Supply Chain Management Research Group

The SCM group is one of the largest in the UK.

The Department has one of the leading Supply Chain Management groups in Europe. Research in the group covers five main areas:

  • Sustainability in supply chains
  • Global sourcing and supply chain resilience
  • Business services, servitisation, service procurement and contracting
  • Operational risk
  • Workload control methods for high variety, low volume manufacturing

Most of the research is empirical in nature, using a combination of case study, survey and simulation methods. The group works collaboratively with colleagues in the Department, across the School and in other faculties. There are particularly strong links with colleagues working on Information Systems, logistics, forecasting and supply chain modelling, industrial marketing, and service design. Colleagues in Operational Research work on more quantitative aspects of operations.

Current Research Activities

Some of the group’s research interests are summarised here. The topic areas are often inter-related, and members of faculty often participate in research in more than one area.

Sustainability in supply chains: Linda Hendry and Marta Bell have a particular interest in socially sustainable sourcing, and Lancaster hosted the 2016 EurOMA Sustainability Forum. There are also strong links into The Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business. Mark Stevenson has also supervised doctoral research in this area.

Global sourcing and supply chain resilience: Alongside her work on socially sustainable Supply chains, Marta Bell  is also interested in off-shoring, backshoring and re-shoring. Mark Stevenson and Jerry Busby research resilience in supply chains and have worked in particular on product counterfeiting, including understanding how counterfeiters penetrate and take advantage of genuine supply chains and how supply chains can become more resilient to this threat.

Business services, servitisation, service procurement and contracting: Martin Spring and Kostas Selviaridis lead on this theme, which encompasses private and public sector procurement of complex services, manufacturers’ ‘shift to service’ (servitization), business models and performance-based contracting. This work links to that of colleagues in the IS area, for example on IT outsourcing and IT’s role in supply networks, as well as with work conducted in the Department of Marketing.

Operational risk: Jerry Busby’s interests are in the areas of analysing risk and its management, examining systemic failure, human and organisational error, design organisations and design processes. His work is published in leading journals such as Risk Analysis and Risk Management.

Workload control: The Lancaster group has for many years been central to the development of Workload Control, an approach to management and planning of make-to-order manufacturing companies. Linda Hendry and Mark Stevenson lead in this area, and their work has influenced many researchers in German, Dutch, Italian, Greek, North American and Portuguese universities and research institutes, including collaborative work with colleagues in the Universities of Groningen, Coimbra and Clemson.

Ongoing research areas/potential research student topics

Whilst the group is always willing to discuss the ideas of potential students, there are also several ongoing research projects that students may want to get involved in. These are listed as follows, and further details for each topic are given on the following pages:

The OM Group faculty, along with the current group of PhD students, meets roughly twice a term on an informal basis (under the rubric LUMS-OMG...), to discuss topics of common interest to doctoral students. These change according to current circumstances, but typically include topics such as reviewing the OM literature, research methods in OM, and an annual session in which students about to attend the EurOMA Conference have the opportunity to practice their presentations in front of some friendly faces. As well as providing useful feedback, this is a very effective way for the OM group to maintain an awareness of their colleagues’ ongoing research.

OM group colleagues are also active participants in various professional associations and scholarly activities. Most are members of EurOMA and regular participants in its annual conference. Group members also take part in POMS, DSI, the Academy of Management, and other more specialised workshops and conferences.  

Research reports

ERP systems for UK Manufacturing

This report investigates the applicability of modern enterprise systems to the needs of key supply chain players.

‌‌Workload Control at PDS Engineering

This report is on an action research project carried out in an SME operating in the aerospace and automotive supply chains. The project successfully implemented a ‘workload control’ system, an innovative concept to improve the planning of companies operating in markets with high levels of product customisation. 

PhD student members are listed here.

If you would like to apply for a PhD, please see our PhD admissions page.