A lot of researchers and practitioners make good use of Operational Research (OR) in order to optimise, solve problems and real life issues, and help make better decisions. However, I have been concerned about the scale of the projects that are being publicised; maybe it is that only the big guys problems or the massive OR deployments are the ones that get to be known. Or maybe, as OR-ers we are losing the big opportunity to use our knowledge for the good of the small and medium businesses (SMBs).
— Harlan Harris (@HarlanH) October 4, 2012
Taking this into account, from Matter of BIZ I have started to develop small software apps that bring ‘old models’ to the mobile phones of SMBs owners and managers. Take for instance, our first two apps:
- Simple Z-Score Calculator; an implementation of Altman’s Z-score index to help estimate business default.
- Simple EOQ Calculator; it calculates the optimal order size either when demand is certain (EOQ model) or uncertain (Newsvendor model).
As you see, last century models; ‘oldies but goldies’, models that are taught at introductory OR and management courses alike, but that, as far as I know, SMBs do not use even when they could obtain better efficiencies. So, what do you think? Is scaling down OR a real opportunity? Is this the best way to promote OR within small businesses?