OPM 510: Sustainable Operations Management

Sustainability refers to the long-term viability of businesses from a financial, environmental, and social perspective. In recent years, firms are facing growing regulatory and societal pressure to become more sustainable and to take responsibility for the environmental and social impact of their activities. This poses challenges for traditional business models and practices. Powerful levers to manage sustainability reside in the origins of a firm’s value creation, in their operations and supply chains. This module – jointly offered by all chairs of the Area Operations Management – provides a broad analysis of sustainability from the operations and supply chain perspective, and illustrates the potential of operations management to strategically contribute to the economic, environmental, and social performance of firms. Topics include sustainable product and service design, lean and green operations, closed-loop supply chains, and sustainability in procurement. The course targets both, (i) students focusing on operations management and intending to learn how sustainability affects a company’s operations and (ii) students with a general interest in sustainability that seek to understand the role of operations management in steering the sustainability of companies and supply chains.

Learning outcomes
The main intended learning outcome is a sound understanding of how to tackle sustainability goals in the economic reality of matching supply and demand. Participants will learn how to effectively lessen the negative environmental and social impacts of firms while maintaining their competitiveness. Special emphasis is put on analytical approaches and practical insights that illustrate concepts and challenges. Furthermore, students will intensify their understanding of operations and sustainability topics by putting concepts and analytical tools into a broader, interdisciplinary, and strategic context.

Necessary prerequisites

Recommended prerequisites
Basic knowledge in operations management (e.g. BSc course “OPM 301 Operations Management”), mathematics, and statistics.

Forms of teaching and learningContact hoursIndependent study time
Lecture2 SWS9 SWS
ECTS credits4
Graded yes
Form of assessmentWritten exam (60 min)
Restricted admissionno
Further information
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Christoph Bode
Prof. Dr. Moritz Fleischmann
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schön
Prof. Dr. Raik Stolletz
Prof. Dr. Christoph Bode, Prof. Dr. Moritz Fleischmann, Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schön, Prof. Dr. Raik Stolletz
Frequency of offeringSpring semester
Duration of module 1 semester
Range of applicationM.Sc. MMM, M.Sc. Bus. Edu., M.Sc. Econ., M.Sc. Bus. Inf., M.Sc. Bus. Math.
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1, CG 3
LiteratureRecommended background reading (not mandatory):
  • Bouchery, Y., Corbett, C. J., Fransoo, J. C., & Tan, T. (Eds.). Sustainable supply chains. Springer, 2017.
  • Souza, G. C. Sustainable Operations and Closed Loop Supply Chains. Business Expert Press, 2017.
Additional readings:
  • Busse, C., Kach, A., & Bode, C. (2016). Sustainability and the false sense of legitimacy: How institutional distance augments risk in global supply chains. Journal of Business Logistics, 37(4), 312–328.
Course outlinePart 1: Sustainable Supply Chain Management (Prof. Fleischmann)
Part 2: Sustainable Production Management (Prof. Stolletz)
Part 3: Sustainable Product Design and Consumer Behavior (Prof. Schön)
Part 4: Sustainable Procurement (Prof. Bode)