OR in Business

How to gain actionable insights through OR and analytics

With massive data generation on the increase, it can seem like an overwhelming task to turn the resulting big data into meaningful insights and answers. Evolving your business processes requires evidence and rigorous assurance of all stakeholders. Fortunately, many of the challenges facing organisations today are perfectly suited to the problem-solving powers of operational research (OR).

How can OR help my business? By providing:

  • Business insight Providing quantitative data and analysis to inform business decision-making and solve complex problems
  • Business performance Embedding model-driven intelligence into an organisation’s information systems to improve business performance
  • Cost reduction Finding new opportunities to decrease cost or investment
  • Decision-making support Assessing the likely outcomes of decision alternatives and uncovering better alternatives
  • Forecasting Providing a better basis for more accurate forecasting and planning
  • Improved scheduling Efficiently scheduling staff, equipment, events and more
  • Planning Applying quantitative techniques to support operations, tactical planning and strategic planning
  • Pricing Dynamically pricing products and services
  • Productivity Helping organisations find ways to make processes and people more productive
  • Profits Increasing revenue or return on investment; increasing market share
  • Quality Improving quality as well as quantifying and balancing qualitative considerations
  • Recovery Gaining greater control and achieving turn-around
  • Resources Gaining greater utilisation from limited equipment, facilities, money and personnel
  • Risk Measuring risk quantitatively and uncovering factors critical to managing and reducing risk
  • Throughput Increasing speed or throughput and decreasing delays

But how do operational researchers use tools like these? Our resources centre has a wealth of case studies from a range of industries, showing how OR can be applied to any business and situation. They show in clear terms how relatively small investments in time and expertise can produce large benefits.

Where can I find OR expertise?

Inside your organisation: You may find employees with OR training in one or more departments – engineering, R&D, IT, scheduling, planning, logistics, pricing, etc. If you don't, consider hiring an OR professional and adding them to the mix, or even creating a new department.

Training: Top up your talent with The OR Society's year-round training programme, covering everything from essential skills and data science to system dynamics and modeling.

Outside your organisation: There are many qualified OR professionals offering their services as independent consultants or members of consulting firms. There are also companies delivering OR solutions like optimisation software and services.

Charities and the Third Sector

Operational research can also help third sector organisations improve their work, and The OR Society runs a pro bono OR scheme to help charities access OR skills for free.

Business case studies

Browse our real-world case studies which demonstrate how OR can reduce costs, increase efficiency and help you do what you do, but better.

Read our Business Case Studies
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Training Courses

Top up your in-house talent with our rolling programme of world-class training in OR and analytics.