Our faculty members conduct research on a variety of issues related to Operations Management. Below is a list of some ongoing research projects/topics.
Closed-Loop Supply Chain Management
The primary objective of closed-loop supply chain management (CLSC) is to recover the remaining economic value in used products. In an era of unprecedented levels of consumption, rapid depletion of virgin natural resources and increasing levels of waste, recapturing the value remaining in used products and reducing diversion to landfill is one of the most effective ways of enhancing environmental sustainability. CLSC encompasses the recovery of material (e.g., recycling) as well as higher end product recovery (e.g., reuse, refurbishing, remanufacturing).
Empirical Research in Operations Management
Wikipedia defines Empirical Research as "research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observations as its test of reality". The focus of empirical research often is to use data from observations to describe, predict and validate the research issue being investigated.
The field of Operations Management has traditionally been more analytically driven, with the emphasis being on the development of theoretical models to make optimal decisions (the "OR approach") or to derive qualitative insights on observations in practice (the "economist approach").
Empirical research provides an opportunity to marry these rich theoretical models with real data from practice, to advance the state of the art and create profound impact similar to what has been achieved in fields like academic medicine and physics.
This research program is focused on the management and operations of conventional and alternative energy assets, including but not limited to oil, natural gas, biofuel, photovoltaic, wind, and storage/transmission facilities. The primary objective is to provide salient insights and practical strategies for more effective and efficient energy assets management in both public and private sectors.
Healthcare forms an enormous part of the Canadian economy. Streamlining healthcare processes in order to provide timely and quality care to patients is of pivotal importance to improve social welfare. Operations Management members had been involved in all kinds of healthcare research projects such as scheduling or waiting room problems in the hospitals of Montreal, Canada.
Historically, production and cost function have been estimated using ordinary least squares regression. However, for the purpose of efficiency measurement, the resulting average function is a misleading indicator of efficient production possibilities in both theory and practice.
An operations management member whose research interest lies in productivity analysis now focuses on relatively new approaches of Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA).
Retail Supply Chain Management
Retailing is a big industry in the US and Canada, accounting for roughly 40% of the economy. Given the complex nature of retailing, it presents several challenging problems like supply chain design, procurement, assortment planning, inventory management, pricing and store execution.
The application of analytical models in retail is still at an early stage, and it is regarded more as an art rather than a science. However, this is rapidly changing with recent advances in information technology and computing power, intense competition in the retail industry and increasing willingness of retailers to collaborate with academic researchers to advance the state of the art.
Revenue management (RM) is concerned with the use of quantitative techniques to maximize profitability by pricing, availability control, and other resource allocation mechanisms. It is often applied to situations that are characterized by scarce resources, perishable products, and uncertain demand.
Managing risks is one of the primary challenges faced by Canadian firms in today’s highly competitive business world. This is especially important because of increasing offshore outsourcing, which is forcing supply chains to be more fragmented than ever before and making them highly reliant on distant external suppliers for procurement of inputs. These supply chains are susceptible to a variety of supply risks in this new operating paradigm, including capacity shortages, lengthy procurement leadtimes and inferior product quality.
Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management (SCM) is defined as the management of a network of interconnected businesses involved in the ultimate provision of product and service packages required by end customers.
Operations management members are conducting state-of-the-art research on the entire scope of the problem, from inventory management, ordering materials at the right time, to demand management, setting prices to match supply and demand.
Technology and Capacity Management
Capacity planning decisions in most industries usually involve substantial capital investments and have received considerable attention from both academicians and practitioners. These decisions typically require an understanding of the tradeoffs between several related factors and cannot be made in isolation. For example, process and manufacturing technologies in chemical, electric power, fertilizer, engineering and communication industries are highly capital intensive and exhibit substantial scale economies.
The availability of alternative technologies suggests that these choices between alternative technologies should be made together with the capacity planning decisions. A number of factors also influence strategic choices related to the technology selection and capacity planning. These include, among others, product mix, technology alternatives, cost parameters, length of the planning horizon, etc.
Transportation and Logistics
In this global economy, the innovations in logistics and transportation have become one of main driving forces that flattened the world. The demand for transportation of goods has grown dramatically with the rise of globalization, and companies need to design and operate more robust and scalable logistics network to deal with this increase in demand. There are many challenging operational problems associated with logistics, and these problems are only growing in importance and difficulty as the world economy grows.
Members of the Operations Management discipline are also actively involved in two research centres. Learn more about the Management Science Research Centre and the NSERC CREATE Program on Healthcare Operations and Information Management.