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. Vidya Mani’s research focuses on providing an understanding of how operational decisions within a firm drive firm performance. Firm performance can be either performance assessed from financial metrics (e.g., sales, profits, stock price) or an assessment of business risk (e.g., threat of counterfeit parts, penalties for non-compliance). She does this by adapting an analytical model developed in the literature (e.g., a consumer choice model) and leveraging it in an empirical framework that relates operational decisions (e.g., assortment decisions) to firm performance (e.g., sales). She identifies the key operational decisions that drive performance by applying econometric techniques to primary and secondary data collated from multiple sources (e.g., point-of-sale transactions, third-party information providers), and quantifies their value on firm performance through counterfactual experiments. The operational decisions in her models include: 1) how to build a portfolio of products (e.g., assortment for downsized retail stores), 2) how to manage those products (e.g., inventory management and distribution network), and 3) how to provide sales support to these products (e.g., staffing retail stores).

Dr. Mani’s research projects span the breadth of supply chain management process that balances the customers’ requirements with the capabilities of the supply chain. With the right process in place, management can match supply with demand proactively and execute the plan with minimal disruptions. Her research topics include:
Supply chain management
•    Quantifying the impact of supply-chain factors on counterfeit risk for electronic parts and efficacy of strategic responses by firms to mitigate counterfeit risk.
•    Understanding the role of specialty drugs in determining the distribution channel structure in the pharmaceutical industry and their impact on financial performance of big pharmaceutical companies.
•    Developing a decision-support tool based on inventory prepositioning strategy for UNICEF to improve treatment of severely malnourished children.
•    Developing supplier-collaboration strategies to improve responsiveness and collaboration while navigating economic cycles.
Retail operations
•    Informing assortment-planning for small and downsized stores by incorporating basket shopping and substitution effects in the demand estimation. Inform stocking and fill-rate decisions by leveraging demand information from transaction data.
•    Estimating the impact of understaffing on lost sales and profits for retail stores and improving store labor planning using store traffic data.
•    Establishing the relationship between abnormal inventory growth and earnings for US public retailers and understanding the impact of omni-channel operations on firm performance.


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

Publication List

Vidya Mani and Suresh Muthulingam, "How learning from inspections affects environmental outcomes: Evidence from unconventional drilling.", M&SOM, Forthcoming,

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

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

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

Media Mention

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

A DHS audit found the agency can't justify hiring 15,000 agents because they don't have a plan. ,  Circa News


Editorial Board Member - Production and Operations Management

Editorial Board Member - Journal of Operations Management


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

Master of Management, Operations Management, IIT Mumbai, Mumbai, India, 2002

Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, M.S. University, Baroda, India, 1996


SCM 404, Demand Fulfillment

SCM 810, Transportation and Distribution

SCM 566, Demand Fulfillment

SCM 812, Demand Fulfillment