Project Leader: Ivan Png (

Benchmarking has been widely promoted as an essential management strategy for improving performance. However, there appears to be little theoretical guidance as to how it would affect business performance and almost no empirical evidence. In this project, we investigate the conditions under which benchmarking will improve business performance. A theoretical arm of this project compares the effect of performance vis-à-vis practice benchmarking, and the moderating effect of the size of the comparison group. The theoretical propositions will be tested in a laboratory experiment. Another theoretical arm of this project compares the effect of combined performance and practice benchmarking vis-à-vis performance and practice benchmarking separately. The theoretical propositions will be tested in randomized controlled trials in the field and laboratory experiments.

Cost-effective Service Excellence

Project Leader: Jochen Wirtz (

This project explores three strategic pathways towards cost-effective service excellence (CESE). CESE is defined as achieving low unit costs (i.e., high productivity) while at the same time delivering service quality (i.e., service excellence) at an industry-leading level. The three pathways are the dual culture strategy, the operations management approach, and the focused service factory strategy. The emerging framework aims to help academics and managers alike to better understand the basic strategies and trade-offs involved in pursuing a strategy of cost-effective service excellence. For work on CESE already published, see:

Federated lockers

Project Leader: Teo Chung Piaw (

This Project studies last mile parcel delivery service using the Singapore federated locker system. This proposed network of parcel lockers aim to reduce the cost to logistic companies. We have developed a predictive model to capture the appeal of locker pick-up option to consumers. A locker network design model is also developed to maximize the utilization of the locker system, after accounting for demand endogeneity. In the future, we will investigate the impact of the Federated Locker System on the performance of last mile delivery companies, Singapore E-commerce scene, and impact on environment.

Managing Taxi Services

Project Leader: Chu Junhong (

The taxi industry is one that is being transformed by information and communications technology. The entry of ride hailing companies like Uber, Grab and Didi has forced traditional taxi businesses to innovate. This project studies various aspects of taxi services in Singapore – driver and rider behaviour, interactions between drivers and riders, and the taxi company’s response to challenges. Particular issues are the effect of flat fare pricing on driver behaviour, how uncertainty and risk aversion affect riders and drivers, and how rider cancellations affect drivers. The project is also developing algorithms and systems to more efficiently position taxis.

Patient flow management

Project Leader: He Shuangchi (

Hospital crowding has been a worldwide crisis of healthcare delivery, compromising the quality of and access to medical care. Numerous studies have revealed an association between crowding and increased morbidity and mortality. In Singapore, the demand for healthcare services is rapidly growing due to the ageing population. The healthcare system has been stretched and overloaded. In this line of research, we apply operations research methods to enhance the performance of the healthcare service delivery system. In particular, we focus on data-driven approaches to patient flow management in various departments of hospitals, such as patient scheduling in emergency departments, inpatient bed assignment in hospital wards, and surgical procedure scheduling for operating rooms.


Project Leaders: Chong Juin Kuan ( and Leonard Lee (

In Singapore, the national effort to increase productivity has focused mainly on the supply side. However, there is substantial scope to raise productivity on the demand side, particularly through self-service. Self-service technologies include automated teller machines, self-service checkout at supermarkets, and automated telephone systems such as phone banking, automated hotel checkout, self-service ticketing machines and hospital registrations, and internet and app-based services. In this project, we seek to understand the underlying reasons that may account for consumers’ resistance to using self-service technologies. In particular, consumers may feel that there is insufficient reason or benefit to using these technologies (low motivation), or that these technologies are too difficult to navigate such that consumers would rather adhere to their habits of using alternative solutions, such as human checkout in supermarkets (high adoption barriers). With an improved understanding of these underlying reasons, we aim to design effective interventions to increase the adoption of self-checkout technologies.