OPM 581: Service Operations Management

Services are the largest segment of our economy in terms of GDP and employment. For example, in the EU, around 3 out of 4 jobs are in service industries. However, services pose particular challenges to managers due to their intangible and experiential nature, perishability and high levels of customer involvement. Smooth service delivery, timely responses to inquiries, and personalized interactions can directly impact customer satisfaction and unlock competitive advantage. Accordingly, operations have a strategic role in meeting customer needs when it comes to designing and managing customer-centric services. Delivering exceptional service experiences can help businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors but requires strategic alignment between operations and market-oriented decisions from an integrated viewpoint with a focus on the customer.
This course provides managerial concepts and analytical tools for effectively designing services and optimizing the underlying service delivery processes in face of these challenges. In particular, we will explore mission-critical service operations management decisions that impact value-to-the-customer, firm profitability and in some cases also environmental sustainability. These decisions include, for example, customer-oriented service design, process design and improvement, capacity management, revenue management, technology selection, servitization options, etc. Furthermore, we will explore how service operations differ from manufacturing operations and understand the potential and limitations of how traditional operations management techniques can be applied to services.
The course will draw upon fundamental management principles, cutting-edge analytics methodologies, state-of-the-art research and practice insights, as well as real-world case studies from leading companies. Applications cover a broad range of service industries, e.g., transport and communication, retailing, hospitality, banking and insurance, professional services, e-services, as well as service functions of the manufacturing sector.

Learning outcomes
Students will 1) get familiarized with the challenging decisions and problems in service operations management, and 2) learn concepts, analytical tools and managerial insights to deal with these issues in order to gain competitive advantage through service operations. The course should be useful for anyone with an intention of going into professional services such as consulting; into industry (service or manufacturing), where the importance of managing service processes is increasing every day; or with a desire to set up their own business.

Necessary prerequisites
This course is an OPM5xx core course from the Operations Management area and has no prerequisites.
(As a core course, it serves as prerequisite for OPM6xx courses).

Recommended prerequisites
Basic knowledge in Operations Management

Forms of teaching and learningContact hoursIndependent study time
Lecture2 SWS8 SWS
Exercise class2 SWS5 SWS
ECTS credits6
Graded yes
Form of assessmentWritten exam (90 min)
Restricted admissionno
Further information
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schön
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Schön
Frequency of offeringFall 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., MAKUWI
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1, CG 2, CG 3
LiteratureSee syllabus
Course outlineTopics may include, e.g.,
  • The Nature of Services and their Role in the Economy
  • Customer-Centric Service Design and the Strategic Role of Service Operations in Meeting Customer Needs
  • Service Process Analysis, Design and Improvement
  • Service Process Mapping and Mining
  • Behavioral Aspects in Service Operations Mgmt.,
  • Service Scheduling and Capacity Decisions
  • Revenue Management
  • Transforming Service Operations with AI
  • Sustainability through Servitization
  • Analytics for Informed Decision-Making
  • Real-World Applications of Analytics in Services
  • Case Studies, Guest Lectures