Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Professor Christian Hicks

Professor of Operations Management



Chris has a broad interest in Operations Management and is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering Technology (formally the Institution of Electrical Engineers). He served as Deputy Director of Newcastle University Business School from February 2016- February 2019, having previously been Director of Research, Head of the Operations Management Subject Group and Co-Director of the Newcastle-Grenoble DBA. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Management Studies at IIT-Delhi.

Operations Management is concerned with the efficient and effective use of resources and aims to improve the competitiveness organisations. His research is focused on the manufacturing, health, motor distribution and shipping sectors. In July 2018 Chris delivered a keynote presentation entitled "The contributions of operations management and management science to four industrial revolutions" to the International Conference on Management Science and Engineering Management (ICMSEM), held in Melbourne 1st-3rd August 2018.

Chris and Dr Jingxin Dong have recently been awarded a £146k UKIERI Research grant to work with Professor Ravi Shankar and Dr Surya Singh at IIT-Delhi on optimising shipping container supply chains. 

Chris and Tom McGovern won an award to evaluate the application of the 3P Lean design method in the NHS. This work, funded by the Health Foundation was conducted by Iain Smith, who is also studying for a PhD. The first pilot study was the design of an endoscopy ward at Gateshead Foundation Trust. The method was subsequently used to redesign a maternity ward at the Queen Elizabeth and an endoscopy ward at Sunderland, which has since been built. 

NHS North East was the first Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to adopt a region-wide strategy that aimed to transform an entire healthcare system through the application of the North East Transformation System (NETS). This had three elements – the vision, the compact and the method. The vision was to provide excellent healthcare. The compact sought to reshape the psychological contract between clinicians and the institutions in which they work to facilitate transformational change. The method aimed to improve processes, quality and efficiency through the application of Lean philosophy and techniques. Newcastle University Business School, together with Professor Hunter at the Wolfson Research Institute at Durham University was awarded £500k by the National Institute for Health Research to conduct a three year project to evaluate the NETS initiative. This research adopted a mixed methods approach that sought to evaluate both process and outcomes using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Newcastle University Business School was a partner in the European Regions for Innovative Productivity, which was a €3.3m EU funded project that helped small companies in the North Sea Region of Europe implement Lean. The partners included Ghent University (Flanders), the University of Groningen (Netherlands), Swera (Sweden), SINTEF (Norway) and Osnabruck University (Germany). The project finished in December 2011. We launched a joint MSc in Operations Management with Groningen University, which started in September 2012.

The region has a long history of producing complex capital goods, such as power plant, ships and oil rigs that are designed and produced to meet individual customer requirements. His work has investigated strategic and operational issues, including supply chain management, facilities layout, planning and control, the impact of deregulation and the application of computer aided production management systems. Chris continues to work closely with Dr Pupong Poncharoen and his team at Naresuan University in Thailand (he obtained a Newcastle PhD in 2001) on various optimisation solutions (including scheduling, timetabling, container packing etc.). 

Chris has close collaboration with Professor Amrik Sohal and Dr Peter O'Neill at Monash University in Australia. He has been a Visiting Professor in 2009, 2010,2011 and 2013. Their work has investigate Lean in healthcare and more recently innovation and operations management in the emerging regenerative health industry. This work involves collaboration with the medical schools at both organisations. Chris and Amrik were co-organisers of a Lean in Healthcare stream at the 22nd International Conference of Production Research held at Iguassu Falls in Brazil and there have since been two workshops in New Delhi and one in Groningen.

A team including Adrian Small, Tom McGovern, Tracy Scurry and Melissa Whipp have worked on a transformational change project with Benfield Motors Group, which is the largest motor dealership in the North East of England. They have helped improve productivity and competitiveness through the application of Lean principles and practices. This work was graded outstanding by Innovate UK and selected as an impact case study by ESRC.

Chris is an enthusiastic teacher and has developed research-led modules and degree programmes in operations management that aim to disseminate his expertise to undergraduate and postgraduate students. He currently teaches Purchasing and Supply Chain Management for MSc Students and teaches Advanced Operations Management at IIT Delhi. The MSc in Operations Management and Logistics and the MSc in Operations Management, Logistics and Accounting were launched in September 2008 and are proving increasing popular. Chris has supervised 13 postgraduate research students through to completion. 

Chris has a wide range of administrative experience. He has served as the Joint Director of the Newcastle/Grenoble DBA. He formed and led the Multidisciplinary Applied Research in Organisational Excellence Research Group.. He has led the Strategy and Operations Subject Group and has served as Director of Research. Chris completed the ABS/BAM Deans and Directors Development Programme and also the ABS/BAM Director of Research Development Programme and has contributed to its delivery for three years.  He is University Lead for the collaborations with Groningen and Naresuan universities.

Chris has received research funding of over £1m.

Bibliographic links

Google Scholar:



Scopus Author ID: 7102667331


Roles and Responsibilities

Deputy Director, Newcastle University Business School

Head of Multidisciplinary Applied Research in Organisational Excellence Research Group


Research Interests

Operations Managment, Manufacturing Systems, Planning and Control, Layout, Simulation, Optimisation, Supply Chain Management, Information Technology, Make/Engineer-to-order companies, Operations Research, Lean Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing.

Current Work

Conference paper presentations are available at:




Research Roles

Head of the Operations, Data and Information Systems Research Community
Member, NUBS Research & Ethics Committee

Postgraduate Supervision

Pupong Pongcharoen (PhD, graduated July 2001)
Dongping Song (PhD, graduated July 2001)
Fouzi Hossen (PhD, graduated July 2006)
Colin Herron (PhD, Professor Braiden primary supervisor, graduated July 2006)
Lu Hsin-Che (MPhil, graduated June 08)
Rispianda Rispianda (MPhil, graduated June 08)
Teerawut Tunnukij (PhD, started 2004, graduated July 2008)
Moon Seongmin (PhD, graduated in November 2010)

Xie Wenbin (PhD, graduated 2011)

Jie Ma (PhD, graduated 2014)

Alawiyah Abd Wahab, graduated 2015)

Andy Hill (PhD, graduated 2017)

Fokion Oikonomidis (PhD, graduated 2018)
Iain Smith (PhD, graduated 2018)

Feng Jiao (PhD, graduated 2018)

Esteem Indicators

Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing
Computers & Industrial Engineering
Computers & Operations Research
European Journal of Operational Research
IEEE Transactions of Evolutionary Computing
International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
International Journal of Information Technology and Management
International Journal of Logistics: Research and Applications
International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management
International Journal of Production Economics
International Journal of Operations and Production Management
International Journal of Production Research

International Journal of Technology Management
Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Journal of Scheduling
Journal of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Part B
Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE A
Optimization Letters
Research in Engineering Design

Guest Editor: Automation, the International Journal of Assembly Technology and Management, 2001.
Guest Editor: International Journal of Technology Management, 2007.
Guest Editor: International Journal of Technology Management, 2008.

Editorial Board Member: The Open Operational Research Journal
Editorial Board Member: Open Operational Research Letters
Editorial Board Member: Open Operational Research Reviews

Honourable Mention Award, ASAC 2006 conference
Keynote speaker: "Lean Manufacturing", First Estonian Industry Conference, Tallinn, 8th December 2006.

External Examiner:
University of Exeter, Manufacturing and Management Programmes (UG and PG), 2003 - 2007.
University of Sterling, Management and Management Science (UG), 2008-2012.
PhDs: University of Durham, University of Exeter, Oxford University, University of Surrey, Cardiff University University of Newcastle.


Benfield Motor KTP, 1/14, £134k

The Evaluation of the Lean Design of Healthcare Facilities, Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust, £42k

Supply Chain Management in the Regenerative Medicine Industry, £16.5k, 08/11-08/12 

Interreg grant ERIP (total 3.3m Euro, our contribution 428,000 Euro), 06/08-12/11
Strategic Health Authority, £60k, 2008
Thai Research Fund 1.5m Baht (£1 = 50baht)
Evaluation of the North East Transformation System in NHS North East (£500k, joint with Durham University), 11/9-6/13

Industrial Relevance

Chris is a Chartered Engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and his work is grounded in issues relevant to the manufacturing and health sectors in the North East of England.


Manufacturing Systems; Information Technology; Planning; Scheduling; Layout; Supply Chain; Simulation; Optimisation; Business Processes; Modelling;


BUS2029 Operations Strategy and Management

BUS2032 Service Operations Strategy and Management

NBS8118 Purchasing and Supply Chain Management