Systems LINGO, Stanford Business Software (SNOPT)
- Databases – Oracle, MaxDB, DB2, Microsoft Access, SQL
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 72,000 jobs for operational analysts in 2012 in the following sectors:
|Finance and insurance||25%|
|Computer systems design and related services||10|
|State and local government, excluding education and hospitals||8|
|Management of companies and enterprises||8|
Also, according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected employment rate for Operations Research Analysts should grow by 27 % from 2012 to 2022. Due to the rapid increase in the use of technology, companies require Operations Analysts to work with huge volumes of data and reduce the wastage thereby improving efficiency and cost savings.