OPM 581: Service Operations Management

Services are the largest and fastest growing segment of our economy. However, services pose particular challenges to managers due to their intangible and experiential nature, perishability and high levels of customer involvement. Accordingly, managing services requires tight integration between operations, marketing, strategy, technology, and organizational issues from an integrated viewpoint with a focus on the customer. Therefore, it is important to understand both, how services differ from manufacturing operations and to understand the potential and limitations of how traditional operations management techniques can be applied to services. This course provides managerial concepts and selected analytical tools for effectively and efficiently managing service operations in face of these challenges. In particular, we will look at critical management decisions related to service strategy development, service operations design, service process analysis and improvement, capacity management and scheduling, revenue management, service experience design, etc. For understanding and developing the managerial concepts underlying productive service systems, we will rely on fundamental theory, state-of-the-art research insights, and actual case studies of firms that have achieved long-term profitability in practice. Applications cover a broad range of service industries, such as transport and communication, retailing, hospitality, 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 service business.

Necessary prerequisites

Recommended prerequisites
Basic knowledge in operations management, basic knowledge in mathematics (including Linear Programming) and in statistics (probability distributions).

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 offeringSpring semester
Duration of module 1 semester
Range of applicationM.Sc. MMM, M.Sc. WiPäd, M.Sc. VWL, M.Sc. Wirt. Inf., M.Sc. Wirt. Math., MAKUWI
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1
LiteratureSee syllabus
Course outlineTopics include, e.g.,
  • Understanding Services
  • Market-Oriented Service Design
  • Service Process Analysis, Design and Improvement
  • Customer Journeys, Service Process Mining, Designing the Service Experience
  • Service Scheduling
  • Revenue Management
  • Real-World Applications of Analytics in Services
  • Case Studies, Guest Lectures