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Thinking quantitatively

[photo]
Dr. Ali Hejase is the co-author of recently published Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers – Management Approach.

January 11, 2013—

What are quantitative techniques?
Quantitative techniques are tools designed to support quantitative analysis of alternatives needed for decision-making. They were created to support the quantitative approach in management during World War II and the second technological innovation eras, extending from the 1950s to 1980s. They included two fields of applications: statistical analysis and mathematical analysis of information to support decision-making. The purpose of these methods was to achieve effective results in the most appropriate, objective, scientific and efficient way.

How can decisions be optimized with the incorporation of these techniques?
Both statistical and mathematical techniques are used to train managers or businesspersons in objective reasoning. For example, forecasting sales for the next year is a must to plan for budgets, human resources skills, inventory, physical facilities, etc… Risk analysis in financial markets is needed to comprehend the function of portfolios which present reasonable risks of loss and better opportunities for gains, etc… project management techniques help estimate project time durations, budgets, and deadlines with minimal loss.

Quantitative techniques provide guidance to define decision-making under risk (probabilistic reasoning), under uncertainty (utilizing behavioral reasoning and satisfaction indices), and under virtual evaluation environments (utilizing simulation techniques).

Are such methods applicable to all types of industries?
Quantitative techniques are universal in their use and can be applied in any type of business: construction and civil engineering, in military operations and target evaluation, in Non-Governmental Organizations for promotional campaigns, etc.

You have just written a book about quantitative methods. Tell us more about your motivations for putting these tactics into print?
During the last two and half decades of our teaching careers, my brothers (who taught at LAU) and I used several textbooks that address quantitative methods techniques and management science methodologies and skills. But none of these textbooks created links among the techniques, skills, fundamentals of business management, and role of the specific quantitative techniques.
We approached the mathematics in a simplistic manner, adding meaning and benefits to all applied concepts with their corresponding models to reach the often sought appropriate decision making; mathematics is a core competency to achieve objective, and systematic, and business-valued results.

Also, students are comfortable with the textbooks published onshore by their own professors and carrying their LAU university name; simply because they can better comprehend the material, and secondly because their retail prices are well below their counterparts. In fact, with a retail price of only 20% of the classical known books, both instructors and students act together to fight the illegal habit of textbook photocopying.

How has LAU supported you in your research?
Frankly, we owe our colleagues at LAU, the administration, and the Riyad Nassar Library in general and its acting staff in particular for their assistance and guidance in acquiring reference material, for their eminent patience in providing library facilities and for their committed help during all the long nights we were at their premises. They deserve all our respect and recognition.

 

This article is the first in a series of Q&As with members of the LAU community, that will be posted on a monthly basis.


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