Kenneth McKay


Contact InformationKenneth McKay

Phone: 519-888-4567 x35585
Location: CPH 4354

Biography Summary

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”.

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


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


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

Selected/Recent Publications

  • McKay, Kenneth and van Wezel, Wout and Wäfler, Anton, Expertise in Organizational Planning: Impact on Performance., The Psychology of Planning in Organizations, 2015
  • McKay, Kenneth N and van Wezel, Wout and Waefler, Toni, EXPERTISE IN ORGANIZATIONAL PLANNING, The Psychology of Planning in Organizations: Research and Applications, 2015
  • van Wezel, Wout and McKay, Kenneth and Wäfler, Anton, Outflanking undecided, ever-changing puzzles: The role of the human behavior in scheduling., The handbook of behavioral operations management., 2015
  • McKay, KN and Buzacott, JA and Safayeni, FR, THE SCHEDULER'S INFORMATION SYSTEM: WHAT IS GOING ON? INSIGHTS FOR, Information Control Problems in Manufacturing Technology 1989: Selected papers from the 6th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IMACS Symposium, Madrid, Spain, 26-29 September 1989, 13, 2014
  • Kurano, Takako and McKay, Kenneth N and Black, Gary W, Proactive inventory policy intervention to mitigate risk within cooperative supply chains, International Journal of Industrial Engineering Computations, 5(2), 2014
  • McKay, Kenneth N, Adaptive Production Control in, Modeling Manufacturing Systems: From Aggregate Planning to Real-Time Control, 2013
  • Wang, Biao and McKay, Kenneth and Jewer, Jennifer and Sharma, Ashok, Physician shift behavior and its impact on service performances in an emergency department, 2013 Winter Simulations Conference (WSC), January 2013, 2350 - 2361
  • McKay, Kenneth N and Engels, Jennifer E and Jain, Sahil and Chudleigh, Lydia and Shilton, Don and Sharma, Ashok, Emergency Departments:“Repairs While You Wait, No Appointment Necessary”, Handbook of Healthcare Operations Management, , 385 manuscript pages
  • McKay, Kenneth N, Field-based research on production control, Planning Production and Inventories in the Extended Enterprise, , 232 manuscript pages
  • McKay, Kenneth N, The Historical Foundations of Manufacturing Planning and Control Systems, Planning Production and Inventories in the Extended Enterprise, , 31 manuscript pages

Graduate Studies

  • Not currently accepting applications for graduate students