Business Processes, Logistics and Information Systems


With the Netherlands serving as a crucial logistical hub for Europe, it is natural to expect that ERIM should be at the forefront in the field of Business Process, Logistics and Information Systems (LIS) research.

ERIM’s LIS programme represents a coherent network of researchers from both the Erasmus School of Economics and Rotterdam School of Management. Cooperation between researchers and departments is stimulated by involvement in research projects and in developing research papers. Focusing on innovation and optimisation in the areas of business operations, next generation information systems, logistics and supply chain management, ERIM’s LIS programme contributes significantly to both management research and management practice.

Excellence in research

Meaningful impact is integral to the LIS programme at ERIM. Our excellence in this regard means we play prominent roles in national and international research agendas. As examples:

  • ERIM’s warehouse operations research leads the world of management science. Exemplifying this, ERIM members sit on the International Material Handling Research Colloquium planning committee and the College-Industry Council of the Material Handling Industry.
  • ERIM is a global leader in passenger railway transport research and has received many international accolades for its work including the prestigious Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
  • ERIM is a leader in the field of standardisation and intellectual property rights, as it is in the areas of innovation, and the management of innovation.

The LIS research programme applies both quantitative modelling (simulation, mathematical modelling) and empirical research (survey, behavioural experiment, case study, action research). Methodological rigour is combined with practical relevance.

The research programme is organised around three themes, each focusing on a specific research field within the broad sphere of supply chain management. As ERIM’s approach is problem-oriented, researchers by necessity interact with each other and typically contribute to multiple research fields using a variety of research methodologies.

Research within the LIS programme is organised into three specialist themes:

Logistics and Supply Chain Optimisation

Addressing design, management, optimisation, co-ordination, and planning issues in supply chains and networks, this broad field applies analytical and empirical research methods to a wide array of logistics optimisation and planning problems.

Operations and Innovation Management

Areas of focus include product and service innovation, purchasing and sourcing, manufacturing, outsourcing, distribution, behavioural operations management, and intra-organisational collaboration. Also included is research into the radical innovation of supply chains.

Next Generation Information Systems

Inter-organisational information exchange between different firms in supply chains and its impact on decision-making and performance is a primary research focus as is exploring the opportunities of new information technology concepts such as cloud computing, semantic web technology and business analytics.

Societal relevance and impact

Paramount to all of ERIM’s research endeavours is societal relevance and impact. Research carried out by LIS faculty members fulfils these essential criteria by informing and guiding academia through peer-reviewed journals and knowledge transfer. At the same time, practitioner organisations worldwide benefit from the latest management science insights that are designed to help them towards innovations in effective business operations and next generation information systems, and greater efficiencies in logistics and supply chain management systems.

Emphasising this proactive approach, ERIM researchers pioneered the study of reverse logistics and closed-loop supply chains, and they lead the way in the theoretical and practical development of the circular economy concept. ERIM was also among the first management science institutes to explore and propound Operations Research models for container terminals. We continue to trail blaze with substantial research activities in the area of port operations and through our involvement in the Smart Port programme. Additionally, we established the national agenda for service logistics research and set up the Service Logistics Forum, a highly influential industry platform that attracts substantial sponsorship.

Driven by the desire to find solutions to concrete business problems and working directly with organisations to advance in-company innovation, industry-focused research is conducted through a number of centres of expertise. These bring practitioners and faculty members from multiple disciplines together in a stimulating and collaborative environment where research is focused on problem solving and innovation development.

As an example, the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business is working collaboratively to enable the robust, intelligent, efficient, and sustainable energy networks of the future. In doing so, the centre brings together energy practitioners, policy makers, and researchers from economics, computer science, behavioural, and management sciences. Collectively they will guide and shape the transformation of the energy sector.

Research Initiatives LIS


At ERIM we understand that creating a positive and collaborative work environment where researchers share common goals and identify with the need for the highest academic standards is essential.