About Supply Chain Management
Our mission is to develop and apply the integrative approach
of supply chain management (SCM) to achieve continuous improvement of
quality of life, functioning of society, and professional development of
individuals and organisations.
To achieve this, the research groups that together represent the
subject area of SCM conduct research at highest academic standards that
is of interest for the research community and relevance for
practitioners and policy makers. Further, the subject area commits to
research-lead teaching and learning activity, not only to meet
contemporary employability criteria but also in order to develop these
together with external organisations, which includes manufacturing and
transportation, but also service providers and governmental
Unique selling points
The research group at Chalmers is renowned for working closely with
external organisations in research and teaching, it has
well-established national and international networks, and it has taken
on a leading role in providing an integrative approach to the subject
area of supply chain management. There are in particular six integrative
features shape the direction and delivery of the group:
- Process: Key business processes deliver goods and services
of goods and services is based upon integration of key business
processes that constitute the production flow; purchasing and supply
management, manufacturing- and logistics operations, materials handling,
product development, distribution, transport, customer service and
reverse logistics, within and across the boundaries of the firm.
Information technology and systems supporting this integration is an
essential part of SCM.
- Inter-organisational: Buyer-supplier relationship management in business networks
key to successful performance lies in the organisation’s ability to
manage relationships with customers and suppliers. Further, these
relationships must be understood in a wider context of the supply
network. The study of business processes crossing organizational borders
is an important characteristic of our research.
- Performance: Environmental, social and economic impact
and teaching activity lead to impact on business (e.g. in terms cost
efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness or innovation), but also on
the wider society (social and environmental issues) where efficient
resource utilisation and environmentally sustainable logistics is in
focus. This approach is vital since for example transport processes have
a significant impact on the environment, and transport demand is highly
influenced by the activities performed by other actors in the supply
- Knowledge triangle: Research, education, innovation
The dynamic interaction between three components: Research based upon
multiple sources of evidence; teaching and learning activity to educate
employable students; and innovation that leads to business impact.
Research problems and –questions are often developed through close
interaction with the empirical field and with a particular
organisational context in mind.
- Evidence-based approach to research: Research design that clearly link theory and practice
Knowledge creation is based upon research design that make use of both
qualitative and quantitative approaches, balancing rigor and relevance,
and in a manner that allows for ‘systematic combining’, i.e. continuous
movement between the empirical and theoretical domains. Common to our
studies is a close interaction with the empirical field (external
organisations). The studies are performed within a variety of contexts,
for example automotive, transport, food, retail and health care.
- Inter-disciplinary approach, considering technical, economical, as well as organisational implications
Research and teaching activity benefit from interactions with other
fields. At the department of Technology Management and Economics,
complementary fields include quality science and operations management.
We also work closely with other institutions that have expertise in
e.g. product- and production development, environmental sciences,
industrial sociology and mathematical sciences.
SCM does not imply the ‘union of everything’, on the contrary, this
integrative approach allows for ‘combination of the relevant’; the
development of theories and frameworks through research, to offer
courses and programs relevant to employability of students, and to
achieve wider societal impact. In this perspective, the success of a
particular strategy and action is based on the ability to relate, and
the interaction between the components of a particular system.
Current research can be summarised in terms of the following areas:
- Transport and logistics services
- Distribution structures and -strategies
- Purchasing and materials supply
- Operations planning and control
- Business relationships and -networks
- Sustainability and logistics
In this work, the group enjoys its unique position among academics and
practitioners, and not least being a part of a vibrant research
environment at a technical university. The subject area of SCM
constitutes substantial contribution to Chalmers’ Areas of Advance,
primarily Transportation but also Production and Energy. The subject
area of SCM is presented in various courses and programs at Chalmers.
The flagship is the two-year full-time master's programme in Supply
Chain Management, but the group has also successfully offered shorter
programs to professionals, e.g. within lean management and to SCM
A focal point of organising the research
activity is Northern LEAD Logistics Centre, a research centre that is a
joint venture of Chalmers and University of Gothenburg.
About Operations Management
The Operations Management target area at the department of
Technology Management and Economics focuses on strategy and management
of R&D and Manufacturing, as well as the relation between them. The
R&D and Manufacturing strategies are derived from the overall
business strategy of the company.
The research conducted within Operations Management can be divided into three different research streams:
- Design – How to design the product development process and the R&D organization, aswell as the manufacturing system.
Management – This is about how to manage the development of actual
technologies,products and services ; for Manufacturing it is about the
daily management of production (the production planning and control).
- Improvement - How organizations can improve their R&D and Manufacturing related activities/processes over time.
The design research stream currently includes among others the following research topics:
- R&D organization- This includes alternative R&D
strategies along with organizationalalternatives for efficient and
effective development of products, but also how existing knowledge on
product innovation and product development can be transferred and
applied in service innovation and development.
- Product development processes – This covers alternative ways how to
structure and conduct the actual development of products and services.
- Manufacturing system design - This is about the physical realization
of products and services. This involves developing a conceptual
solution of the manufacturing system, which matches the strategic
The management research stream currently includes among others the following research topics:
- Product development practices and tools – This focuses on the
development of product development practices and tools leading to an
efficient product development action, as well as studies of how to
implement tools and practices in the development work.
- Production planning and control- This is concerned with planning and
controlling all aspects of manufacturing, including managing materials
and capacity, scheduling machines and people, and coordinating
capacities and material flows from suppliers and to customers, on
strategic, tactical and operational levels.
The improvement research stream currently includes among others the following research topics:
- Research in this field span practices and tools to improve both
product development and manufacturing related activities, as well as
management of improvement activities.
Within this area much is done on Quality Management; organizing quality
management, strategy and management of large scale improvement
initiatives such as Six Sigma, process management and translation of
improvement initiatives between different individuals, organizations,
The practical application areas of the research vary considerably.
The manufacturing industry provides a strong base for the research.
However, during the last years the research basis has also included
other type of businesses, such as SME:s and healthcare organizations.
Researchers have a long-standing relationship with companies and
public organizations and have often worked in close collaboration with
them, participating in, contributing to and studying the companies’ and
organizations’ development. One example is the major companies making up
the automotive industry in the surrounding region of Chalmers. In
addition, a research and education centre - Centre for Healthcare
Improvement (CHI) - that focuses on knowledge transfer from industry to
healthcare has been established.
Quality and Operations Management (QOM)
Center for Health Care Improvement (CHI)