Operations Management

Materials to be covered online in OPAL


This course addresses the management of operations in manufacturing and service firms. Diverse activities, such as determining the size and type of production process, purchasing the appropriate raw materials, planning and scheduling the flow of materials and the nature and content of inventories, assuring product quality, and deciding on the production hardware and how it gets used, comprise this function of the company. This course will provide a survey of these issues.

Next to the analytical techniques, the course makes considerable use of business cases. Each week will be spent in online discussion of the cases assigned. For each case, you will be asked to review actual company situations and apply your technical and managerial skills to recommending courses of action. Most cases will be from manufacturing companies, but some will be service-oriented.

Finally, a production process will be simulated. This exercise involves multiple groups (of size 10 or more), whereby each student group represents a manufacturing company. The exercise will be performed in three phases: (1) Design the process flow for assembly and testing operations. (2) Demonstrate capability through a trial production demonstration. (3) Prepare a post-production report and present it to the management. The objective of this exercise is to design an efficient production system, to maximize “net revenue” during trial production run and to recommend future process improvements.


  • To provide a working knowledge of the vocabulary of OM.
  • To design, improve and/or manage processes using the following type of analysis.
  • To familiarize with key issues (cost, quality, delivery, and flexibility) and problems (e.g., variability) facing an operations manager.
  • To discuss management systems (planning, materials, quality, etc.) for managing business process. We will consider a wide variety of topics including inventory models and quality control charts developed over 80 years ago to topics developed in the last two decades: the perspectives in world-class manufacturing and service operations, total quality management (TQM), lean manufacturing, and supply chain management. 

Basic literature:

  • Cachon, G./ Terwiesch, C. (2013): Matching supply with demand: An introduction to operations management. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-0071326223
  • Stevenson, W. J. (2009): Operations management. 10th ed. Boston usw.: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0070091771
  • Goldratt, E. M./Cox, J. (2004): The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, 3rd ed. North River Press. ISBN 978-0884271789