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.

Dr. Mani teaches undergraduate and masters course in the SC&IS department on Demand Fulfillment and Transportation and Distribution.

Current Research

Dr. Mani’s research interests include retail 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 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 store 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. She also establishes the strategic value of these operational decisions at the industry level.

Her current and previous research 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.

·         Developing effective inventory-management policies under customer initiated misplacements.

·         Establishing the relationship between abnormal inventory growth and earnings for US public retailers.

·         Develop 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, Empirical Research in Supply Chain, Humanitarian Operations

Publication List

Saravanan Kesavan and Vidya Mani, "The Relationship Between Abnormal Inventory Growth and Future Earnings for U.S. Public Retailers", M&SOM, 07/13/2012, 15, 1.

Vidya Mani, Saravanan Kesavan and Jayashankar.M. Swaminathan, "Estimating the impact of understaffing on sales and profitability in retail stores", POMS, 07/13/2012, Articles in Advance, 1.

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