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What does an operations researcher do?

What does an operations researcher do?

Operations management is a critical management practice for businesses as it ensures the smooth and successful functioning of an organisation. This management technique is employed to maximise the efficiency of an organisation. A degree specialising in operations management can provide you with various job opportunities such as operations manager, inventory manager and operations researcher.

This article will focus on what the job role of an operations researcher entails and the skills needed to be successful in the field. Read on to find out more!

Who is an operations researcher?

Also referred to as an operations research analyst, operations researchers are professionals who facilitate quantitative and qualitative information to the organisation. This information is further used to modify existing business strategies and assist in business decision-making. They use mathematical and analytical techniques to help develop successful business practices and systems.

Why should you study operations research?

  • Versatility: Studying operations research equips you with skills that are relevant across various industries and lines of business. This provides you with good job stability with the mobility to move from one industry to another. 

  • Indispensable: An operational researcher usually acts as a mediator between the technical and operations management departments. Expertise in this field allows you to transform real-world problems into software models and vice-versa, helping stakeholders gain a better understanding of raw data. This shows how important operation researchers are for the organisation.

  • Rewarding career: Since the expertise of an operations research professional is relevant to an array of industries, they tend to be rewarded accordingly. On average, operational researchers can command a salary of£44,784 per year. However, this is subject to the industry and organisation you work for and the experience you have in the field.

  • Strategically skills: A course in operations research equips you with strategic skills which businesses rely on heavily during the decision-making process. One of the key responsibilities of an operational researcher is to transform problems into quantitative data and conduct analysis based on the models created. This gives organisations better insights into relevant information which further helps in developing efficient strategies. 

  • Relevance: Today’s business’ have huge quantities of data readily available, but with few professionals who can convert it into meaningful information. This is where the expertise of an operations researcher comes in handy. The demand for operations management professionals, who can combine scientific data with strategic insights, has increased. This can be accredited to the ability of operational researchers to harvest insights, leading to an improvement in business operations across the organisation.

What does an operational researcher do?

  • Collect, analyse and interpret quantitative and qualitative data;

  • Assist in business decision-making; 

  • Identify and define business challenges concerned with production, logistics and sales;

  • Liaise with department experts to convert quantitative data into meaningful information;

  • Implement statistical analysis to evaluate data and use the analysis results to create practical solutions for business problems;

  • Advise managers and stakeholders of the organisation about the impact of various solutions on business operations; 

  • Prepare reports outlining the findings of statistical analysis and recommendations on ways of addressing a particular business problem.

What skills do you need to become an operational researcher?

  • Communication skills: As an operational researcher, you will be required to liaise with stakeholders of other departments, as well as having to coordinate with your team members and other employees. It is therefore important that you possess good communication skills. Since communication is a two-way process, listening intently is as important as speaking with clarity, especially when you are handling data. 

  • Analytical skills: The job role of an operations researcher requires them to use analytical skills for forecasting trends, statistical analysis, examining and interpreting data and data mining. 

  • Critical thinking: Occasionally, operations management professionals will have to work under pressure and be quick on their feet to find solutions to unprecedented business challenges. They should be able to use effective critical thinking skills to filter out information that is relevant to their work. 

  • Mathematical reasoning: Operational researchers need to use their analytical and mathematical skills to convert quantitative data into useful information and create models. Therefore, it is essential that they are equipped with excellent mathematical insights which can help them efficiently analyse data. 

  • Problem-solving skills: Irrespective of the industry you are in, problem-solving skills are crucial in order to execute your role effectively. Operational researchers must have the ability to diagnose problems based on the information provided and create solutions to counter those problems.

The need for effective operational management techniques in the business world today has urged more students to take up this course. London School of Business and Finance (LSBF) offers a course in Enterprise Operations Management to help students develop skills relevant to the field. It is a continued professional development programme that introduces students to the key concepts of operational management and helps them adapt skills to solve business problems efficiently. If you are interested in becoming an operational researcher, sign up for the course today!

This article was written by Meghdeep Patnaik and edited by Amelia Hayward-Cole.



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