TS501418 - Operations Management and Flexibility


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2022/2023

Course content

Operations Management deals with the design, planning and management of supply chains, products, processes, services. It considers the acquisition, development and utilization of resources that companies need to deliver the goods and services customers want. Largely deals with dealing with uncertainty: Short-term uncertainty in weather, wave heights, demand, price, transit times and long-term uncertainty from regulation, competition and other external or internal factors. Without uncertainty planning and managing operations would be less demanding. The focus of this course is on how to deal with uncertainty and create flexibility to enable rapid and effective adaptation to changes in operational issues. With reference to MIT professor David Simchi-Levi "Flexibility is the single most important capability that allows firms to innovate in their operations and supply chain strategies." The course is divided into two parts: The first part deals with an introduction to theories and principles behind creating flexibility (eg decision models, decision trees, real options, what-if / scenario analysis, the value of information, reactive versus proactive decisions). The second part deals with flexibility in various operational problems, such as planning in shipbuilding, and the link between design and planning. The relationship between strategic, tactical and operational decisions, and what this means when something is uncertain or changes, will be discussed.

Learning outcome

The course will provide students with knowledge of how to deal with operational uncertainty, and develop an understanding of the consequences if uncertainty is not handled appropriately. Knowledge: After completing the course the student should have an understanding of how decisions under uncertainty are made when quantitative tools are not used; understand how operational decisions are made in many industrial environments and how uncertainty is handled in these; understand the structure of flexible solution to operational problems. Skills: When the student has finished, he / she should be able to handle uncertainty in operations by understanding the connection between the operational, tactical and strategic decisions, and be able to discuss and develop different solutions for operational flexibility. Competences: After completing the course, the student should be able to reflect critically on theories, methods and tools within operational risk management, as well as read relevant literature.

Learning methods and activities

The course will be a mixture of lectures and work with specific cases. There will be 1 to 2 guest lectures focusing on operational problems in the maritime industry.

Compulsory assignments

  • Oblig

Further on evaluation

Compulsory attendance at the teaching weeks. At least two case studies in groups, of a maximum of three, must be completed during the teaching weeks and presented in class. The report is delivered digitally in INSPERA as a pdf file. The report counts 100%. Grade scale A - F. Exam registration requires that class registration be approved in the same semester. Mandatory activities from the previous semester can be approved by the department. The student must have 80% attendance in the course to be able to register for the exam. Special cases are assessed individually by sending an application to the Study Program Manager.

Specific conditions

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Management of Demanding Marine Operations (830MDO)
Management of Demanding Marine Operations (MLAKMO)

Required previous knowledge

The course is not very technical, but basic knowledge in risk management and quantitative analysis is expected. Basic experience from modeling decision problems is an advantage but not required. No specific analysis tools are used, but the cases will require some types of quantitative analysis.

Course materials

1. Utvalgte deler av kompendium: Decision making under uncertainty – The art of modelling. Stein Wallace 2. Operations Rules: Delivering Customer Value through Flexible operations, 2013, David Simchi-Levi. The MIT Press 3. Utvalgte forskningsartikler og industri case.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level



Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Ålesund

Subject area(s)
  • Organization and Leadership
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Ocean Operations and Civil Engineering


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