Steve New is Associate Professor in Operations Management at Saïd Business School and Fellow of Hertford College at the University of Oxford. His areas of expertise include supply chain management and process improvement.
A leading authority on supply chain management, Steve’s interests lie in developing a more rigorous appreciation of how individuals and organisations construct and interpret their environment and the systems in which they operate. His research takes a multi-faceted approach analysing the meaning and interpretation of supply chain partnerships, exploring the way in which ethical and environmental issues are reflected in the chain, and on the impact of the internet and rise of B2B commerce. His current work on the concept of provenance in supply chains was the subject of a recent article, ''The Transparent Supply Chain" in the Harvard Business Review.
Steve is one of the leading scholars investigating the enigma of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and the West’s growing interest in the application of Japanese techniques to manufacturing. His research looks at the nuance and complexity of the so called ‘lean production’ or ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing process, its application to different sectors and how few have managed to emulate Toyota’s model. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the first English language paper describing the TPS, Steve edited a special issue of the International Journal Production Research, bringing together papers from leading scholars who have attempted to understand the approach.
More recently Steve has been investigating the application of the TPS to medical care, working with the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Surgery to explore the process and outcome of TPS-style interventions on patient quality and safety in an acute surgical ward. Papers have been published in the Annals of Surgery, the British Medical Journal and BMJ Quality and Safety.
Steve began his career as an engineer, working for Rolls Royce plc while completing a degree in physics at Southampton University. After working in management consultancy for Collinson Grant, he went to Manchester Business School (MBS) where he completed his doctorate on the use of visual interactive modelling for decision support in manufacturing. This work was sponsored by the Eaton Corporation, for whom New worked while studying. He taught at the Manchester School of Management, UMIST (now merged with MBS) before joining Saïd Business School in 1996.
Steve serves on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, and the Editorial Advisory Board for Supply Chain Management: an International Journal.
Steve’s research addresses process improvement and supply chain management. Within these areas, the focus of his recent work has been the application of the Toyota Production System (TPS) in medical care, and in the development of an underlying theory of provenance within supply chains which provides the foundation for understanding reputation and ethics within supply chains.
Steve’s broader interests include the effectiveness of public sector services, and the social construction of value.
A further strand of work relates to the methodology of operations management, and, in particular, the construction of a critique of the use of structural equation modelling in operations management research.
His research work is informed by extensive consulting and training work for organisations in a wide range of sectors.
Understanding Process Improvement
It is arguable that the (TPS) represents one of the major managerial innovations of the twentieth century. However, aside from the major challenge of understanding the internal logic and human dynamics of the system, there remains the daunting question of why it so difficult to apply outside of Toyota itself; where even firms in the car industry have struggled to match Toyota's success.
Steve’s recent work in this area has included the editing of a special issue of the International Journal of Production Research which celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the first English language paper describing the TPS. This special issue, with an introduction by New, contained papers from a wide range of leading scholars who have attempted to get to grips with the approach.
The other major strand of this work has been to explore the impact of the TPS in medical settings; for this New worked with colleagues in Oxford University's Nuffield Department of Surgery, and in particular with Mr Peter McCulloch and Dr Ken Catchpole of the Quality, Reliability, Safety and Teamwork Unit. Their work has explored the impact of TPS-style interventions on patient safety and they saw improvements of up to 200% in some of the safety critical care processes measured. The initial substantial publication from this work has been published in the top-rated surgical journal, the Annals of Surgery and is forthcoming in the British Medical Journal.
Supply Chains: Reputation, Ethics and CSR
Steve has worked extensively in the area of supply chain management (SCM). His recent work in this area has been associated with two initiatives in the School: in 2006, working with Dr Dana Brown, he helped set up the Oxford-Achilles Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility, which has a particular focus on supply chain-related issues. An article stemming from this work ("The Transparent Supply Chain") was published in the Harvard Business Review in 2010.
Steve is the editor (and contributor to) two books in the field: Understanding Supply Chains (Oxford University Press, 2004, with Roy Westbrook) brought together leading authorities to provide a general survey of the state of research in the field, and to lay a foundation for general theoretical development; Supply Chain Management: Critical Perspectives in Business and Management (Routledge, 2008, Four Volumes) collated major works in SCM and cognate disciplines, framing the collection in a theoretical framework of operational, relational and functional integration.
Steve works extensively with a wide range of organisations, and this work takes three main forms.
Consultancy, advice and training
As a consultant, advisor and trainer, Steve has worked with a diverse group of organisations ranging from government departments and other public sector bodies, to large charities and small hi-tech start-ups. In particular, for many years he has collaborated with colleagues at Oxford in supporting the work of the UK’s National Audit Office.
Research and student projects
Steve’s research focuses on projects which deal with the detail of organisations’ operations and he has worked extensively with organisations ranging from the UK’s National Health Service to a variety of firms in the retailing and manufacturing sectors. He also engages with a wide range of organisations in the supervision of student projects; these include projects undertaken by Oxford MBA, EMBA, Diploma and MEng students.
Steve is a regular speaker at industry conferences and seminars. In the past, these have included the Annual Conference of the European Power Transmission Distribution Association, the Sustainable Luxury Forum, CIPFA Performance Improvement Network, and the Procurement and Commissioning Forum of the Institute of Public Finance.
Steve won the Fellowship of the Operations Management Association (UK) 1993-4 for his work in Purchasing and Supply.
Steve’s teaching draws on his extensive industrial, consulting and research experience and fosters critical engagement with the field of operations management. The courses he teaches are:
MBA Core Course in Operations Management
Teaching alongside Professor David Upton, New teaches the Operations Management core course on the MBA programme. The course is heavily case-based, and explores key operations ideas in both the manufacturing and service sectors. While laying the basic conceptual and technical foundations of operations, the course also encourages a critical engagement with the key ideas in the field, drawing on Steve’s extensive industrial, consulting and research experience. The course also makes use of the Discovery production simulation, in which students work together to uncover some essential insights into the nature of process management and process improvement.
MBA/EMBA Elective Course in Corporate Turnaround and Business Transformation
Together with Professor Alastair Nicholson, Steve teaches an elective course for the MBA and Executive MBA which focuses on the challenges of organisations in trouble. The course takes a multi-disciplinary approach, with an operations emphasis, and examines how organisations get into difficulty, and how managers, investors and consultants can engage in efforts to reverse decline. The course is distinctive in that it employs a rich mixture of traditional case teaching, video-driven cases, and the use of electronically-assisted classroom interaction, and ‘in tray’ experiential cases – in which students, under time pressure, have to make sense of an unfolding story. This course is designed to complement other electives such as Managing Strategic Change, Private Equity, and Mergers and Acquisitions.
Undergraduate Course in General Management (MEng in Economics, Management and Engineering; BA in Economics and Management)
Steve provides tutorial teaching for Hertford College for the first year General Management paper, in which students following Economics and Management and Engineering, Economics and Management are exposed to the main academic strands of Management Studies. Topics covered include management history, strategy, organisational behaviour, operations and technology management and marketing.
MSc in Surgical Sciences and Practice
Steve teaches a course on Quality Improvement Science and Systems Analysis on this master’s programme for practising surgeons, coordinated by Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education and the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences. For more information, click here.
Steve teaches Operations Management, Process Improvement and Financial Operations Management on a range of Executive Education Programmes at the School, both on open and custom programmes.
Saïd Business School
University of Oxford
Park End Street