A proposed methodology for the design of decision support systems in operations management
The purpose of this work is to attempt to develop a Decision Support System and a generalised Design Methodology, for the Operational Management of Industrial Organisations. The research subject has been selected as such, because although substantial research has been carried out on the technology of solving a specific problem with quantitative decision support tools such as Operations Research (OR) or Management Science (MS), there is a significant gap on the methodology of developing and implementing these techniques as a direct operational support tool. In recognition of operational managers' increasing needs for decision support tools and in a view of the slow progress and unsatisfactory use of OR/MS techniques, and the inability of Management Information systems to contribute to the operational decision support function, the research is set out to identify the shortcomings of existing practice, and to develop a system in the light of the resulting requirements. A multi-disciplinary approach is adopted for the development of the system and the methodology, which is based on a conceptual framework provided by cybernetics. Theories relating to the communication, regulation and coordination within a system, and to the interactive man-machine problem solving activities provide the basis for the methodology. The end product of the research is a System and a generalised Design Methodology for this system. The primary aims of the system are to co-ordinate the operational decision process throughout the organisation and to increase the effectiveness of the decision-making capacity of the operational managers. It is a microprocessor based modular system which is distributed to the operational decision makers. Functionally, it consists of a 'forward looking' information system which is dedicated to operational decision support, and quantitative decision models including OR/MS methods that are integrated with this system. The modular decision units are connected by this system.