The operations researcher when faced with real-world decision or opportunity for process improvement can draw a whole range of analogous modeling situations discussed in both the applied and theoretical operations research literature. Eppen and others, (1998) characterize four steps of the model building process.
- Model formulation and model building, the process of taking real-world managerial situations, abstracting them into formulation, and then developing the mathematical terms of a symbolic model;
- Analysis of the model to generate results;
- Interpretation and validation of model results, making sure that the available information obtained from the analysis is understood in the context of the original real-world situation; and
- Implementation, putting the validated knowledge gained from the interpretation of model results to work in real-world decision-making.