Center for Supply Networks and Analytics

Excellence in research and education in supply chain management and business analytics.

Delivery person working with boxes outside a vanThe Center for Supply Networks and Analytics is a newly formed center of excellence dedicated to research and education in the fields of supply chain management and business analytics. The mission of the Center is to be a leading source of knowledge creation and dissemination in supply chain and analytics.

The Center’s research activities and agenda seek to enhance the body of knowledge related to all major facets of supply chain management and business analytics. These activities culminate in insights targeted at both academic and managerial audiences. The Center will become a premier destination for expertise, in particular for the technology-intensive and advanced manufacturing firms that are central to the ambitions of Rensselaer.


The Center supports the educational Master of Science programs in Business Analytics and in Supply Chain Management at Rensselaer.


The Center works in conjunction with faculty members from various academic areas to conduct research in areas such as:

  • Operations and supply chain strategy
  • Agile supply networks
  • Governance of supply networks
  • Performance optimization through analytics
  • Global sourcing
  • Supply network resilience
  • Analytics readiness and maturity assessment
  • Social media analytics


T. Ravichandran
Associate Dean of Research, Irene and Robert ’55 Bozzone Distinguished Professor, Director of the Center for Supply Networks and Analytics

M. Hakan Hekimoglu
Assistant Professor, Supply Chain Management and Business Analytics, Lally School of Management

Jason Kuruzovich
Director of the Ph.D. Program, Academic Director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, Associate Professor, Lally School of Management

Nishtha Langer
Associate Professor, Business Analytics, Lally School of Management

Chris McDermott
Professor, Operations Management and Healthcare Management, Lally School of Management

Dorit Nevo
Professor, Academic Director of M.S. Business Analytics Program, Lally School of Management; Acting Dean, Rensselaer Office of Graduate Education

Jennifer Pazour
Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer School of Engineering

Thomas C. Sharkey
Associate Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer School of Engineering

Wei Xie
Assistant Professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer School of Engineering


Past Seminars

November 20, 2019 - “Enabling Supplier Choice in On-Demand Systems” - Watch the Video
Speaker: Jennifer Pazour, Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Abstract: On-demand platforms, exemplified by companies like Uber and Lyft, are a disruptive business model. Requests (e.g., a ride, a delivery) are fulfilled by matching independent suppliers (e.g., freelance logistics providers) with demand requests. Current centralized approaches to platform design excel at meeting demand commitments but limit supplier autonomy. Decentralized approaches provide supplier autonomy, but sacrifice systematic performance and are time-consuming. This research proposes a new hierarchical approach, recasting the platform's role as one providing personalized recommendations (i.e., a menu of multiple requests) to suppliers. Supplier choice can increase participation (capacity) and resource utilization when request fulfillment is combined with suppliers' original planned tasks. However, supplier choice also makes task allocation more complicated, requiring new methods to determine which requests and how many to recommend, as well as strategies to mitigate outcomes of supplier choice (e.g., rejections, duplicate selections). We consider how to design and operate a platform that first must decide how multiple, simultaneous recommendations are made. Then, suppliers have the autonomy to select requests (if any) from the personalized recommendations. This results in some requests not being selected and others with duplicate selections. The platform determines recourse actions for these requests, which may be fulfilling rejected requests using platform resources or recommending them to another supplier. To guide design questions and quantify the impact of supplier choice on platform efficiency, effectiveness, and equity, we create a bi-level optimization framework. These models are novel as they capture the interdependent outcomes of supplier selections. Able to solve large problems reasonably quickly, we use this framework to answer the open research question: when is supplier choice beneficial? Applications of this approach to crowdsourced delivery, ride-sharing, and on-demand volunteer platforms are explored.


September 18, 2019 - "Smart Manufacturing Enabled Connected Supply Chain" - Watch the Video
Speaker: Michelle Pastel, Sr. Manager, Industry 4.0
Abstract: Smart Manufacturing provides real-time insights and decision making through the integration of advanced sensing, process controls, modeling, analytics, and computing platforms to speed up development, improve product and process performance, and lower cost within a plant, plant to plant, and across the supply chain. Digitally connected supply chains expand the set of data that can be used to achieve new performance improvements and expand the definition of supply chain management. This talk will share how a data-centric open platform can provide deep insights for a business and its ecosystem while outlining some of the change management necessary to achieve a new level of business performance and new value streams.


April 26, 2019 - Industry Speaker Session "What is Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 and how will they affect the Supply Chain?" and Capstone Project Poster Presentations - Watch the Video
Speaker: Jim Wetzel, Strategic Advisor, Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute
Abstract: This presentation and discussion will review how the concepts of Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing were created and how Smart Manufacturing grew into a Manufacturing USA National Innovation Institute. Numerous case studies will be reviewed highlighting how the principles/technologies add value and can dramatically impact the overall Supply Chain. These examples come from fortune 500 companies that are early adopters of the Smart Manufacturing technology and culture. Topics that will be discussed include designing a demand-driven Supply Chain, the connected Supply Chain, and data-driven decision making. In addition, an update on the progress of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be reviewed.


March 27, 2019 - "What if the Supply Chain was Reimagined for Today!" - Watch the Video
Speaker: Sasha Pailet Koff, Sr. Director of Supply Chain Digital Strategy & Innovation, Johnson & Johnson
Abstract: This talk will provide insights into what matters most, the expectations of the customer, where digital capabilities are driving transformational wins, and key lessons learned by supply chain leaders as they bring their respective companies along the digital journey. Drawing from J&J’s digital transformation efforts, the talk will highlight how to drive value through digital transformation.


December 5, 2018 - "Blockchain Anchored Supply Chain Automation" - Watch the Video
Speaker: Chandra Narayanaswami, Ph.D., Principal Research Staff Member, IBM TJ Watson Research Center
Abstract: Increasing globalization, eCommerce usage, and social awareness is leading to consumers demanding variety, value, convenience, immediacy, verifiable authenticity and provenance, ethical materials sourcing and manufacturing, regulatory compliance, and services after-sales. Fulfilling this increased complexity of consumer demand has required, supply chains to evolve into multi-enterprise networks with numerous flow paths in production, merchandising, and fulfillment involving many organizational/institutional handoffs, to effectively manage a large number of complex products with shorter life cycles and high transaction volumes. In this talk, Dr. Chandra Narayanaswami will use the above lens to describe why Blockchains are fundamentally changing the landscape of transactions, through examples in food safety and provenance, ocean freight logistics, maintenance and repair operations, asset management and tracking, and financial settlements.


October 31, 2018 - "Water water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!": Applying Supply Chain and Data Analytics Teachings in Business Applications Watch the Video
Speaker: Paul Testa, Head of Global Supply Chain, Shire
Abstract: Supply Chains are complex processes that can span multiple geographies, companies, organizations, and industries. They are now expected to achieve higher levels of performance than ever before. Business (Supply Chain) data is more plentiful now than ever before. This data can allow Supply Chain leaders to master the complexities and expectations of today while anticipating the needs of tomorrow. Unfortunately, the data alone is not enough! What we need is INFORMATION! Without Business Analytics, we drown in our data instead of floating on our streams of life-supporting information! In “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge describes a situation of too much of the wrong kind of water that is similar to many Supply Chain professionals today. During this presentation, Paul Testa shared his practical learnings regarding Supply Chain data, analytics, information, and merger/acquisition integrations.


September 19, 2018 - "The Digital Supply Chain" - Watch the Video
Speaker: Stephen Meyer, Research Director, Supply Chain, Gartner Inc.
Abstract: What does the term "digital supply chain" mean for manufacturing companies? Using Gartner's digital supply chain maturity model as a backdrop, examples of digital supply chains in practice today will be shared, along with how companies are leveraging digital technology to make their supply chains faster, more efficient, and more aligned to the needs of their customers. Gartner survey data will be shared to show where supply chains are making their investments in new technology and the benefits they expect to reap.


May 3, 2018 - Industry Panel Session: "Transforming Business with Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Challenges" - Watch the Video
PanelistsGraham Giller, Head of Primary Research, Deutsche Bank; Yuri Malitsky, Data Scientist, Morgan Stanley; Rick Tacelli, VP Customer Development, Empirical Systems
Summary: Digitization and artificial intelligence are transforming businesses in very fundamental ways. Disruption from AI is already here, but many managers are not clear how to harness AI and how it might impact their organizations and industries. Creating effective strategies to harness the many opportunities offered by AI is critical for business executives. This panel discussion will feature executives who are at the forefront of deploying and using AI successfully in their organizations. Panelists share their experience in deriving business value from AI, managing the organizational change brought upon by AI, and overcoming key challenges on their way to success.


February 28, 2018 - "1>2 in Global Supply Chains" - Watch the Video
Speaker: Burak Kazaz, Steven R. Becker Professor of Supply Chain Management, Syracuse University
Summary: Global firms typically manufacture to cover the global demand based on their aggregate production plan after receiving demand projections from all markets. One of the consequences of matching demand with manufacturing is that these plans generally ignore the impact of economic fluctuations such as the exchange-rate movements. Consolidated profits for global firms are significantly influenced by fluctuations in exchange rates, and there is an opportunity to incorporate exchange-rate uncertainty into global production planning. This study presents an operational hedging mechanism based on manufacturing less than the total global demand, termed as “production hedging.”


September 27, 2017 - “Insights on Affordability: Engineering and Supply Chain Partnerships”
Speaker: Arianna Kalian, P.E., Director of Value Engineering at Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company
Summary: Building a culture of affordability among key stakeholders in engineering, supply chain, and suppliers is important given the extent of outsourcing that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) have done in past years. This session will discuss value engineering best practices, the skills and capabilities that engineers at OEMs need to be successful, and a question and answer session.


April 27, 2017 - Industry Panel Session: "Making Analytics Work: Experiences From the Field" and Capstone Project Poster Presentations - Watch the Video
Summary: This event is hosted by the Center for Supply Networks and Analytics at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Attendees learned from executives with broad experience in analytics in multiple industries on issues and challenges faced by firms as they adapt to technological shifts. The event will include a panel discussion and Rensselaer supply chain and business analytics capstone project poster presentations.


March 29, 2017- “Data Ownership and Transparent Surveillance Across Digital Supply Chain Networks" - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Peter Vanderminden ’78, Senior Industry Analyst of IoT and Digital Supply Chain, Flatiron Strategies
Summary: The utilization of digital supply chains to manage the “Internet of Things” (IoT) enabled product and services delivery across multiple participants raises fundamental questions concerning invasive surveillance and who owns the data that is gathered.


February 22, 2017 - “Supply Chain Risk Insights Powered By Watson" - Watch the Video
Speakers: Tom Ward ’86, Cloud and Cognitive Strategist, Enterprise Services, IBM, and Rahul Nahar, Senior Technical Staff Member, Enterprise Services Analytics, Architecture, and Strategy, IBM
Summary: Managing global supply chains can be a risky business. The race for leaner supply chains has placed supply chain sites and suppliers in some unstable regions of the world. How do supply chain leaders know when to take costly risk-mitigating actions to recover from the impact of a natural event (i.e., a hurricane or earthquake) and when can they simply take caution, but no action?


November 30, 2016 - “Supply Chain 2.0: Supply Chain for a New Age” - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Jay Nearnberg ’77, Supply Chain Consulting Manager, Accenture
Summary: This talk highlights a blueprint of the next generation of supply chains that will drive a company’s business—breaking down functional silos, redefining priorities, and building synchronized planning and fulfillment capabilities. Companies must have strong foundational components to compete—customer-driven supply chains, an integrated supply chain operating model, performance management, and supply chain segmentation strategies.


October 26, 2016 - “On-Demand Warehousing and Logistics”
Speaker: Jennifer Pazour, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Summary: On-demand businesses use internet-based platforms to provide wide-reach visibility into untapped resource capacity. This has the potential to increase resource visibility, utilization, accessibility, and flexibility. We explore the competitive landscape and characteristics of on-demand warehousing and logistics systems, as well as compare and contrast on-demand business models with traditional models.


September 29, 2016 - “Wine Analytics: Fine Wine Pricing and Selection Under Weather and Market Uncertainty”
Speaker: M. Hakan Hekimoglu, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management and Business Analytics, Rensselaer Lally School of Management
Summary: This talk examines research that shows that a wine distributor should always invest in wine futures because it increases the expected profit despite being a riskier asset than bottled wine. The study empirically demonstrates the financial benefits from using this model for a large distributor.


April 20, 2016 - "Frontiers in Supply Chain and Analytics Symposium" - Watch the Video 
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February 17, 2016 - “Developing and Managing Effective Global Supply Chains” - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Dan Ostrosky ’90, Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Triumph Group
Summary: In competitive business environments effective management of global supply chains is critical for firm success. This talk will focus on strategies for building and managing global supply chains to support a network of diverse manufacturing operations. Topics will include: global sourcing strategies, lean supply chain methods, and relationship and category management practices that lead to optimizing total landed costs.


November 18, 2015 - “The Impact of New Product Development and Innovation on Supply Chain Management” - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Lindsey Rappleyea ’13, New Product Development Engineer, W. L. Gore & Associates


October 21, 2015 - “Confidence in Chaos: Fortifying Supply Chain Business Continuity Capabilities in an Evolving Risk Landscape” - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Jodie Wright ’10, Senior Associate, Information Protection and Business Resilience Practice, KPMG


September 23, 2015 - “Integrating Physical and Digital Supply Chains: A Cross-Industry Perspective” - Watch the Video 
Speaker: Peter Vanderminden ’78, Senior Industry Analyst, IoT, and Digital Supply Chain, Flatiron Strategies



Lally School of Management
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street, Pittsburgh Building, Troy, NY 12180
(518) 276-2812

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