Special Talk Dr. Paul Drake

Paul Drake is Head of Marketing and Operations at the University of Liverpool Management School. He has a BSc in statistics, an MSc and a PhD in systems engineering, and is a Chartered Engineer through the Institution of Engineering Technology. Prior to his academic career, he gained several years experience working in industry on the development of information systems. He has conducted wide-ranging research in operations management in collaboration with industry and the public sector. His early research was mainly into process monitoring. He then supervised several research projects with manufacturing enterprises and developed research into artificial intelligence techniques for decision making and scheduling. His current research has expanded into logistics and purchasing strategy, including novel applications in the area of social care. He has placed much emphasis on the supervision of PhD students, with the total number being well into double figures. He has worked with over 50 businesses and public sector organisations and has reached 100 publications in the open literature. He is a visiting lecturer in e-business strategy at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes, one of France’s Grandes Ecoles and an honorary senior research fellow in operations management at the University of Birmingham School of Engineering.



The University of Liverpool, founded in 1881 is one of the UK’s leading research-based universities. It has 27,000 students pursuing over 400 programmes spanning 54 subject areas. There are three faculties: Health and Life Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; and Science and Engineering, organized into 35 departments and schools. Around 5,000 people work at the University, including nearly 1,400 academic and 800 research staff. The university places great emphasis on inclusion, welcoming students from a wide variety of backgrounds and from over 100 countries of the world.

The Management School is a 21st century creation having been formed in 2002 from long established research groups in areas such as Economics, Industrial Engineering, Public Sector Management and Latin American Studies and an injection of carefully chosen new staff. The School consists of three subject groups: Ecomomics, Finance and Accounting; Organisation and Management; and Marketing and Operations. Research is driven strategically through Knowledge Platforms of which Operations and Supply Chain Excellence is one.

The Operations and Supply Chain Excellence knowledge platform aims to drive and support business competitiveness by making an original contribution to the theory and practice of operations and supply chain management. This aim is pursued through the development and application of the methods and technologies that underpin and facilitate the achievement of excellence in the design of operations and supply chain systems.

Research is undertaken at a national and international level on a range of themes that principally concern operations strategy and design (with specific emphasis on lean and agile practices), supply chain and logistics design, mass customisation, enterprise systems, procurement policies and practices, service operations management and tracking and traceability technologies. Since 2008, members of the knowledge platform have attracted about £3M in funding for research and knowledge exchange activities and have established close links with regional, national and international companies in key sectors such as automotive, aerospace, food, pharmaceuticals, transport and software.

Operations and supply chain management research at ULMS employs methods that are concerned with direct observation, intervention and improvement of practice. Research and knowledge exchange activities have led to the implementation of a wide range of business and industrial applications with support having been provided to over 100 businesses since 2007. It follows that practitioners are key beneficiaries and staff have a track record of solving real business problems.

The School has over 100 PhD students and about a quarter of these are in the area of operations and supply chain management. The School has a wide range of taught programmes including an MSc in Operations and Supply Chain Management and a related MSc e-Business Strategy and Systems. These two programmes alone have about 100 students and we are soon to introduce a related MSc in Project Management. We also run on-line versions of these programmes through our partnership with Laureate.

A key feature of our work is to seek the fullest exploitation of the opportunities afforded by contemporary ICT and e-Business at the technology, systems and business strategy levels throughout supply chains. Central to this is the development and application of decision support systems and research into novel approaches. 

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