Vidya Mani

Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management
Department: Supply Chain and Information Systems
Office: 461 Business Building
Phone: 814-867-0181
Fax: 814-863-7067
Member of Faculty Since: 2011


Dr. Mani is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems, Smeal College of Business. She received her Ph.D. degree in Operations Management from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina. She also holds a MBA in Supply Chain Management from IIT Mumbai, India, and a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from MS University, India.

Dr. Mani’s work experience includes working with Oracle India Pvt. Ltd., Birla Management Corporation Ltd., and Marico Industries. She is also involved in consulting projects with major companies like AGCO and Office Depot, as well as with governmental organizations like UNICEF and GIDEP.

Dr. Mani teaches undergraduate, masters and MBA level courses in the SC&IS department on Demand Fulfillment and Transportation and Distribution.

Current Research

Dr. Mani’s research interests include retail operations, pharmaceutical operations, empirical research in supply chain, humanitarian logistics, and operations-finance interface. Dr. Mani’s publications have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and she has frequently presented papers at leading national and international conferences on empirical research in retail operations and supply chain management.

Dr. Mani’s current research focusses on understanding the dynamic of qualitative and quantitative determinants of operational excellence that drive financial performance. She uses publicly available financial data and proprietary transaction data to develop empirically informed analytical models to support operational decisions. In her research on retail operations, she looks at the improving store performance by leveraging detailed store-transaction data in assortment planning and staffing decisions. Under pharmaceutical operations, her research focusses on understanding the different operational and strategic factors that determine the distribution channel structure in the pharmaceutical industry. She also establishes the strategic value of these operational decisions at the industry level.

Her current and previous projects include:

  • Informing assortment-planning for small and downsized stores by incorporating basket shopping and substitution effects in the demand estimation.
  • Estimating the impact of understaffing on lost sales and profits for retail stores.
  • Improving store labor planning using store traffic data.
  • Establishing the relationship between abnormal inventory growth and earnings for US public retailers.
  • Understanding the role of specialty drugs in determining the distribution channel structure in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Determining the impact of strategic investments in specialty drugs on financial performance of big pharmaceutical companies.
  • Estimating the impact of counterfeit parts on strategic decisions and firm performance in the semiconductor industry.
  • Developing a decision-support tool based on inventory prepositioning strategy for UNICEF to improve treatment of severely malnourished children.
  • Developing innovating supplier-collaboration strategies to improve responsiveness and collaboration while navigating economic cycles.


Retail Operations, Pharmaceutical Operations, Empirical Research in Supply Chain,

Publication List

Saravanan Kesavan and Vidya Mani, "The Relationship Between Abnormal Inventory Growth and Future Earnings for U.S. Public Retailers", M&SOM, 15, pp. 6-23.

Vidya Mani, Saravanan Kesavan and Jayashankar.M. Swaminathan, "Estimating the impact of understaffing on sales and profitability in retail stores", POMS, 24, pp. 201-218.

Saravanan Kesavan and Vidya Mani, "An Overview of Industry Practice and Empirical Research in Retail Workforce Management", Retail Supply Chain Management, 2nd edition, pp.113-147.

Media Mention

Big retailers' same-day shipping challenges small shops,  CPBJ


PhD, Operations Management, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 2011


SCM 404, Demand Fulfillment

SCM 810, Transportation and Distribution

SCM 566, Demand Fulfillment