Management Science

Research Area and Mission

This research programme is broader than its name may suggest. It encompasses operations research, quantitative logistics and computer science methods and applications in economics. The aim of the research group is to be at the forefront of the developments in transportation, logistics and supply chain management in interaction with decision support systems based on information and communication technology, and to make major contributions to both management science and management practice.

Programme leader(s)

Prof. dr. ir. R. Dekker
Prof. dr. ir. U. Kaymak
Prof. dr. A.P.M. Wagelmans

Description of Research Areas

The research schools ERIM and TI play an essential role in the execution of research policy at the ESE. Each ESE research programme corresponds to a TI or ERIM programme. In general, the ESE monitors the individual performance of researchers by conducting performance appraisal interviews. During these interviews, individual members are evaluated on items such as research output and grant applications.

This programme covers operations research, quantitative logistics and computer science methods and applications in economics. It grew out of the research programmes “Operations Research and Decision Analysis” and “Application Oriented Computer Science” that were evaluated in the previous research assessment. Bringing the latter two programmes closer together, was actually a suggestion by the assessment committee.

The research programme is organised around four research themes concerning transportation; supply chain management and decision support systems. These themes are problem oriented, they often interact with each other and most of the researchers contribute to several research themes. The same themes are also addressed in our bachelor and master programmes in Econometrics & Management Science and Economics & Informatics, in which all researchers are actively involved. In seminars (in which students work on case studies) and while writing their bachelor or master theses, students are often exposed to the ongoing research, to which they may even contribute.

The research themes are:

  • Supply chain optimization and planning
    This theme addresses optimization, coordination, and planning issues in supply chains. The emphasis is on analytical research on a wide range of more or less traditional, but increasingly complex optimization and planning problems (such as inventory planning, production planning and scheduling, logistics network optimization). Examples of journals in which this research has been published are Management Science and Operations Research.
  • Reverse and service logistics
    Closed-loop supply chains can play an important role in making supply chains more sustainable. Research on this theme focuses on developing analytic approaches to improve economic and environmental performance of supply chains, both in the forward chain (e.g., in agriculture) as in the reverse chain (e.g., electronic waste). Stimulated by an EU network on reverse logistics, REVLOG, much new theory has been developed in this area on several aspects, viz. production planning and inventory control, IT and reverse logistics, (reverse) logistics network design and accounting and reverse logistics. New theory was needed because return streams generally face more uncertainty and are much less controlled. In recent years this work has continued in two Transumo projects, viz. ECO and PILOT. The first considers closed loop chains especially for the Port of Rotterdam and tries to optimize the management of empty containers. The second concentrates on service logistics, which also incorporates spare parts inventory control. Publications on this theme have appeared in journals such as International Journal of Production Research and European Journal of Operational Research.
  • Transportation management
    The goal of this theme is to improve the performance of passenger and cargo transportation systems. Our approach is based on the development of mathematical models for such systems, and we propose and implement algorithms for solving them. Because of close cooperation with Netherlands Railways, much of the research focuses on railway systems. Another significant research stream is concerned with issues related to the Port of Rotterdam. Specific topics include integrated vehicle and crew scheduling, robust planning and rescheduling of resources, computer aided timetabling, reliability of transportation systems, rolling stock planning, hub location, fleet composition, city distribution, and revenue management. Typical outlets for research in this theme are Transportation Science and European Journal of Operational Research.
  • Intelligent systems for decision support
    This theme studies the application of information and communication technologies and advanced computational methods for improving decision making in business economic domains. The research has a methodological component that is based on learning computational intelligence models from large amounts of business data to enhance decision making by providing quick and timely analysis of information assets combined with advanced reasoning techniques. There is also a strong application-oriented focus for decision making in finance, marketing and logistics, amongst other fields. The work comprises several projects funded by the EU and Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and has been embedded in various EU-funded networks for smart adaptive systems (EUNITE) and nature-inspired information systems (NISIS). Examples of journals in which this research has been published include European Journal of Operational Research and IEEE Transactions (various).

Some of our research is not directly linked to one of these themes, but concerns the development and analysis of mathematical programming or computer science methods that are more widely applicable.

A new research theme is health care logistics. This is a joint initiative with Erasmus Medical Centre and the Institute of Health Policy and Management (iBMG). The first PhD student working in this theme started in September 2007.

Key publications

  1. Hoesel, S. van, H.E. Romeijn, M.D. Romero Morales, and A.P.M. Wagelmans, (2005). Integrated lot sizing in serial supply chains with production capacities, Management Science, 51, 1706-1719.
  2. Teunter, R.H., V.D.R. Guide, and L.N.J.L. van Wassenhove, (2006). Matching supply and demand to maximize profits from remanufacturing, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 5, 303-316.
  3. Listes, O., and R. Dekker, (2005). A scenario aggregation-based approach for determining a robust airline fleet composition for dynamic capacity allocation, Transportation Science, 39, 367-382.
  4. Freling, R., R.M. Lentink, L.G. Kroon, and D. Huisman, (2005). Shunting of passenger train units in a railway station, Transportation Science, 39, 261-273.
  5. Kaymak, U., and M. Setnes, (2001). Fuzzy modeling of client preference from large data sets: An application to target selection in direct marketing, IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, 9, 153-163.