Posts in Category: education

Great oral examation for his PhD – Congratulations, Linh Duong!

A couple of weeks ago, one of my students completed his oral examination, where he did a great job defending his research and work that he completed as part of his PhD. Congratulations – Linh Duong!

Linh has worked hard over several years on his project, entitled: A Multi-criteria Continuous Review Inventory Management System for Perishable & Substitutable Products.

This research is particularly interesting for those folk that manage perishable goods, whether these goods are foodstuffs or pharmaceuticals. A key element of the work was the inclusion of substitutability — a really important concept in contemporary business practice, where consumers are happy or willing to buy a substitute product if their preferred product is not in stock. The practical impact, from the perspective of those managing replenishment, is that ‘normal’ consumption of a product can be boosted if there is additional consumption driven by the substitution effect.

We had an enjoyable examination process. As usual, the Postgraduate Centre staff did a fantastic job setting everything up and ensuring that the process was seamless. The convenor walked us through the process earlier and did a great job during the examination itself. The oral examiners asked a range of interesting questions on a range of factors and issues in the thesis. Linh did a great job of addressing the questions and adding additional insight into the examiners’ understanding of the research.

Thank you, Linh, it was great working with you on the project and I’m sad to see this come to a close. Thanks also to Associate Professor William YC Wang, Linh’s other supervisor, who provided valuable support and assistance during the project.

Last week, another of our AUT PhD students also had a successful oral examination – congratulations to Freddie Mbuba! Congratulations also to his supervisors, Associate Professor William YC Wang and Dr Karin Olesen.

Site visit to the Auckland Airport

On 2016-07-19, my Global Operations Management class was bundled onto a bus and transported down to the Auckland Airport. When we arrived, we split into two groups for two separate sessions.

First – my group was given an overview presentation, focusing on the long-term growth and capacity management challenges facing the airport. This included an overview of the airport strategy for growth and an overview of expected increases in visitor numbers. The increase in tourism and the number of airlines flying into the airport was impressive, highlighting the role of the airport as a ‘gateway’ four many tourists as they visit the country. Some of the challenges of the growth were presented, including an overview of the different types of capacity and how some elements of the airport can have capacity added incrementally while others require more substantial capital expenditure and a significant increase in capacity all in one go.

Second – we received a short tour around the airport precinct. In this situation, we looked at the airport real estate holdings and developments, focusing on supporting a burgeoning commercial hub and the growth of companies. A range of different warehousing spaces were available, allowing firms to ‘grow’ and expand as they become more successful. We were also fortunate enough to have an overview of the operations centre, where they monitor the day-to-day operations within the terminals. Here, a range of cameras and dashboards are constantly monitored, allowing managers to re-allocate staff accordingly to bust queues and smooth the journey of passengers through the terminals as much as possible. Metrics and KPIs are displayed and used to improve the allocation of resources over the day.

A great big thanks to all the folk at the airport! The class and I really enjoyed the time we spent there.

Littlefield Labs simulations in our operations management classes

Another fun week and we were running the Littlefield Labs simulation in two of our operations management classes. First, in the Postgraduate Diploma class on Supply Chain Management, with a focus just on management of capacity with a scenario focused on queuing and leadtimes. Second, I run a scenario with my Global Operations Management class (in the Business Masters programme), focused on capacity management and the use of appropriate contracts given operational performance. It’s a great group of talented students so I’ve given them a reasonably challenging situation to keep them busy in the session. We run the in-class session over a 120-minute team-based learning (TBL) session, giving us plenty of time to get into the simulation. All the best to the students – it should keep them busy and entertained over the session!

Exam week

End of the biggest week for exams that I’ve had in quite a while. Big congrats to my Operations Management students at AUT who worked through their 3-hour, short-answer examination. My hope is that this challenged the cohort sufficiently

And it wasn’t just my students that engaged in their examinations – I was also sitting one on Sunday morning from 2-5am. I have to admit – this isn’t the greatest time of day for me to work. The exam was the Certified Demand Driven Planner programme (CDDP) administered by ICEA. Why the odd hours? It’s administered from the USA where I understand it was a more reasonable hour. An iProctor monitors a video feed for up to 5 candidates to ensure they are alone, not referring to books, etc. It was a multi-choice question exam. Now, I have my beef with this type of assessment but one outcome is pretty awesome: there is no wait to find out how you are did; an instant score is generated (in my case, slightly incorrect as one of my questions did not have an image in the question, making it impossible to answer!).

All up, a tough examination week for both myself and my students. I think we’re all breathing a sigh of relief.

nDiVE – the first day of an awesome project

This is the first day of a 24-month project to improve operations and supply chain management education – the nDiVE project ( and In essence – the objective is to represent more data and information within a virtual environment to enable learners to better understand supply chain complexity, particularly where there is a separation of time and/or space between the cause-and-effect. This can be particularly pertinent in supply chain quality or health and safety.

Watch this space – it should be an interesting 24-month project improving operations and supply chain education.


Welcome to SCM – a place to learn about and discuss supply chain and operations management. I’ll be discussing topics that are of interest to operations and supply chain professionals as well as students. Both real-life issues will be addressed, especially those of interest in the media, as well as thoughts regarding other topics. Research and education in operations and supply chain management will also be addressed.

All the best – Lincoln.