Operations Research / Management

Research topics

The OM/OR research field focuses on problems that concern how to conduct and coordinate the operations within an organization. More specifically, the operations refer to the production, services and information provided by a company. Whereas previously the principles of operations management were only applied to a single unit in a static environment, the decisions within a company should nowadays be taken in the perspective of a bigger entity in a competitive and dynamic environment. As a result of this increasing complexity, operations research is applied as the primary research methodology to structure, model, analyze and support decisions that concern operations management. Using operations research our research team aims to develop new models, processes and algorithms that are able to optimize the often conflicting goals of the stakeholders in a company. By developing new analytical solution methods and associated decision support systems, the research team OM/OR aims to obtain innovative insights in the organizational policies and external factors of problems.

In addition to operations research, our research team approaches problems in a multidisciplinary way by making use of other methods such as empirical and theoretical research methods, qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques, artificial intelligence, business intelligence, combinatorial optimization and simulation in function of the purpose of the research.

The research topics of the OM/OR team are organized around five clusters of research:

  1. Project Management: The management of a group of related activities in order to generate a unique product, service or result effectively and efficiently.
  2. Personnel Management: The management of personnel resources within an organization in order to have suitably qualified staff on duty at the right time.
  3. Production Management: The management, planning and control of industrial processes to produce goods and services of the right quality, right quantity, at the right time and at minimum cost.
  4. Supply Chain Management: The management and alignment of the operations within an organization together with the operations of other related companies in order to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole.
  5. Sport Management: Sport management involves the planning, organization and control within the context of a department whose primary product or service is related to sport or physical activity.


The research interest of Mario Vanhoucke lies in the integration of project scheduling, risk management and project control using “combinatorial optimization models”. He has written +60 papers and 5 books on this topic, and is a regular speaker at conferences for academics and professionals. He also has an interest in integrating project resource scheduling with personnel scheduling.

The research of Broos Maenhout focuses on the management of personnel resources. In this perspective, he develops new analytical methods that support the planning and scheduling of personnel and new insights are acquired in personnel management. His current research focuses on the integration of personnel planning with other domains in operations management such as project management.

The research interests of Dries Goossens are divided over several areas, each of which on the crossroad between operations research (OR) and operations management (OM): combinatorial auctions (with applications in procurement and transportation), sports scheduling (including scheduling the first division of the Belgian football competition), and personnel planning.

The research of Tarik Aouam is focused on three main directions as follows, (i) Production planning under uncertainty with load-dependent lead-times in manufacturing systems, (ii) Integrating the production (manufacturing) function with other functions, including: Sales (acceptance of orders with risk inherent in orders), Distribution (Inventory and routing), Network Design (Facility location), Procurement (with the existence of spot markets and financial contracts for hedging), Finance (cash management with risk in customer payments), (iii) Risk management and delegation in procurement.

Veronique Limère’s research interests lie in facility logistics, material handling, operations research applications in production and logistics systems, and industrial engineering applications in health care. IWT project funding was obtained in the past, and projects were carried out in collaboration with some major Belgian manufacturing firms.

Her main interests are Supply Chain Management and manufacturing strategy, in particular international manufacturing strategy.