Written Report

December 28th, 2023

The Written Report is to be a management presentation and technical report combined. It should not only present the problem and your results in a nontechnical form to assist management in decision-making, but provide the mathematical and technical detail necessary to back up your analysis. So, assume it might be read by your client’s senior management, and also by the company’s director of operations research.

Typical Report Outline

1. One-Page Management Summary

Briefly describe the problem’s situation, your method of analysis, and findings.

2. Background and Description of the Problem

This should include a problem scenario and a description of the circumstances motivating the study. Discussion should include the purpose of the study, the types of decisions involved, the questions which are to be answered, and, if appropriate, organizational considerations, including which policies and persons are involved with and affected by the problem being studied.

3. Analysis of the Situation

Your general approach to the problem should be described. Upon investigation, you felt that the real problems were X, Y, and Z, and a simulation/ LP/ MIP/ statistical/ etc. model was built to analyze the situation because ….

A prose description of the model used should be included, along with the assumptions in your formulation. A small numerical example should be used to illustrate what is to be accomplished in the full model.

4. Technical Description of the Model

A formal mathematical statement of the model should be given with a description of the solution method used. For example, if an optimization model is used, an annotated list of variables, constraints and objectives should be provided. If a simulation is developed, a flowchart of the model’s logic and description of the probability distributions used would be appropriate. Include a description of the problem dimensions: number of linear and integer variables, constraints, etc.

Include the sources of the data used. Were theoretical values assumed? Were expected values calculated from historical data? Were realistic hypothetical values used? Were any simplifying assumptions made?

Also describe the solution method or software that was used. If computational work is done you may wish to show the output from the example case. If software was developed, user documentation should be included as an appendix.

5. Analysis and Managerial Interpretation

This should be a thorough analysis of the data or model output, and its meanings to management. This should include any findings, and the meaning of the data or output from a management policy standpoint. Basically, what did the study discover?

Justify your statements with specifics from the solution output. What are the effects of the assumptions and do they seem valid? Does a sensitivity or parametric analysis indicate coefficients that are crucial in a policy sense?

6. Conclusions and Critique

Summarize the work and make recommendations to management. If some of your ideas have already been implemented, describe the results. Also, provide a good self-critique, including limitations of the model as you see it and make suggestions for further study.

Next: Project Presentations

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