Ken McKay

Ken McKay
Location: CPH 4354


Ken McKay is a Management Sciences Professor and the Department Teaching and Undergraduate Liaison Officer at the University of Waterloo.
His major areas of work involve interdisciplinary research integrating operations management, information systems, and human judgment used in decision making.
Dr. McKay places an emphasis on the development of adaptive control heuristics for production control. He uses concepts from information and control theory, development of models and methods addressing dynamic problems of production control in lean supply chains, and the use of ethnographic research methodology. He aims to understand the dynamics of the real world situation, developing methodologies for incorporating field-driven heuristics in mathematical formulations, and how to develop information systems that support real world tasks in rapidly changing situations that require human judgment.
Another research interest of Dr. McKay’s involves the creation of a framework/model that senses and reacts to threats or signals in information networks used for medical, financial, and manufacturing purposes. Software engineering interests are also pursued in the design of user interfaces for task oriented processes, context sensitive decision support systems (e.g., factory scheduling), and software project management.
In addition to his research work, Dr. McKay is the co-author of “Practical Production Control: A Survival Guide for Planners and Schedulers”, "Manufacturing Excellence: Renewal and Rebirth", "Out of the Ordinary: Finding Hidden Threats by Analyzing Unusual Behavior", and author of "Innovative Software Development". Strategic management of technological innovation has also a major topic for Dr. McKay, in research and in practice. For Spring 2024, Dr. McKay is developing a new version of the Strategic Management of Technological Innovation course (602) for the online Management of Technology MMSc program, with a theme of improving the odds when innovating, improving the decision making associated with innovating.

Research Interests

  • Planning and Scheduling, Risk Management Heuristics, Decision Support Systems, Inventory Management, Adaptive Heuristics, Supply Chain Management, Production Planning and Management, Dynamic Problem Solving, Software Project Management, Data Analytics Research

Scholarly Research

Operations Management and Information Systems

Industrial Research

Operations Management and Information Systems


  • 1992, Doctorate Management Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 1987, Master's Management Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada
  • 1978, Bachelor's Mathematics, University of Waterloo, Canada


  • 1987 Alumni Gold Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Masters Program
  • 1987 Award for Outstanding
  • Master of Applied Science Degree
  • 1994 Dean's Award For Research
  • 2002 Graduating Class of 2002
  • Professor of the Year in Information Systems Specialization


  • MSCI 100 - Management Engineering Concepts
    • Taught in 2019, 2020
  • MSCI 200B - Seminar
    • Taught in 2019
  • MSCI 401 - Management Engineering Design Project 1
    • Taught in 2019
  • MSCI 551 - Quality Management and Control
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021
  • MSCI 602 - Strategic Management of Technological Innovation
    • Taught in 2024

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Graduate studies

  • Not currently accepting applications for graduate students