Skip to content
Professor Stephen Disney

Professor Stephen Disney

Professor of Operations Management

Cardiff Business School

+44 (0)29 2087 6310
S07, Aberconway Building, Colum Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3EU
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision

Professor Disney teaches Operations Management, Operations Analytics and Lean Operations to MSc and Executive MBA students at Cardiff Business School.

He recently spent 12 months on Research Leave at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Disney has previously held Visiting Positions at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Boston University. He has extensive experience of teaching in-class, on-line and on-site to both Postgraduate and Executive audiences.

Professor Disney's current research interests involve the application of control theory and statistical techniques to operations management and supply chain scenarios to investigate their dynamic and economic performance. Stephen has a particular interest in the bullwhip effect, forecasting and inventory management.

Stephen has advised several of the world's largest corporations on the bullwhip effect and his research has influenced the material flow of at least 1 in every 7 pounds of UK retail sales. He has worked with many companies in the UK, US and Europe and on supply chains that operate globally.


  • PhD entitled "The production and inventory control problem in Vendor Managed Inventory supply chains", Cardiff University.
  • MSc in Systems Engineering, Cardiff University.
  • BEng in Manufacturing Systems and Manufacturing Management, Cardiff University.

Editorial work

Associate Editor for the:

  • IMA Journal of Management Mathematics

Member of the Editorial Board of the:

  • Journal of Business Logistics
  • European Journal of Operational Research
  • International Journal of Production Economics
  • International Journal of Applied Management Sciences

Honours and awards

  • Our paper Rostami-Tabar, B. and Disney, S.M., “The bullwhip effect under count time series: The case of first order integer auto-regressive demand processes”, won the Best Track Paper at the International Symposium on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management, Bristol, UK, July 24th – 25th in 2017.
  • My project with Lexmark was recognised with a prize in the Supply Chain Leadership category of Frost and Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Awards in 2014.
  • The Production Planning and Control Journal “Best Paper Award for 2008” was given to Boute R.N., Disney, S.M., Lambrecht, M.R. and Van Houdt, B., (2008), “A win-win solution for the bullwhip problem”, Production Planning and Control, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp702 – 711.
  • Emerald Publishing gave a “Citation of Excellence” Award for one of the best 50 Management Papers in 2005. Over 40,000 articles were reviewed from 1500 journals. The award was given for the paper Holweg, H., Disney, S.M., Holmström, J. and Småros, J., (2005), “Supply chain collaboration: Making sense of the strategy continuum”, European Management Journal, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp170-181, ISSN 0263-2373. In Jan 2015, this paper was ranked 79th in the Top 100 downloaded articles in the Life Sciences and Social Sciences by UK-based academics since 2005 by ScienceDirect. It had been download over 19,000 times
  • I was a finalist for the UK’s Operations Research Society’s Presidents Medal in September 2007. This medal is awarded for a practical application of OR techniques to industry.  My work at Tesco was considered.
  • The Literate Club gave a “Highly Commended” Award for the paper Towill, D.R., Childerhouse, P. and Disney, S.M., (2000), "Speeding up the progress curve towards effective supply chain management", Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp122-130, ISSN 1359-8546.

Professional memberships

  • Committee Member of the South Wales Operational Research Discussion Society (SWORDS).
  • Member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

Speaking engagements

  • Research Seminar entitled “Three means of smoothing under cyclical production planning”, Faculty of Economics and Business, KU Leuven, Belgium, June 2017.
  • Invited Speech entitled “The dynamic behaviour of supply chains: the bullwhip effect” at The Public Uni, Cardiff, Feb 2017.
  • Invited Speech entitled “The bullwhip effect in supply chains”, at the Risk, resilience and robustness of dynamic supply networks: Bridging mathematical models and practice annual conference, Edinburgh, Jan 2017.
  • Plenary Speech entitled “The bullwhip effect in supply chains”, at Stochmod: The EURO Working Group on Stochastic Modelling, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, July 2016.
  • Seminar on stochastic lead-times and inventory management, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, April 2016.
  • Seminar on the bullwhip problem and stochastic lead times, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, March 2016.
  • Seminar on the bullwhip effect, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, January 2016.
  • Seminar on the bullwhip problem and stochastic lead times, Anderson School of Business,  University of California Los Angeles, October 2015.
  • Supply Chain Management lectures for the NATCOR Stochastic Modelling course, Lancaster University, March 2015.
  • Seminar on “Solving the bullwhip problem once and for all” to Said Business School, Oxford University, January 2015.
  • Christmas Lecture on Supply Chain Dynamics to the South Wales Operational Research Discussion Group (SWORDS), Cardiff University, December 2014.
  • Seminar to the Logistics and Supply Chain Forum run by Richmond Events, Whittlebury Hall, UK, March 2014.
We are currently unable to retrieve the list of publications. Visit our institutional repository.

Teaching duties

  • BST135 Operations Management on the MSc Logistics and Operations Management.
  • BST514 Operations Analysis on the MSc Logistics and Operations Management.
  • BST332 Project Management on the MSc Logistics and Operations Management.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Stephen is currently supervising PhD student Adel Alamri.

Current projects

  • 2017-2019. “Enhancing supply chain flexibility”, Yeo Valley Farms, Co-investigator, Industry funded.

Recent projects

  • 2015-2016. "Research Leave Fellowship Scheme", funded by Cardiff University Executive Broad.
  • 2015. “Opportunities for operational improvement at Aberthaw Power Station”, Principal Investigator, funded by the Strategic Insight Programme.
  • 2013-2015.“To design, develop, and implement business and manufacturing systems which are capable of supporting the full-service business models of manufacturing SME’s”, Lead Academic, KTP with Reid Lifting Limited.
  • 2011. “Supply Chain Business”, Lexmark, Principle Investigator, Industry funded.

Research interests

In broad terms, I am interested in the dynamic, stochastic and economic performance of supply chains.  In keywords, I am interested in:

  • Bullwhip effect
  • Inventory management
  • Forecasting

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Bullwhip effect
  • Supply chain dynamics
  • Production planning and inventory control
  • Forecasting
  • Global dual sourcing

Past projects

  • Second-supervisor for Nicole Ayiomamitou - Improving forecasting capabilities in the 3PL Industry (awarded 2017)
  • First-supervisor for Carl Philip Hedenstierna - Staggered deliveries in production and inventory control (awarded 2016)
  • First-supervisor for Qin Li - A systems dynamics perspective of forecasting in supply chains (awarded 2015)
  • Second-supervisor for Virginia Marques - Designing supply chains resilient to non-linear system dynamics (awarded 2014)
  • First-supervisor for Pairach Piboonrungroj - Supply chain collaboration: Impacts and mediation on firm performance (awarded 2013)
  • First-supervisor for Po-Ngarm Ratanachote - Distribution network dynamics with correlated demands (awarded 2011)
  • Second-supervisor for Jon Gosling - Flexibility strategies for engineer-to-order construction supply chains (awarded 2011)
  • First-supervisor for Ben Worrel - Design, development, implementation, and evaluation of a total productive maintenance system on a toroidal core manufacturing line (awarded 2011)
  • Second-supervisor for Vinaya Shakla - Rogue seasonality detection in supply chains (awarded 2010)
  • First-supervisor for Noorfa Hazlinna Mustaffa - Integrating inventory and transport optimization in multi-retailer supply chains (awarded 2009)
  • Third-supervisor for Ralph Barker - Waste assessment and application of improvement techniques in UK private house building supply chains (awarded 2006)
  • Thrid-supervisor for Andrew Potter - The impact of supply chain dynamics on transport (awarded 2005)
  • First-supervisor for Taka Hosoda - The principles governing the dynamics of supply chains (awarded 2005)
  • Third supervisor for Gilbert Aryee - The impact of technology and organizational maturity on supply chain integration performance: A UK perspective (awarded 2005).