Networks against Time: From Food to Pharma

Anna NagurneyTuesday, April 16
5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Main Building, Room 131
Presenter: Anna Nagurney, Ph.D., John F. Smith Memorial Professor, Department of Finance and Operations Management, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Free and open to faculty, staff, students, and the community.
Seating is limited; register at or call 610-648-3229.

Who doesn't feel pressed for time in this economy? With pressures to produce more with less, to innovate and to create quickly in order to advance and beat the competition, to deliver products in a timely manner and in good condition, and still to find time for family and community, the demands on us are many.

As consumers, we are part of supply chains. Supply chains consist of networks of suppliers, manufacturers, transportation service providers, storage facilities and distributors, as well as retailers, and consumers. They serve as the critical infrastructure backbones for the provision of goods and services in our modern global economy. Supply chains have revolutionized the way in which products are sourced, produced, distributed, and consumed around the globe. They may involve thousands of stakeholders from suppliers and manufacturers to hundreds of thousands of demand points.

Supply chains, however, are not just about complex manufactured products such as airplanes, automobiles, or computers. While many of the products of supply chains are durable goods that can be shipped and stored for a prolonged period prior to use, others are perishable -- from the food that we ingest, the medicines and vaccines that heal us and save lives, and, for the fashion-conscious -- the clothes that we wear.

However, it takes time to manufacture and package a drug. It takes time to transport fruits and vegetables across the equator so that customers have produce year-round with the shelf life of fresh produce, typically, being only a few days to a week or so. A day's production of a medical radioisotope must be used within a week, due to radioactive decay. Medicines and blood that are not available at the right time may affect the survival of patients. Delays in executing supply chain network activities impact both the quantity and the quality of products available, affecting not only the consumers, but also the profitability and/or the reputation of the firm or organization.

So what is needed? When it comes to perishable, time-sensitive product supply chains, we need to rigorously capture the behavior of the various stakeholders, along with their cost and profit objectives. We must quantify their interactions over space and time, including the perishability of the product, in order to identify the optimal pathway from origin nodes to destinations so that losses over time and waste are minimized and, even in a world of uncertainty, demands are satisfied as close as possible. In this talk, I will overview our collaborative research that emphasizes multiple disciplines from engineering and operations research and management science to chemistry and physics, all with a unifying theme of networks, and associated perspectives, to model product deterioration over time and perishability. The talk highlights some of the contributions in our latest book, "Networks against Time: Supply Chain Analytics for Perishable Products," published by Springer in 2013.

Speaker Bio:
Anna Nagurney is the John F. Smith Memorial Professor in the Department of Finance and Operations Management in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also an Affiliated Faculty Member in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at UMass Amherst. She is the first female to be appointed to a named Professorship in the University of Massachusetts system. She is the Founding Director of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks and the Supernetworks Laboratory for Computation and Visualization at UMass Amherst. She received her AB, ScB, ScM, and PhD degrees from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She devotes her career to education and research that combines operations research/management science, economics, and engineering. Her focus is the applied and theoretical aspects of decision-making on network systems, particularly in the areas of transportation and logistics, energy and the environment, and economics and finance.
Dr. Nagurney has published 11 books and more than 160 journal articles. She has given invited and plenary talks in Austria, Ukraine, Sweden, New Zealand, China, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Cyprus, Iceland, the US, and other countries and her research has garnered funding from many foundations, including the National Science Foundation.
Among the honors she has received are: the University of Massachusetts Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, an INFORMS Moving Spirit Award, a Science  Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Research Team Fellowship, a Distinguished Fulbright Chair at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, two AT&T Foundation Industrial Ecology Fellowships, the Chancellor's Medal from the University of Massachusetts, an Eisenhower Faculty Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Faculty Award for Women, a Faculty Fellowship from the University of Massachusetts, and the Kempe Prize from the University of Umea, Sweden. She has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brown University.