Not all management science techniques are equally useful or equally used by business firms and other organizations. Some techniques are used quite frequently by business practitioners and managers; others are used less often. The most frequently used techniques are linear and integer programming, simulation, network analysis (including critical path method/project evaluation and review technique [CPM/PERT]), inventory control, decision analysis, and queuing theory, as well as probability and statistics. An attempt has been made in this text to provide a comprehensive treatment of all the topics generally considered within the field of management science, regardless of how frequently they are used. Although some topics may have limited direct applicability, their study can reveal informative and unique means of approaching a problem and can often enhance one's understanding of the decision-making process.
The variety and breadth of management science applications and of the potential for applying management science, not only in business and industry but also in government, health care, and service organizations, are extensive . Areas of application include project planning, capital budgeting, production planning, inventory analysis, scheduling, marketing planning, quality control, plant location, maintenance policy, personnel management, and product demand forecasting, among others. In this text the applicability of management science to a variety of problem areas is demonstrated via individual chapter examples and the problems that accompany each chapter.
A small portion of the thousands of applications of management science that occur each year are recorded in various academic and professional journals. Frequently, these journal articles are as complex as the applications themselves and are very difficult to read. However, one particular journal, Interfaces , is devoted specifically to the application of management science and is written not just for college professors but for businesspeople, practitioners, and students as well. Interfaces is published by INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences), an international professional organization whose members include college professors, businesspeople, scientists, students, and a variety of professional people interested in the practice and application of management science and operations research.
Interfaces regularly publishes articles that report on the application of management science to a wide variety of problems. The chapters that follow present examples of applications of management science from Interfaces and other professional journals. These examples, as presented here, do not detail the actual models and the model components. Instead, they briefly indicate the type of problem the company or organization faced, the objective of the solution approach developed to solve the problem, and the benefits derived from the model or technique (i.e., what was accomplished). The interested reader who desires more detailed information about these and other management science applications is encouraged to go to the library and peruse Interfaces and the many other journals that contain articles on the application of management science.