Professor Nicholas Rich
Professor in Operations Management
Telephone: (01792) 606317
Room: Office 331 - 331
Third Floor
School of Management
Bay Campus

Nick is a socio-technical systems researcher, meaning he has an interest in how people and technology work together to generate high performance organisations and highly reliable organisations. Nick is a renowned academic, a polymath, and his interests cover healthcare systems reliability and high performance manufacturing and service operations.

His career started at Cardiff and his work was some of the most influential in terms of the development and dissemination of lean systems (Lean Enterprise Research Centre). He was trained in Japan by the Toyota Motor Corporation and holds one of the Elite IIES Toyota Fellowships. Working with his mentor Professor Dan Jones, Nick expanded his research into food retailing and production (Tesco, Unilever) and manufacturing. During this time, he accumulated over £4mn of EPSRC funding and an Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre (£3,5mn to study nanotechnology and lean business systems). Nick’s interest in lean socio-technical systems and his passion for robust engineering maintenance (TPM) has won him many awards and accolades (Innovation Prizes, and Shingo Examiner status). He took time out of the university system to work on a turnaround of a cosmetics company and having achieved that goal he returned to academia. Luck led Nick to the NHS when an anaesthetist called one day and asked if Nick’s engineering and human factors knowledge could be applied to surgery and theatres for patient flow. World healthcare research now dominates 70% of his research and almost 100% of his PhD students.

Whilst at Warwick Medical School, under Professor Mathew Cooke, Nick developed more of his human factors interests whilst funded by The Health Foundation to research safer clinical systems. This opened up pathways of socio-technical systems to explore. In 2011-12, Nick went to The Royal Mint to be the Chief Engineer of the 2012 Olympic medals.

Areas of Expertise

  • Patient Safety and Safer Clinical Systems
  • Lean and Highly Reliable Organisations
  • Total Productive Maintenance
  • Total Quality Management
  • Supply Chain Management


  1. Kapletia, D., Phillips, W., Medcalf, N., Makatsoris, H., McMahon, C., Rich, N., Rich, N. Redistributed manufacturing – challenges for operations management Production Planning & Control 30 7 493 495
  2. Rich, N. The Big Picture Exemplar Cohort 3 Evaluation Swansea
  3. Rich, N. Evaluation of the Bevan Innovators Exemplar Programme Cohort One 2017
  4. Rich, N. Innovation in the NHS takes time – but it’s worth the wait Swansea

See more...


  • MN-3023 Lean Operations

    This module provides a practically focused course on lean (Japanese) approaches to operations management.

  • MN-3521 International Standards

    This module provides an overview to the background, development and rationale for international (quality) standards systems. In addition to the lecture course, students will undertake a range of case study exercises and practical implementation workshops.

  • PMEM105 Medical Manufacturing

    This module will explore the opportunity, challenges and routes to market for innovations in medical manufacturing. It will introduce and review the strategic approach for identifying investment, in-depth research and clinical trials associated with manufacturing innovative devices and products for the life science and healthcare markets.


  • The Economics of Aircraft Life (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Gareth Davies
    Other supervisor: Dr Daniele Doneddu
    Other supervisor: Dr Roderick Thomas
  • Improvement capability of the Ministry of Health hospitals in Saudi Arabia: An investigation into the influencing factors for readiness and sustainability of improvement initiatives «br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr David Rea
    Other supervisor: Prof Sharon Williams
  • What is the impact of triaging for memory problems in Primary Care for service users and professionals? (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Jeanette Hewitt
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrea Tales
  • South African Multinational Companies HRM Systems and Practices at the Subsidiary Level: Insights from Subsidies in Nigeria. (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Yaw Debrah
  • Enhancing Patient-care and safety ,“How do organisations support or inhibit high reliability healthcare processes?” (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Yujie Cai
  • An analysis of the leadership and innovation practices of growth and fast growth SMEs (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Marc Clement
    Other supervisor: Dr Simon Brooks
  • Accounting Conservatism and differences in corporate approaches (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Barron
  • Public Service Decision Making Approaches and Determinants during the Fourth Industrial Revolution (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Mike Sullivan
  • 'Development of Knowledge Economy Framework in the Life Science Sector in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Dr Daniele Doneddu
    Other supervisor: Prof Marc Clement
  • 'The Promotion of Chinese Herbal Supplement Products in the UK Market' (awarded 2018)

    Other supervisor: Dr Zhidao Xia
    Other supervisor: Dr Bin Chen
    Other supervisor: Prof Marc Clement
  • 'Performance Management in Healthcare Organisations: A Zambian Case Study' (awarded 2017)

    Other supervisor: Dr Jocelyn Finniear