Operations Management (OM) is concerned with planning, organizing, managing, controlling and supervising the entire production process which converts inputs, such as labor and energy, into outputs, such as goods and services. OM plays a vital role in any type of business. It involves similar management for every industry or business irrespective of their nature of the operation. It is the management of the various business activities that take place within an organization and contributes in making the products to align with customer’s requirements. Under OM, there is the optimum utilization of resources leading to enormous profits of the organization.
The OM literature is huge and spans more than 5 decades of an exciting blend of theory and application. 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:
i. Make students conversant in the language of OM and expand their knowledge in this field.
ii. Help students develop modeling skills and provide them concepts and problem-solving tools, which are applicable to OM. We will cover various mathematical and analytical techniques in both traditional application domains, such as inventory control, and emerging application domains, such as online product assortment.
iii. Give students 'hands-on' feel of how OM decisions are made in practice and why they are so complex.
We recommend (not mandatory) the following books for this course:
Simchi-Levi, Kaminsky and Simchi-Levi, Designing and Managing the Supply Chain, Irwin McGraw Hill, 3rd edition, 2008.
Chopra and Meindl, Supply Chain Management, Prentice Hall, 2nd edition 2004.
There will also be complementary readings provided throughout the class (see course manual).
Course: October 7th – October 31st 2019
Exam: November 7th 2019, 14:15 – 17:15 hrs
Course: March 3rd – March 26th 2020
Exam: April 6th 2020, 14:15 – 17:15 hrs
Mode of instruction
The course will be a mix of in-class lectures, online lectures, case discussions and computerized applications. Students are expected to prepare all the pre-assigned readings before coming to class, and be active and effective participants during the class. To help me and your fellow-students to learn your name quickly, please always put a name card in front of you in class. Class attendance is mandatory. If you have to miss a class, please notify the coordinator Loes van der Hulst-Scheffer (email@example.com) in advance with the reason for your absence.
Online lectures allow students with diverse backgrounds to learn at their own pace. Students are required to watch the lecture videos and finish corresponding exercises before the in-class lectures.
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 a case session, you should sit together with your group members and join the discussion as a group. In total, there are four case sessions. After a session, a score for your participation in the discussion will be collected and added to one of your group assignments as a bonus. This score is calculated based on two criteria: 1) whether your opinions are constructive and original; and 2) whether most of the group members have contributed to the discussion.
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-echelon 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 started, verbal communication between players is not allowed.
2) Excel (with solver) spreadsheets
Spreadsheets have become the principal software application for teaching decision models in most business schools. In particular, Excel solver, a tool that uses techniques from the operations research is used extensively for finding optimal solutions for all kind of decision problems. In Lecture 4, 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.
8 2-hour lectures
Preparation for each lecture
Final 3-hour exam
There are three individual assignments and two group assignments. For all individual assignments, no collaboration is allowed. For group assignments, you should only collaborate within your group. All assignments should be submitted in electronic copy to Blackboard at the specified time and date. Pay attention to the following submission deadlines: Individual assignment 1, due by 15:00 Oct. 10th Individual assignment 2, due by 15:00 Oct. 14th Individual assignment 3, due by 15:00 Oct. 31st Group assignment 1, due by 23:59 Oct. 23rd Group assignment 2, due by 23:59 Nov. 3rd
Individual Assignment Policy Pass or Fail: you get a Pass (full grade) when you complete every question and submit the assignment. If you have difficulties answering certain questions, write down your thoughts, instead of leaving them out. Among the three individual assignments, you are allowed one chance of late submission with a delay of maximal 24 hours. Beyond that, late submission will not be accepted.
Group Assignment Policy Competitive grading: In addition to a set of expected achievements, your group assignments are graded against other groups’ performance. Each member needs to complete a peer evaluation form independently. Your individual score for a group assignment is calculated based on the evaluations from other members. For example, in a group of 4 students, the maximal score you can get from three evaluations is 72. If you received x from the evaluations, and the score of your group assignment is y, your individual score for this group assignment is x/72 y. I suggest you read the peer evaluation form as soon as possible so that you get a clear idea on how your performance will be evaluated by your peers. It is your own responsibility to submit the evaluation on time (same deadline as the corresponding group assignment). If you forgot to submit, you receive 0 for this assignment and it will not influence other group members’ scores.
Mid-term exam and the exam
There is a closed-book mid-term exam based on the content of Lecture 3 and 4. This mid-term exam will take place during Lecture 5. The final exam is also closed-book and it covers all the lecture content (both online and in-class).
Your final grade will be determined according to the following components (see the table below). You need to have at least 5.5 (on a scale of 10) to pass the course. In addition, you need to have at least 4 in each component to pass the course. This means, for instance, you could pass the course if and only if you score at least 4 in both the mid-term exam and the exam. If you failed the course, you should attend the re-sit on Jan. 23rd, 2020. The re-sit is still a closed-book exam and it will replace your previous exam score, accounting for 40% of your final grade. After the re-sit, if your final grade is at least 5.5, then you pass the course (despite that you had less than 4 in one or multiple components). If you would like to re-take any other component, such as the mid-term exam, even though you have passed the course, you can do so in the next semester. Note that retaking any component is only for students who have passed the course but would like to have a higher final score. If you failed a component, e.g., the mid-term, you failed the course and you cannot just retake the mid-term, you need to take the re-sit. Please contact me directly if you have any confusion regarding this rule. Please do not consult your classmates for their interpretations and please do not interpret for your classmates.
Individual assignment (x3) 15%
Group assignment (x2) 20%
Mid-term exam 20%
Presentation on Group Assignment 2 5%
After the grades are published, the exam and standard answers will be made available for inspection in the professor's office.
You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis.
There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the 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.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.