Book Contents

Ch. 9
Building Model-Driven Decision Support Systems

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General Problem Types

According to Professor Hossein Arsham, a small set of Management Science problem types have been identified. At his Web site (, he identifies these types as:

Cost-benefit analysis: Given the decision maker's assessment of costs and benefits, which choice should be recommended?

Forecasting: Using time series analysis to answer questions such as: What will demand be for a product? What are the sales patterns? How will sales affect profits?

Finance and investment: How much capital do we need? How much will the capital cost?

Inventory control and stockout: How much stock should we hold? When do we order more? How much should we order?

Location, allocation, distribution and transportation: Where is the best location for an operation? How big should facilities be? What resources are needed? Are there shortages?

Manpower planning and assignment: How many employees do we need?

Project planning and control: How long will a project take? What activities are most important? How should resources be used?

Queuing and congestion: How long are queues? How many servers should we use? What service level are we providing?

Reliability and replacement policy: How well is equipment working? How reliable is it? When should we replace it?

Sequencing and scheduling: What job is most important? In what order should we complete jobs?

We can discuss these 10 common decision support problem types in terms of five general categories of models: accounting and financial models, decision analysis models, forecasting models, network and optimization models, and simulation models.


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