Now showing items 1-20 of 6481

    • The impact of applying effort to reduce activity variability on the project time and cost performance

      Martens, Annelies; Vanhoucke, Mario (European Journal of Operational Research, 2019)
      During project execution, deviations from the baseline schedule are inevitable due to the presence of uncertainty and variability. To assure successful project completion, the project’s progress should be monitored and corrective actions should be taken to get the project back on track. This paper presents an integrated project control procedure for measuring the project’s progress and taking corrective actions when necessary. We apply corrective actions that reduce the activity variability to improve the project outcome. Therefore, we quantify the relation between the applied managerial effort and the reduction in activity variability. Moreover, we define three distinct control strategies to take corrective actions on activities, i.e. an interventive strategy, a preventive strategy and a hybrid strategy. A computational experiment is conducted to evaluate the performance of these strategies. The results of this experiment show that different strategies are preferred depending on the topological network structure of projects. More specifically, the interventive strategy and hybrid strategy are preferred for parallel projects, while the preventive strategy is preferred for serial projects.
    • Digital operations: Autonomous automation and smart execution of work

      Boute, Robert; Van Mieghem, Jan (Management and Business Review, 2021)
      The integration of digital technologies is changing the way organizations operate and deliver value. Digitizing operations may replace manual work through increased automation, but it may also enable smarter execution of workflows thereby augmenting human work. Evaluating the level and reach of these three pillars--digitization, automation, and smart--across the organization’s value chain provides a diagnostic tool that can inspire future desired directions of digitization.
    • Safeguarding serendipitous creativity during the COVID-19 Pandemic

      Ben-Menahem, Shiko; Erden, Zeynep (California Management Review, 2020)
      How does a firm ensure creative interactions among people within and outside of the organization in pandemic conditions?
    • Optimizing production capacity and safety stocks in general acyclic supply chains

      Ghadimi, Foad; Aouam, Tarik; Vanhoucke, Mario (Computers and Operations Research, 2020)
      This paper addresses the joint optimization of production capacity and safety stocks in supply chains under the guaranteed service approach (GSA). The integrated problem is formulated as a mixed integer nonlinear program (MINLP) and solution procedures are proposed in the cases of general acyclic and spanning tree networks. For general acyclic supply chains, the integrated problem is solved using a Lagrangian decomposition method which iteratively solves capacity planning and safety stock placement subproblems, and adds budget feasibility constraints to strengthen the Lagrangian decomposition lower bound. When the supply chain has a spanning tree structure, an efficient Lagrangian relaxation heuristic dualizes the budget constraint and solves the relaxed problem using a dynamic programming algorithm. Computational experiments on real-world instances show that the Lagrangian decomposition method is able to solve all instances within 0.1% optimality, while a state-of-the-art solver is unable to provide feasible solutions for large instances. In the case of spanning tree networks, the proposed Lagrangian relaxation heuristic finds optimal or near-optimal solutions and greatly improves running time in comparison to the Lagrangian decomposition method. In addition, numerical experiments show that savings can be achieved through joint optimization of capacity and safety stocks.
    • Mode generation rules to define activity flexibility for the integrated project staffing problem with discrete time/resource trade-offs

      Van Den Eeckhout, Mick; Maenhout, Broos; Vanhoucke, Mario (Annals of Operations Research, 2020)
      In this paper, we study the project staffing problem with discrete time/resource trade-offs to minimise the personnel staffing budget. This staffing problem embeds activity scheduling flexibility by incorporating the project scheduling problem into the personnel staffing problem to improve the quality of the staffing plan. In addition, we introduce extra demand scheduling flexibility resulting from the design of alternative execution modes for the activities, modelled via discrete time/resource trade-offs. In this way, the project manager is able to decide on the team size and duration for every activity. We propose a two-stage methodology to first design specific alternative activity modes using heuristic rules-of-thumb and subsequently we assess the resulting quality, i.e. the staffing cost, via the integrated composition of the project schedule and associated staffing plan. The heuristic mode generation rules determine the selection of a limited set of relevant activities and modes. The computational results show that the impact of these heuristic generation rules on the staffing budget is dependent on the defined relation between different activity alternatives for a particular activity and on the estimated characteristics of the activity base modes. We show that by focusing on a particular well-chosen subset of activity alternatives or on a particular subset of activities, high-quality solutions realising most of the potential cost improvements resulting from the discrete time/resource trade-offs can be derived with a reduced effort.
    • Resource-constrained multi-project scheduling: Benchmark datasets and decoupled scheduling

      Van Eynde, Rob; Vanhoucke, Mario (Journal of Scheduling, 2020)
      In this paper, we propose a new dataset for the resource-constrained multi-project scheduling problem and evaluate the performance of multi-project extensions of the single-project schedule generation schemes. This manuscript contributes to the existing research in three ways. First, we provide an overview of existing benchmark datasets and classify the multi-project literature based on the type of datasets that are used in these studies. Furthermore, we evaluate the existing summary measures that are used to classify instances and provide adaptations to the data generation procedure of Browning and Yassine (J Scheduling 13(2):143-161, 2010a). With this adapted generator we propose a new dataset that is complimentary to the existing ones. Second, we propose decoupled versions of the single-project scheduling schemes, building on insights from the existing literature. A computational experiment shows that the decoupled variants outperform the existing priority rule heuristics and that the best priority rules differ for the two objective functions under study. Furthermore, we analyse the effect of the different parameters on the performance of the heuristics. Third, we implement a genetic algorithm that incorporates specific multi-project operators and test it on all datasets. The experiment shows that the new datasets are challenging and provide opportunities for future research.
    • A project buffer and resource management model in energy sector: A case study in construction of a wind farm project

      Zohrehvandi, Shakib; Vanhoucke, Mario; Khalilzadeh, Mohammad (International Journal of Energy Sector Management, 2020)
      Purpose This study aims to introduce an efficient project buffer and resource management (PBRM) model for project resource leveling and project buffer sizing and controlling of project buffer consumption of a wind power plant project to achieve a more realistic project duration. Design/methodology/approach The methodology of this research consists of three main phases. In the first phase of the research methodology, resource leveling is done in the project and resource conflicts of activities are identified. In the second phase, the project critical chain is determined, and the appropriate size of the project buffer is specified. In the third phase of the methodology, buffer consumption is controlled and monitored during the project implementation. After using the PBRM method, the results of this project were compared with those of the previous projects. Findings According to the obtained results, it can be concluded that using PBRM model in this wind turbine project construction, the project duration became 25 per cent shorter than the scheduled duration and also 29 per cent shorter than average duration of previous similar projects. Research limitations/implications One of the major problems with projects is that they are not completed according to schedule, and this creates time delays and losses in the implementation of projects. Today, as projects in the energy sector, especially renewable projects, are on the increase and also we are facing resource constraint in the implementation of projects, using scheduling techniques to minimize delays and obtain more realistic project duration is necessary. Practical implications This research was carried out in a wind farm project. In spite of the initial plan duration of 142 days and average duration of previous similar projects of 146 days, the project was completed in 113 days. Originality/value This paper introduces a practical project buffer and resource management model for project resource leveling, project buffer sizing and buffer consumption monitoring to reach a more realistic schedule in energy sector. This study adds to the literature by proposing the PBRM model in renewable energy sector.
    • Multimode time-cost-robustness trade-off project scheduling problem under uncertainty

      Li, Xue; He, Zhengwen; Wang, Nengmin; Vanhoucke, Mario (Journal of Combinatorial Optimization, 2020)
      The time/cost trade-off problem is a well-known project scheduling problem that has been extensively studied. In recent years, many researchers have begun to focus on project scheduling problems under uncertainty to cope with uncertain factors, such as resource idleness, high inventory, and missing deadlines. To reduce the disturbance from uncertain factors, the aim of robust scheduling is to generate schedules with time buffers or resource buffers, which are capped by project makespan and project cost. This paper addresses a time-cost-robustness trade-off project scheduling problem with multiple activity execution modes under uncertainty. A multiobjective optimization model with three objectives (makespan minimization, cost minimization, and robustness maximization) is constructed and three propositions are proposed. An epsilon-constraint method-based genetic algorithm along with three improvement measures is designed to solve this NP-hard problem and to develop Pareto schedule sets, and a large-scale computational experiment on a randomly generated dataset is performed to validate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm and the improvement measures. The final sensitivity analysis of three key parameters shows their distinctive influences on the three objectives, according to which several suggestions are given to project managers on the effective measures to improve the three objectives.
    • Automatic detection of the best performing priority rule for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem

      Guo, Weikang; Vanhoucke, Mario; Coelho, José; Luo, Jingyu (Expert Systems with Applications, 2020)
      Priority rules are applied in many commercial software tools for scheduling projects under limited resources because of their known advantages such as the ease of implementation, their intuitive working, and their fast speed. Moreover, while numerous research papers present comparison studies between different priority rules, managers often do not know which rules should be used for their specific project, and therefore have no other choice than selecting a priority rule at random and hope for the best. This paper introduces a decision tree approach to classify and detect the best performing priority rule for the resource-constrained project scheduling problem (RCPSP). The research relies on two classification models to map project indicators onto the performance of the priority rule. Using such models, the performance of each priority rule can be predicted, and these predictions are then used to automatically select the best performing priority rule for a specific project with known network and resource indicator values. A set of computational experiment is set up to evaluate the performance of the newly proposed classification models using the most well-known priority rules from the literature. The experiments compare the performance of multi-label classification models with multi-class classification models, and show that these models can outperform the average performance of using any single priority rule. It will be argued that this approach can be easily extended to any extension of the RCPSP without changing the methodology used in this study.
    • Pertinent insights from Europe on executive compensation

      Baeten, Xavier; De Ruyck, Bettina (The Journal of Total Rewards, 2020)
      Throughout this article, it became clear that there is no “European way” of executive compensation as a number of geographical differences were found to be present. However, the research shows that the variance is explained by determinants such as business size, the industry in which the company operates and the share ownership structure. The article also looked at the underlying key performance indicators used for incentive systems. Not surprisingly, financial indicators were found to be most prevalent, determining on average 70% of the bonus while company size was the main driver of CEO compensation. We found that CEO compensation policies in the best performing companies, over a longer period of time, are characterized by modesty. This applies to compensation levels, the weight of incentives in the total package, and the spread between target and maximum bonus.
    • Least-cost distribution network tariff design in theory and practice

      Schittekatte, Tim; Meeus, Leonardo (The Energy Journal, 2020)
      In this paper a game-theoretical model with self-interest pursuing consumers is introduced in order to assess how to design a least-cost distribution tariff under two constraints that regulators typically face. The first constraint is related to difficulties regarding the implementation of cost-reflective tariffs. In practice, so-called cost-reflective tariffs are only a proxy for the actual cost driver(s) in distribution grids. The second constraint has to do with fairness. There is a fear that active consumers investing in distributed energy resources (DER) might benefit at the expense of passive consumers. We find that both constraints have a significant impact on the least-cost network tariff design, and the results depend on the state of the grid. If most of the grid investments still have to be made, passive and active consumers can both benefit from cost-reflective tariffs, while this is not the case for passive consumers if the costs are mostly sunk.
    • Venture capital, credit, and fintech start-up formation: A cross-country study

      Kolokas, Dimitrios; Vanacker, Tom; Veredas, David; Zahra, Shaker (Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 2020)
      Growing FinTech entrepreneurship is a recent global phenomenon. Drawing on the national innovation systems framework, we examine how countries’ venture capital (VC) and credit markets differently affect FinTech entrepreneurship across countries. We argue that with their established and globally diffused norms and practices, VC investors—but not banks—require a critical mass of FinTech entrepreneurship in a country to more positively influence FinTech entrepreneurship. Moreover, we argue that VC and credit markets are substitutes, especially in countries with more FinTech entrepreneurship. Using quantile regressions on data from 53 countries, we find support for our hypotheses.
    • 2020 M&A Monitor: Shedding light on M&A in Belgium

      Luypaert, Mathieu; Spolverato, Gianni (2020)
      The Belgian mergers and acquisitions market experienced a good and stable year in 2019, with slight growth in the smaller transactions segment. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, merger and acquisition activities are expected to decline by more than 30% in 2020. In addition, 60% of Belgian experts also expect a price drop of more than 10%. Liquidity problems in many companies could also cause the balance of power to shift, mainly putting buyers in a strong bargaining position. Finally, for the first time a question was asked about the expected impact of an acquisition on future employment. This impact appears to be positive across the board. These are the main conclusions of the seventh edition of the M&A Monitor, an annual survey of around 110 Belgian merger and acquisition specialists including corporate finance advisers, private equity investors, brokers, bankers and lawyers. The survey asks about their experiences in the M&A market and the deals they were involved in during 2019 on the one hand, and their expectations for 2020 on the other. In order to estimate these expectations correctly, an additional survey was sent out in the second half of March which specifically asked about the expected impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The study was conducted by professor Mathieu Luypaert and researcher Gianni Spolverato of the Centre for Mergers, Acquisitions & Buyouts at Vlerick Business School in collaboration with Bank J.Van Breda & Co., BDO, NautaDutilh and Sowaccess.
    • CSR strategies for (re)gaining legitimacy

      Weber, Florian; Fehre, Kerstin (2020)
      In times when numerous scandals have challenged companies’ social legitimacy, CSR might serve as a legitimacy booster. But which is the most effective CSR strategy for improving legitimacy? This study examines how corporate social responsibility activity (CSRA) and corporate social responsibility communication (CSRC) impact legitimacy. The empirical results indicate that neither CSRA nor CSRC has a standalone effect; nonetheless, CSR is important for legitimacy: A CSR strategy that combines high levels of CSRA with low levels of CSRC emerges as the most effective for (re)gaining legitimacy, while an opposite strategy that combines low levels of CSRA with high levels of CSRC emerges as the worst.
    • Going concern opinions and IPO pricing accuracy

      Matanova, Natalia; Steigner, Tanja; Yi, Bingsheng; Zheng, Qiancheng (Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 2019)
      In a marked shift, it has become relatively more common for ordinary initial public offerings (IPOs) to contain going concern opinions (GCOs) in their offering documents. Examining the implications of such GCOs for IPO investors in a sample of ordinary IPOs from 2001 to 2012, we find that GCOs increase price accuracy by reducing price revisions and underpricing. Further, we show that GCO IPOs with reputable underwriters experience higher price revisions. Our underpricing analysis supports the lawsuit avoidance theory. We also provide novel evidence that the market can distinguish between temporarily constrained GCO IPOs and those with persistent problems that receive a second GCO post-IPO. Overall, this paper contributes to the existing literature by shedding light on whether GCOs contained in IPO prospectuses provide material information and result in better pricing mechanisms.
    • Electric vehicles and DSOs: working towards a joint future?

      Broeckx, Saskia; Ramos, Ariana; Meeus, Leonardo (2020)
      The discussion on the network integration of electric vehicles is reminiscent of that on the integration of intermittent renewables, such as solar and wind energy and other alternative sources, about ten years ago. Whenever radically new technologies gain traction, they may have a significant impact on the existing system. But whereas ten years ago any calls for early impact assessment were met with scepticism, the sector now seems to have learned its lesson. Although demand for electric vehicles is growing, mainstream adoption is still far from being achieved. Nevertheless, DSOs and regulators are already seriously considering the challenges ahead. After all, the mobility landscape may change faster than currently expected and they feel it is better to be prepared than to be caught out. On 12 December 2019, the DSO Chair organised a workshop to discuss challenges and issues related to the demand-side integration of electric vehicles into the electricity distribution network. Prior to the workshop we interviewed key stakeholders and participants, as well as several experts, to gather background information as a basis for discussion. This white paper provides a round-up of the findings and insights as well as suggesting areas for further exploration.
    • De verblinde samenleving - Hebben we echt een catastrofe nodig om vooruitgang te boeken?

      Buelens, Marc (2020)
      Hoe we als maatschappij fundamentele vooruitgang kunnen boeken? Hoe leert een samenleving? En vooral: waarom leren we zo vaak ook de verkeerde dingen? Het zijn vragen die verrassend weinig worden gesteld. Het lijkt wel alsof we altijd eerst een catastrofe nodig hebben voordat we vooruitgang kunnen boeken. In dit boek brengt organisatie-expert Marc Buelens een messcherpe analyse van hoe samenlevingen zichzelf al te vaak in de voet schieten. Hij legt uit hoe de drie trekpaarden van onze maatschappij - wetenschap, economie en politiek - altijd maar lijken door te draven... en hoe ze onze 'luwe' systemen, zoals cultuur, zingeving en solidariteit, op die manier compleet dreigen te vertrappelen. In plaats van de politieke besluitvorming te stroomlijnen, gezondheidscrisissen te managen of de immense uitdagingen inzake ongelijkheid, klimaat en milieu aan te pakken, blijven we in rondjes draaien. Wat kunnen we dan leren opdat het coronadebacle geen generale repetitie voor de klimaatcrisis wordt? Kunnen we onszelf uit het moeras trekken of blijven we blind voor onze catastrofale leerprocessen?
    • Performance and reward management in an agile environment. 10 Key findings based on a qualitative study

      De Ruyck, Bettina; Quataert, Sarah; Vandenbroucke, Astrid; Van Steerthem, Angie; Baeten, Xavier; Dewettinck, Koen (2020)
      Agility is an emerging key dimension of business excellence. Research by Vlerick Business School, surveying the largest for-profit organisations in Belgium, revealed that, for 93% of them, agile ways of working have become more important in the last few years. And the top three terms associated with the concept of agility are: adaptability, speed and customer centricity. Although agility has really taken off, many organisations are still struggling with implementing agile approaches in the area of performance and reward management. An agile way of working is transforming how organisations manage and reward their talent, but only a mere 18% of the largest for-profit organisations in Belgium consider themselves to be agile on performance management and 28% on reward management. How do you approach performance management when you need to evaluate projects that are run by several different leaders and organised around teams? How to align employees’ career aspirations with business needs in a non-hierarchical environment? Can we allow a merit-pay process when talent systems are becoming more team-focused? That’s why our Centre for Excellence in Strategic Talent Management and our Centre for Excellence in Strategic Rewards joined forces for a new study that sheds a light on 8 Belgian and 4 Dutch companies that were either working agilely from the very beginning or changed the tires while driving the car. Based on a qualitative study with the support of our Chair Partner Hudson, the research team identified 10 key findings, each representing a phenomenon, trend or influence currently playing in agile working contexts: A purpose-led approach towards performance & career development From taking up additional roles to role-based job design Career self-management as the main driver for career evolution Questioning the role of supervisors in the performance management process Transparency to enhance trust, ownership and internal fairness Actively identifying and managing poor performance Team members deciding on salary increases and promotions To pay or not to pay for individual performance? It all depends... Customised and on the spot recognition Managing and rewarding agile teams in crisis situations
    • Supply chain planning in the digital age

      Vereecke, Ann (2020)
      With new, digital technologies entering the factories and the supply chain, the role of people in manufacturing and logistics is undeniably changing. Existing tasks are disappearing or changing, new tasks are emerging. Digital technologies can be used to automate certain tasks, yet their full power is in how they can augment and extend the human capabilities of employees. But what about the planning function? How is this function being impacted by the introduction of digital technologies – and, in particular, artificial intelligence – making the planning system more advanced? In collaboration with OMP, partner in our Research Centre for People in the Smart Digitised Supply Chain, Professor Ann Vereecke, and researchers Alejandra Cabos-Rodríguez and Nicholas Vijverman, conducted a series of interviews with decision-makers in multinational manufacturing companies. The insights from those interviews can be found in the report ‘Supply Chain Planning in the Digital Age’. The reports looks into the future of supply chain planning in order to answer two sets of questions: What does the planning system of the future look like for manufacturing companies? Knowing that planning algorithms are becoming more advanced, self-learning and prescriptive, will this have an impact on the different modules of the planning system and on how these modules interact with each other? And what impact will this have on the interaction between the ‘human’ and the ‘machine’ – that is, between the planner and the planning tool? Who is the planner of the future? What will the planner’s responsibility be if algorithms are doing the planning? What skills and competencies does the planner need? Somewhat controversially, one may even wonder whether we will still need a planner in the future.