Career Education - Learn about all careers, career pay salary, job outlook

What Operations Research Analysts Do

Operations research analysts use advanced methods of analysis to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions.


Operations research analysts typically do the following:

Operations research analysts are involved in all aspects of an organization. For example, they help allocate resources, develop production schedules, manage the supply chain, and set prices.

Operations research analysts use sophisticated computer software, such as databases and statistical and modeling packages, to analyze and solve problems. For example, they help decide how to organize products in supermarkets and help companies figure out the most effective way to ship and distribute products. Analysts break down problems into their various parts and analyze the effect that different changes and circumstances would have on each of these parts. For example, to help an airline schedule flights and decide what to charge for tickets, analysts might take into account the cities that have to be connected, the amount of fuel required to fly those routes, the expected number of passengers, pilots’ schedules, maintenance costs, and fuel prices.

There is no one way to solve a problem, and analysts must weigh the costs and benefits of alternative solutions or approaches in their recommendations to managers.

Because problems are complex and often require expertise from many disciplines, most analysts work on teams. Once a manager reaches a final decision, these teams may work with others in the organization to ensure that the plan is successful.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition