Julie L Swann, PhD
Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Associate Professor
Co-Director of Humanitarian Logistics, SCL
Courtesy Appointment, School of Public Policy
Julie Swann is the Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Associate Professor in the School of ISyE at Georgia Tech and a Co-Director of Humanitarian Logistics in the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL). She received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences from Northwestern University in 1998 and 2001, respectively.
In addition to her university experience, Dr. Swann participated in several research projects at General Motors and IBM, focusing on pricing in different industries. At General Motors, Dr. Swann developed a tool integrating pricing, production and distribution of vehicles while meeting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements. At IBM, she explored pricing models for efficient bandwidth allocation.
Dr. Swann is currently focused on the modeling and analysis of problems and algorithms in logistics, transportation and supply chain management. She has particular interests in developing and analyzing tools to manage demand, such as pricing, revenue management, or lead-time quotation, to increase the flexibility in the system and is currently doing work in humanitarian supply chains. Other research interests include applications of economics and optimization to healthcare policy. Her research interests in supply chains and health systems intersection in her work to improve planning and response to humanitarian crises.
She was awarded an NSF CAREER grant in 2004, and recently, one of her papers was selected as a Finalist in the Shepherd award at the CDC. In 2002, she received the Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Council of Logistics Management and was a Finalist in the Dantzig Doctoral Dissertation Competition at INFORMS. In 2006 she was inducted into the Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni of Georgia Tech.
Supply chains are the networks that link raw materials to end-customers; supply chain management (SCM) is essential for any organization that produces or delivers products. In SCM, Dr. Swann develops and analyzes implementable policies that link tools to manage demand (e.g., pricing or leadtime) with production or service processes to improve flexibility, customer service, and profits. She integrates concepts from economics with optimization to develop innovative models that bring human aspects into SCM. Supply chains for disaster response or other non-profit purposes is a particular interest.
Dr. Swann also answers important questions in health policy by linking mathematical modeling with data analysis. Her two research areas are connected by methodologies used as well as the kinds of incentive problems that arise, and they also show her ability to work in more than one area effectively. Dr. Swann has provided leadership and has been successful at collaborating with others, including ISyE PhD students and faculty, CDC researchers, and industry, further ensuring relevance and impact.
Supply Chain Management and Pricing
Demand Management and Segmentation: Dr. Swann has developed models with the novel idea of treating inventory as a tactical tool where a firm may use inventory to match supply and demand over time; this is particularly important if firms are capacity-constrained or experience variability.
Pricing and Revenue Management: Another tool in matching supply and demand is Revenue Management (RM), which is concerned with allocating limited resources at the right time and price to the right customer; in low-margin industries it can be crucial for viability. Dr. Swann has brought RM research to new fields including sports and entertainment (S&E) and the automotive industries.
Decentralized Systems/Humanitarian Supply Chains: Most optimization models have been designed for centralized planners, although many systems actually operate in a decentralized fashion with individual decision-makers. Dr. Swann developed innovative decentralized modeling and optimization strategies with applications to the sea cargo industry as one example. This area has many applications in humanitarian response systems. Ongoing work includes analyzing self-routing customers and the value of information.
Dr. Swann studies decentralized systems more generally in her leadership to improve planning and response for disaster logistics . She traveled to Africa to work with World Vision International and to El Salvador to present to governmental and industry leaders. She has initiated efforts to write case studies with several private companies and has ongoing work to study food distribution in a flu pandemic for the American Red Cross. She is Co-founder and Co-director of the Humanitarian Logistics Research Center in the Supply Chain and Logistics Institute (SCL) at GT.
Dr. Swann's research in this area has been complemented by her leadership/service activities. In 2006, Dr. Swann chaired the national Multi-Echelon conference hosted at Georgia Tech and gave the conference a theme for the first time (“Public Applications of Supply Chain Research”). She was invited by the National Academy of Engineering to co-organize the 2006 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium for emerging leaders across engineering; her section was on SCM, with an emphasis on public impact.
Dr. Swann's interest in public impact extends to healthcare where she is a leader in bringing operations research tools to bear on health policy questions. She publishes in math/engineering journals to spread knowledge to the academic community, and in high-impact medical journals, which informs practitioners and public health officials.
Health Access/Delivery: One key area of Dr. Swann's research is to increase the overall health of the population by improving health care access or delivery. Some examples of work in this area include integrating optimization techniques with statistical estimations of demand to improve resource allocation decisions. She also has work estimating dental caries in high risk populations and informational asymmetries in the dental markets in the United States.
Disease Modeling for Policy: Dr. Swann has also answered policy questions for specific diseases, using methodologies similar to her work in SCM/pricing. Examples include study of the timing of disease screening for Hepatitis C, and mathematical modeling to model behavioral aspects affecting HIV transmission.