Hiring an Operational Researcher
Hiring an Operational Researcher
An operational researcher is a high level problem solver. They apply advanced techniques – for example data mining, optimization, mathematical modeling, and statistical analysis – to come up with solutions to help organizations and businesses to operate more cost-efficiently and effectively. This researcher is tasked with examining the operations of an organization and using computer software, mathematical modeling, or other analytical processes to identify more ways of working that are increasingly effective. Because of this input, the organization can use the provided information to make better decisions and come up with a strategic policy. Operational research is also referred to as management science, and it is currently used throughout commerce, industry, and government services. To be a successful operational researcher, one needs a particular set of skills, personal characteristics, and experience.
Operational researchers utilize qualitative techniques of problem-structuring and simulation, as well as advanced quantitative methods aiming to: (i) examine assumptions, (ii) decide on practical action, (iii) support the management of change, (iv) facilitate an in-depth understanding of the operations of an organization, and (v) review progress. The duties of an operational researcher are numerous. Operational researchers define the issues and the results they would like to achieve, interview the staff and managers, gather data at various organizational levels, analyze data and develop models and approaches to solve challenges. They employ analytical methods and mathematical programming techniques, test hypotheses and use statistical methods to identify pragmatic and innovative solutions to these issues. They also test the solutions, help in the implementation process, and compile a findings report and make presentations. These researchers maintain a clear and open communication with clients to explain the progress and results using non-technical language, persuading them of the advantages of the recommended solutions.
To qualify for appointment, the operational researcher must have experience in the interest areas around thinking, persuading, and organizing. Experience in the area of thinking generally indicates a focus on investigating, researching, and increasing the comprehension of natural laws. Experience in the area of persuading, on the other hand, focuses on motivating, influencing, and selling to others. Lastly, experience in the area of organizing is indicates a focus on working with processes and information to make sure that things are kept arranged in orderly systems.
There are also various skills that an operational researcher must possess to qualify and get the appointment. The first skillset required is the analytical skills. These skills refer to a person’s ability to find out a problem, investigate it, and come up with a logical solution. For example, the researcher might be tasked with using their analytical skills to increase attract more customers into using the Emirates as their airlines of choice, as well as how the airlines can expand its reach globally and serve its customers better. These skills are basically the job description of an operational researcher and are therefore the most essential. Analytical skills include research, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and data analysis, which are discussed in details in the following paragraphs. The role of an operational researcher requires the use of a wide range of processes and methods, including data mining, forecasting, and statistical mining. Therefore, the person must have the required analytical skills to assess and interpret data.
Communication skills are essential. The position requires a person with the ability to collect information. This collection involves interviewing different people and carefully listening to the answers they receive. For example, after the Emirates hire an operational researcher to research and offer recommendations on how the airlines can increase its number of customers and cement its place among the world’s top airlines, the researcher would have to collect information from flight attendants and the management to assess the improvements that can be made, and then communicate with the management to give them the recommendations. In addition, these communication skills are required because they would need to communicate technical information to individuals with no technical background. The person should be able to break down the technical terms and processes in such a way that even the people without technical knowledge clearly understand. Communication is very essential in this role because the person would also need to share the findings and recommendations, as well as guiding the company on how these recommendations will be implemented and their advantages.
The person should also possess critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is required when an operational researcher has to distinguish the information and date that is relevant to their practice. For example, when interviewing the employees in the sales department, the operational researcher will come across all kinds of information. The researcher will have to filter the important information and leave out the unimportant details. It is the important information that the operational researcher will use to find the problems and come up with solutions. In addition, they have to be able to assess the benefits and costs of alternative solutions before they can make a recommendation. Another very essential requirement is ingenuity. Ingenuity refers to innovativeness, resourcefulness, and creativity. Operational challenges might require solutions that are not obvious. This would then force the operational researcher to be able to be innovative and think creatively to offer an effective solution to the issue.
The role of operational researcher also requires improved interpersonal skills. An operational researcher does not work alone, but works on teams. The interpersonal skills are, therefore, essential to ensure that the person is able to have a productive relationship with other people that he or she is working with. In our given example, the operational researcher will interview different Emirates Airlines employees to collect data, and the interpersonal skills will ensure the relationship established is productive. Moreover, the person has to be able to convince the top executives and managers to accept their recommendations. Another requirement that is very important and that the operational researcher has to have is writing skills. The person will be required to write reports, memos, as well as other documents to outline their findings and recommendations for executives, managers, and other officials. The researcher has to be able to communicate effectively and clearly through writing, making sure that the findings, recommendations, and the implementation process is well understood without ambiguity or unanswered questions.
Math skills are also an essential requirement. The operational researcher will be using methods and models rooted in calculus, statistics, linear algebra, amongst other advanced mathematical disciplines. To be able to successfully use these models and methods to come up with viable solutions to the issues facing the Emirates Airlines, math skills are mandatory. To qualify, the person should be well flexible, being able to pick up new ideas. Lastly, the person must have problem-solving skills. These skills are required when diagnosing issues on the basis of the available. Afterwards, the person will have to assess the relevant information to identify the existing issues, and then use problem-solving skills to solve the problems.
The operational researcher should also have particular academic qualification. The person must be at least a graduate with degrees in relevant subjects. The examples of relevant background subjects are economics, engineering, business studies, statistics, technology, mathematics, operational research, physics, management science, and life and medical science. Knowledge in mathematics entails algebra, arithmetic, geometry, statistics, calculus, and their applications. Knowledge in English is also required because of communication, and it entails the content and structure of the English language such as grammar and spelling. The operational researcher should also have knowledge on computers and electronics, such as the knowledge of computer software and hardware, processors, and circuit boards.
Engineering and technology knowledge is important, which entails the practical engineering science and technology application – including application of techniques, principles, equipment, and procedures regarding the production and design of the goods and services the company offers. Knowledge in administration and management is an added advantage. This knowledge entails the knowledge of principles of business and management employed in resource allocation, strategic planning, leadership technique, production methods, human resource modeling, and distribution of resources and people. Although not a must, it would be an added advantage if the person possesses knowledge in production and processing. Having an experience of raw materials quality control, costs, production processes, and other ways to optimize the effective manufacture and dissemination of products can be very important for the company because the recommendations would be informed and well analyzed.
In conclusion, an operational researcher is a high level problem solver who employs advanced techniques to come up with solutions, helping organizations and businesses to operate more cost effectively and efficiently. Some of the techniques they employ include data mining, mathematical modeling, optimization, and statistical analysis. By hiring an operational researcher, I would be looking for someone who can effectively assess the operations of the organization, employ computer software, mathematical modeling, or other analytical processes to come up with better ways of working. Because of the extensive and wide range of knowledge and skills required in this area, the person must be intensely assessed to ensure that they meet all the qualifications. These skills, knowledge, and qualities will not only ensure an effective and fruitful job, but also better relations with other employees in the company.