nl en

Operations Management


Admission requirements

not applicable


Operations Management (OM) is concerned with planning, organizing, managing, controlling and supervising the entire production process which converts inputs, such as labor and raw materials, into outputs, such as goods and services. It is the management of the various business activities that take place within an organization and contributes to making products that are aligned with the customer’s requirements. One of the main goals of OM is to achieve the optimal utilization of the company’s resources, which can significantly increase the organization’s profits. For this reason, OM plays a vital role in any type of business.

We recommend the following books for this course (NOT mandatory):
1. Simchi-Levi, Kaminsky and Simchi-Levi, Designing and Managing the Supply Chain, Irwin McGraw Hill, 3rd edition, 2008.
2. Chopra and Meindl, Supply Chain Management, Prentice Hall, 2nd edition 2004.
There will also be complementary readings provided throughout the class (see course manual for more details).

Course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to some of the fundamental aspects of OM, e.g., inventory management, facility location planning, capacity management, risk mitigation, pricing, etc. More specifically, the course will:
1. Make students conversant in the language of OM and expand their knowledge in this field.
2. Help students develop business modeling skills and provide them with problem-solving tools, which are applicable to OM.
3. Give students a 'hands-on' feel of how OM decisions are made and how they can be put into practice in a real business context.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

The course will be a mix of live online lectures, recorded online lectures, case discussions and computerized applications. You are expected to prepare all the pre-assigned readings before coming to class, and be active participants during the class.

Recorded Online lectures
Recorded online lectures allow students with diverse backgrounds to learn at their own pace. You are expected to watch the lecture videos before the live lectures.

Case preparation
A case study requires a very thorough preparation. You are expected to read the case, and prepare for the accompanying questions, before coming to class. In each case session, you can obtain bonus points by presenting a brief summary of the case (~5-8minutes maximum). Please let me know in advance if you want to present (by email, first come, first serve).

Computerized applications
1) Computerized Beer Game
The beer game is an experiential learning business simulation game created by a group of professors at MIT Sloan School of Management in early 1960s to demonstrate a number of key principles of supply chain management. The game is played by teams of at least four players, often in heated competition. The purpose of the game is to understand the distribution side dynamics of a multi-tier supply chain used to distribute a single item, in this case, cases of beer. Please read the rules of the Beer Game before Lecture 1 (see course manual). Once the game has started, verbal communication between players is not allowed.

2) Excel (with solver) spreadsheets
Spreadsheets have become the main software application for teaching decision models in most business schools. In particular, Excel solver (a tool that uses operations research techniques) is used extensively to find optimal solutions for all kind of decision problems. In this course, we will learn how to build an optimization model based on an operations problem (e.g., capacity and transportation planning) and how to solve it using excel solver.

Course Load

  • • 8 2-hour lectures

  • Preparation for each lecture

  • Team project assignments

  • Final 3-hour exam

Assessment method

Team project
Operations Management in practice: Support a small local business


  • Apply what you have learned in the course in a real business context

  • Help a small local business improve their operations.

You will:

  • Analyze the firm’s current situation

  • Identify improvement areas

  • Propose a solution and implementation plan

For the team project, there are three group assignments: (i) a written report, (ii) a presentation, and (iii) providing feedback to other team’s presentations. The written report should be submitted in electronic copy to Brightspace at the specified time and date.

4- 6 students

Written report structure
1. Introduction
What does the business do? (Who are the owners, what is their main product or product lines, when did it open, where are they located, who are their clients)
2. Current situation
What does the company’s supply chain look like? (Who are its main suppliers, etc.) Show in a diagram. How do they plan their production? How do they set their prices?
3. Improvement areas
Based on what you learned during the course, how could you help this business improve their operations management techniques?
4. Implementation plan
How can the company implement your advice in their day-to-day activities?
5. Conclusions

Team presentation
Duration to be defined

Feedback to other teams
Each team will receive feedback on their presentation from another group.
Your feedback will be graded (you are expected to provide constructive feedback).

Final exam
The final exam is closed-book and it covers all the lecture content (both live and recorded online).

Your final grade will be determined according to the following components (see the table below). You need to have at least 5 for the exam and for each of the other three components to pass the course. And the final grade should be at least a 5.5. If you failed the course, you should attend the re-sit. The re-sit is still a closed-book exam and it will replace your previous exam score, accounting for 50% of your final grade. After the re-sit, if your final grade is at least 5.5, then you pass the course.

Grade Components
1. Group assignment 50%
1.1. Group Report 20%
1.2. Group Presentation 20%
1.3. Feedback to other groups 10%

  1. Final exam 50%

After the grades are published, the exam and standard answers will be made available for inspection in the professor's office.
The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.

Bonus points
Students can accumulate bonus points (up to +0.5 added to final grade before rounding) when they:

  • Are ranked within the top participants in a Kahoot quiz

  • Present a summary of the business case reading to the class. Students should let the instructor know in advance (by email) if they want to present.

When the course ends, student(s) with highest num. of bonus points will get +0.5 on their final grade (before rounding). The rest of students with bonus points will get between +0.4 and +0.1 (depending on their number of bonus points).
Bonus points are only applicable if the student meets the requirements to pass the course.

Reading List



From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Business Studies programme coordinator

Note: If you are an ICTiBPS student, you can contact the programme coordinator of ICTiBPS for any questions about your program.


Important information about the course is posted in Brightspace.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling/unenrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • Students are responsible for enrolling themselves for (partial) exams/retakes.

  • The deadline for enrolling for an exam/retake is 14 calendar days before the exam/retake takes place (exam date - 14 = deadline enrolling date).

  • Students who do not enroll themselves for an exam/retake by the deadline are not allowed to take the exam/retake.

  • Students fail the course if any of the components that make up the final mark of the course is assessed below 5.0, including the grade for the final exam.

  • The final grade is expressed as a whole or half number between 1.0 and 10.0, including both limits. The result is not to be expressed as a number between 5.0 and 6.0.

  • If one of the components of the final mark constitutes a component that assesses attendance or class participation, students cannot take a retake for this component. Therefore, students fail the course if their mark for this component is less than 5.0.

  • Partial grades, inclusive the exam grade will not be rounded. If partial grades will be communicated, it is possible partial grades are rounded, but unrounded partial grades will be used in the calculation of the final grade. The final grade will be rounded at 0.5 (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • It is not possible to do retakes for group assignments. Therefore, if students fail the group assignment component, they fail the course.

  • Students pass the course if the final mark is 6.0 or higher (5.49 will rounded down to a 5 and a 5.5 will be rounded up to a 6.0).

  • For courses, for which class participation is an assessment component, students may not be penalized for an absence if the student has a legitimate justification for this absence. The student must notify the program coordinator via email ( of such an absence BEFORE the lecture, describing the reason for missing the lecture. If the student does not notify the program coordinator before the lecture, the student will be penalized. Students may be required to provide further documentation to substantiate their case, and class attendance requirements are only waived under exceptional circumstances such as illness.

  • Students who are entitled to more exam/retake time must report to 10 days before the exam/retake takes place.