Jan A. Van Mieghem is the Harold L. Stuart Distinguished Professor of Managerial Economics and Professor of Operations Management at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

He is a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences and Arts of Belgium and a Distinguished Fellow of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society. His research focuses on product, service and supply chain operations, and links strategy and execution. He is the author of over 40 academic articles published in the leading international journals, and of two books. He serves on the editorial board of several professional journals and was editor of the operations and supply chain area of Operations Research. He teaches courses in operations management and strategy in MBA, Ph.D. and executive programs and advises firms on those topics.

Jan Van Mieghem received his Ph.D. in Business and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and ir. in Electrical Engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. From 2009-2010, he served as one of two Senior Associate Deans at the Kellogg School. From 2006 – 2009, he was chairman of the Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences. Currently, Jan serves as the Academic Director of the Kellogg Executive MBA program and of three non-degree executive programs. The Executive Operations Experience is an innovative educational partnership between academia and consultancy McKinsey & Co. that combines learning in the classroom and in model factories.

Books by Jan A. Van Mieghem

Operations Strategy: Practices and Principles (2nd Ed., 2015)

This book provides a unified framework for operations strategy. The book shows how to tailor the operational system to maximize value and competitive advantage. Conceptual thinking and financial optimization yield guidelines for implementation. This dual emphasis on principles and practice is reflected by analytical models that are illustrated with detailed examples and a dozen case studies of real business situations.

Book support website

Managing Business Process Flows: Principles of Operations Management (3rd Ed., 2012)

For graduate level courses in Operations Management or Business Processes. This book provides a structured, data-driven approach to understanding core operations management concepts.

Book support website

Classes and MOOCs by Prof. Van Mieghem

Degree Classes Executive Education Classes Massive Open Online Classes
Operations Management (MBA) Executive Operations Experience Scaling Operations (Coursera)
Operations Strategy (MBA) The Science of Lean Operations Operations Strategy (Henry Stuart)
Foundations of Operations (PhD) Operations Strategy

PhD Students

Principal PhD Advisor of

  • Lu Wang, 2016. McKinsey & Company, Chicago.
  • Dennis J. Zhang, 2016. Assistant Professor at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Ruomeng Cui, 2014. Assistant Professor at Kelley School of Business, Indiana University.
  • Tingliang Huang, 2011. Assistant Professor at Carroll School of Management, Boston College.
  • Lauren X. Lu, 2007. Tenured Associate Professot at Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

PhD Dissertation Committee of

  • Ioannis Stamatopoulos (Northwestern MEDS 2016)
  • Maud Vanderbroecke (KU Leuven 2016)
  • Seung Bum Soh (Northwestern MEDS 2014)
  • Yannick Deflem (KU Leuven 2013)
  • Umut Aytekin (Northwestern IEMS 2005)
  • Biying Shou (Northwestern IEMS 2004)
  • Gilles Reinhardt (Northwestern MECS 1998)
  • Jennifer Ryan (Northwestern IEMS 1997)

Current Students

  • Kejia Hu (3rd year, Northwestern MEDS-Operations)
  • Benjamin Grant (2nd year, Northwestern MEDS-Operations)
  • Jiankun Sun (2nd year, Northwestern MEDS-Operations)
  • Yue Yin (2nd year, Northwestern MEDS-Operations)


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Working Papers

  1. "Does Social Interaction Improve Service Quality? Field Evidence from Massive Open Online Education." With Dennis J. Zhang and Gad Allon. Sept 21, 2015; Revised May 18, 2016.
            Media Coverage, "A gentle nudge can increase participation in MOOCS" KelloggInsight.
            Media Coverage, "Could Email Fix A Troubled Form of Online Education?" ChicagoInno.

    This paper studies how service providers can design social interaction among participants and quantify the causal impact of that interaction on service quality. We focus on education and analyze whether encouraging social interaction among students improves learning outcomes in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are a new service delivery channel with universal access at reduced, if not zero, cost. We analyze three randomized experiments in a MOOC with more than 30,317 students from 183 countries. Two experiments study large-group interaction by encouraging a random subset of students to visit the course discussion board. The majority of students treated in these experiments had higher social engagement, higher quiz completion rates, and higher course grades. Using these treatments as instrumental variables, we estimate that one additional board visit causally increases the probability that a student finishes the quiz in the subsequent week by up to 4.3%. The third experiment studies small-group interaction by encouraging a random subset of students to conduct one-on-one synchronous discussions. Students who followed through and actually conducted pairwise discussions increased their quiz completion rates and quiz scores by 10% in the subsequent week. Combining results from these three experiments, we provide recommendations for designing social interaction mechanisms to improve service quality. View paper.

  2. "Collaboration and Multitasking in Networks: Prioritization and Achievable Capacity." With Itai Gurvich. March 30, 2015; Revised Sep 19, 2015. Jun 13, 2016.

    Motivated by the trend towards more collaboration in team work, we study networks where some tasks require the simultaneous processing by multiple types of multitasking human or indivisible resources. The capacity of such networks is generally smaller than the bottleneck capacity. In Gurvich and Van Mieghem (2015) we proved that both capacities are equal in networks with a hierarchical collaboration architecture, which define a {\em collaboration level} for each task depending on how many types of resources it requires relative to other network tasks. This paper studies how task prioritization impacts the capacity of such hierarchical networks using a conceptual queuing framework that formalizes coordination and switching idleness.
    To maximize the capacity of a team, highest priority should be given to the tasks that require the most collaboration. Otherwise, a mismatch between priority levels and collaboration levels inevitably inflicts a capacity loss. We demonstrate this essential trade-off between task prioritization and capacity in a basic collaborative network and in parallel networks. To manage this trade-off, we present a hierarchical threshold priority policy that balances switching and coordination idleness. View paper.

  3. "Productivity Losses due to Coordination: An Empirical Study of Generalists in a Hospital." With Lu Wang, Itai Gurvich and Kevin J. O'Leary, MD. March 31, 2016.

    Professional work often involves generalists who act as hubs, discussing and consulting with specialists to gather information and make decisions. Coordination is critical when tasks, like consultations, require the simultaneous collaboration of multiple people. Professionals typically have their individual tasks that may be preempted to switch to collaborative tasks. Task switching can introduce setup times, often mental and unobservable, when resuming the preempted task and reduce a generalist's labor productivity.
    We analyze the productivity loss from coordination in a field study of hospital medicine general physicians -- "hospitalists" -- at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. A hospitalist's patient-care routine includes visiting patients and consulting with specialized care professionals to guide patient diagnosis and treatment. We introduce an episodal workflow model that captures the coordination dynamics -- each switch and the episode of work it preempts. A rigorous empirical analysis is presented using a data set assembled from direct observation of physician activity and pager-log data. We show that more switches between documentation and communication causally lead to longer documenting time, and that the cause of the switch matters: when the switch is triggered by the hospitalist the setup impact is smaller. We estimate that a hospitalist incurs a total setup time of 5 min per patient per day. This is substantial: Caring for 14 patients per day, a hospitalist spends more than one hour each day on mental setups, which translates to about 20% productivity loss. In contrast to a static snapshot of collaboration, our episodal workflow model could be deployed in other professional settings where resource coordination is paramount. View paper.

  4. "Digital and Physical Care Team Interaction: How Team Size and Stability Determine Hospitalist Workload." With Itai Gurvich, Lu Wang, Nicholas Soulakis and Kevin J. O'Leary, MD. Jul 18, 2016. Paper available upon request.


  1. "Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program: An Economic and Operational Analysis." With Dennis J. Zhang, Itai Gurvich, Eric Park and Robert S. Young, MD and Mark V. Williams, MD. Management Science. Forthcoming May 30, 2015.
            This paper received the 1st place in the 2014 POMS College of Healthcare Operations Management Best Paper Award.

    The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), a part of the US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to penalize hospitals with excess readmissions. We take an economic and operational (patient flow) perspective to analyze the effectiveness of this policy in encouraging hospitals to reduce readmissions. We develop a game-theoretic model that captures the competition among hospitals inherent in HRRP's benchmarking mechanism. We show that this competition can be counter-productive: it increases the number of non-incentivized hospitals, which prefer paying penalties over reducing readmissions in any equilibrium. We calibrate our model with a dataset of more than 3,000 hospitals in the United States and show that under the current policy, and for a large set of parameters, 4% to 13% of the hospitals remain non-incentivized to reduce readmissions. We also validate our model against the actual performance of hospitals in the three years since the introduction of the policy. We draw several policy recommendations to improve this policy's outcome. For example, localizing the benchmarking process -- comparing hospitals against similar peers -- improves the performance of the policy. View paper.

  2. "Information Sharing in Supply Chains: An Empirical and Theoretical Valuation." With Gad Allon, Achal Bassamboo and Ruomeng Cui. Management Science, 61(11):2803-2824, 2015.

    We provide an empirical and theoretical assessment of the value of information sharing in a two-stage supply chain. The value of downstream sales information to the upstream firm stems from improving upstream order fulfillment forecast accuracy. Such an improvement can lead to lower safety stock and better service. Based on the data collected from a CPG company, we empirically show that, if the company includes the downstream sales data to forecast orders, the improvement in the mean squared forecast error ranges from 7.1% to 81.1% across all studied products. Theoretical models in the literature, however, suggest that the value of information sharing should be zero for over half of our studied products. To reconcile the gap between the literature and the empirical observations, we develop a new theoretical model. While the literature assumes that the decision maker strictly adheres to a given inventory policy, our model allows him to deviate, accounting for private information held by the decision maker, yet unobservable to the econometrician. This turns out to reconcile our empirical findings with the literature. These "decision deviations" lead to information losses in the order, process, resulting in a strictly positive value of downstream information sharing. Furthermore, we empirically quantify and show the significance of the value of the downstream replenishment policy. View paper.

  3. "Global Dual Sourcing and Order Smoothing: The Impact of Capacity and Leadtimes." With Robert Boute. Management Science, 61(9)2080-2099, 2015. Summary article (also Dutch version) in Value Chain Management, March 2015.

    After decades of offshoring production across the world, companies are rethinking their global networks. Local sourcing is receiving more attention, but it remains challenging to balance the offshore sourcing cost advantage against the increased inventories due to its longer leadtime, and against the cost and (volume-)flexibility of each source's capacity. To guide strategic allocation in this global network decision, this paper establishes reasonably simple prescriptions that capture the key drivers. We adopt a conventional discrete-time inventory model with a linear control rule that smoothes orders and allows an exact and analytically-tractable analysis of single and dual sourcing policies under normal demand. Distinguishing features of our model are that it captures each source's leadtime, capacity cost and flexibility to work overtime. We use Lagrange's inversion theorem to provide exact and simple square-root bound formulae for the strategic sourcing allocations and the value of dual sourcing. The formulae provide structural insight on the impact of financial, operational and demand parameters, and a starting point for quantitative decision making. We investigate the robustness of our results by comparing the smoothing policy with existing single and dual sourcing models in a simulation study that relaxes model assumptions. View paper.

  4. "Collaboration and Multitasking in Networks: Architectures, Bottlenecks and Capacity." With Itai Gurvich. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 17(1)16-33, Winter 2015.

    Motivated by the trend towards more collaboration in work flows, we study stochastic processing networks where some activities require the simultaneous collaboration of multiple human resources and also share some resources with other activities. We introduce the notions of collaboration architecture and unavoidable bottleneck idleness to study the maximal throughput or capacity of such networks. Collaboration and resource sharing introduce synchronization requirements that may inflict unavoidable idleness of the bottleneck resources: even when the network is continuously busy (processing at capacity), bottleneck resources can never be fully utilized. The conventional approach that equates network capacity with bottleneck capacity is then incorrect because the network capacity is below that of the bottlenecks.
    Our positive result is that networks with nested collaboration architectures have no unavoidable bottleneck idleness. Then, regardless of the processing times of the various activities, the standard bottleneck procedure correctly identifies the network capacity. We also prove necessity in the sense that, for any non-nested architecture, there are values of processing times for which unavoidable idleness persists.
    The fundamental tradeoff between collaboration and capacity does not disappear in multi-server networks and has important ramifications to service-system staffing. Yet, even in multi-server networks, a nested collaboration architecture still guarantees that the bottleneck capacity is achievable. Finally, simultaneous collaboration, as a process constraint, may limit the benefits of flexibility. We study the interplay of flexibility and unavoidable idleness and offer remedies derived from collaboration architectures. View paper.

  5. "Clickstream Data and Inventory Management: Model and Empirical Analysis." With Tingliang Huang. Producation and Operations Management, 23(3)333-347, 2014. doi: 10.1111/poms.12046.
            This paper is featured in Kellogg Insight: From Web Visits to Firm Orders: Analyzing web visitor click data to streamline sales efforts.
            This paper received the 2014 Wickham Skinner Award for Best Paper Published in POM.

    We consider firms that feature their products on the Internet but take orders offline. Click and order data are disjoint on such non-transactional websites and their matching is error-prone. Yet, their time separation may allow the firm to react and improve its tactical planning. We introduce a dynamic decision support model that augments the classic inventory planning model with additional clickstream state variables. Using a novel data set of matched online clickstream and offline purchasing data, we identify statistically significant clickstream variables and empirically investigate the value of clickstream tracking on non-transactional websites to improve inventory management. We show that the noisy clickstream data is statistically significant to predict the propensity, amount, and timing of offline orders. A counterfactual analysis shows that using the demand information extracted from the clickstream data can reduce the inventory holding and backordering cost by 3% to 5% in our data set. View paper.

  6. "The Promise of Strategic Customer Behavior: On the Value of Click Tracking." With Tingliang Huang. Producation and Operations Management, 22(3)489–502, 2013.
  7. "3Rs of OM: Research, Relevance, and Rewards" MSOM Fellow Inaugural Lecture. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management 15(1)2-5, 2013. Editable figures with Research Relevance Matrix.
  8. "Operations Management and Strategy" The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management, 2013, edited by David Teece and Mie Augier.
  9. "Risk Management and Operational Hedging: An Overview ." Handbook of Integrated Risk Management in Global Supply Chains, edited by Panos Kouvelis, Lingxiu Dong, Onur Boyabatli, and Rong Li. Operations Research and Management Science series by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 13-49, 2012.
  10. "A Little Flexibility is All You Need: On the Asymptotic Value of Flexible Capacity in Parallel Queuing Systems." With Achal Bassamboo and Ramandeep S. Randhawa. Operations Research, 60(6)1423-1435, 2012.
  11. "Mix, Time, and Volume Flexibility: Valuation and Corporate Diversification." With Jiri Chod and Nils Rudi. Review of Business and Economics, 57(3)262-282, 2012.
  12. "Optimal Flexibility Configurations in Newsvendor Networks: Going beyond Chaining and Pairing." With Achal Bassamboo and Ramandeep S. Randhawa. Management Science, 56(8)1285-1303, August 2010.
  13. "The Mexico-China Sourcing Game: Teaching Global Dual Sourcing." With Gad Allon. INFORMS Transactions on Education 10(3)105-112, May 2010.
  14. "Operational Flexibility and Financial Hedging: Complements or Substitutes?" With Jiri Chod and Nils Rudi. Management Science,56(6)1030-1045, June 2010.
  15. "Global Dual Sourcing: Tailored Base-Surge Allocation to Near- and Offshore Production." With Gad Allon. Management Science, 56(1)110-124, January 2010.
            This paper is featured in Kellogg Insight: Global Dual Sourcing Strategies: Should you source your carbon fiber bicycle from Mexico or China?
  16. "Incentives for Quality through Endogenous Routing." With Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu and R. Canan Savaskan. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 11(2)254-273, Spring 2009
  17. "The Value of Partial Resource Pooling: Should a service network be integrated or Product-focused?" With Baris Ata. Management Science, 55(1)115-131, January 2009.
  18. "Multimarket Facility Network Design with Offshoring Applications." With Lauren Xiaoyuan Lu Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 11(1)90-108, Winter 2009.
            This paper won the second place in the 2007 Student Paper Competition sponsored by the College of Supply Chain Management of the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS).
  19. "Coordination and Turnout in Large Elections." With Daniel Diermeier. Mathematical and Computer Modeling 48(2008)1478-1496.
  20. "Voting with your Pocket Book: A stochastic model of consumer boycotts." With Daniel Diermeier. Mathematical and Computer Modeling 48(2008)1497-1509.
  21. "Risk Mitigation in Newsvendor Networks: Resource Diversification, Flexibility, Sharing, and Hedging." Management Science, 53(8)1269-1288, August 2007.
  22. "Seagate-Quantum: Encroachment Strategies." With Glenn Schmidt. Informs Transactions on Education, 5(2), January 2005.
  23. "Queueing Systems with Leadtime Constraints: A Fluid-Model Approach for Admission and Sequencing Control." With Costis Maglaras. European Journal of Operational Research, 167(2005)179-207.
  24. "Strategically Seeking Service: How Competition Can Generate Poisson Arrivals."With Marty Lariviere. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 6(1)23-40, Winter 2004.
            This paper was awarded the 1st MSOM Best Paper Award in 2007.
  25. "Note: Commonality Strategies: Value Drivers and Equivalence with Flexible Capacity and Inventory Substitution." Management Science, 50(3)419-424, March 2004.
  26. "Capacity Management, Investment and Hedging: Review and Recent Developments." Invited paper by Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 5(4)269-302, Fall 2003.
  27. "Due-Date Scheduling: Asymptotic Optimality of Generalized Longest Queue and Generalized Largest Delay Rules." Operations Research, 51(1)113-122, Jan/Feb 2003.
  28. "Newsvendor Networks: Inventory Management and Capacity Investment with Discretionary Activities." With Nils Rudi. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 4(4)313-335, Fall 2002.
  29. "Price-coupled Scheduling for Differentiated Services: Gcm vs. GPS." With Piet Van Mieghem. International Journal of Communication Systems, 15(5)429-452, June 2002.
  30. "Price and Service Discrimination in Queueing Systems: Incentive-Compatibility of Gcμ Scheduling." Management Science, 46(9)1249-1267, Sept. 2000.
  31. "Which e-business is right for your supply chain?" With Sunil Chopra. Supply Chain Management Review, 4 (3) 32-40, July/August 2000.
  32. "Price versus Production Postponement: Capacity and Competition." With Maqbool Dada. Management Science, 45(12) 1631-1649, December 1999.
  33. "Coordinating Investment, Production and Subcontracting." With Maqbool Dada. Management Science, 45(12) 1631-1649, December 1999.
  34. "Multi-Resource Investment Strategies: Operational Hedging under Demand Uncertainty." With J. Michael Harrison. European Journal of Operational Research, 113(1)17-29, February 16, 1999.
  35. "Investment Strategies for Flexible Resources." Management Science, 44(8) 1071-1078, 1998.
  36. "Dynamic Control of Brownian Networks: State Space Collapse and Equivalent Workload Formulations." With J. Michael Harrison. The Annals of Applied Probability, 7(3) 747-771, 1997.
  37. "Multi-factor Dynamic Investment Under Uncertainty." With Janice C. Eberly. Journal of Economic Theory, 75(8) 345-387, 1997.
  38. "Dynamic Scheduling with Convex Delay Costs: The Generalized cμ Rule." The Annals of Applied Probability, 5(3) 808-833, 1995.
  39. "Brownian Models of Closed Queueing Networks: Explicit Solutions for Balanced Three-Station Systems." With Elizabeth Schwerer. The Annals of Applied Probability, 4(2) 448-477, 1994.
  40. "Subclass Pattern Recognition: A Maximin Correlation Approach." With Hadar Avi-Itzhak and Leo Rub. IEEE Trans. on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI), 17(4) 418-431, 1995.
  41. "Straight Line Extraction using Iterative Total Least Squares Methods." With Hadar Avi-Itzhak and Roger Melen. Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation, 6(1) 59-68, 1995.
            An abridged conference version appeared earlier, titled "Estimation of Linear Stroke Parameters using Iterative Total Least Squares Methods." With Hadar Avi-Itzhak and Roger Melen. SPIE Proceedings, 1661, 92-97, Feb. 1992.

Awards and Honors

  • Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Sciences and Arts of Belgium, elected 2015.
  • 2014 Wickham Skinner Award for Best Paper Published in POM out of 150.
  • 2014 POMS College of Healthcare Operations Management Best Paper Award.
  • Sidney J. Levy Teaching Award, Kellogg, Northwestern University, 2014 and 1997.
  • Distinguished MSOM Fellow, 2012.
  • Chair's Core Course Teaching Award, Kellogg, Northwestern University, 2008, 2005; 2002, and 1999.
  • 2007 MSOM Best Paper Award.
  • Best Teacher in the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program, 2006.
  • Operations Research Area Editor Service Recognition, 1/2002-12/2005.
  • Operations Research Meritorious Service Award, 1997.
  • Future Professors in Manufacturing Fellowship, Stanford University, 1992-1995.
  • Jaedicke Merit Scholar Award, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 1992.
  • Fellow of The Belgian American Educational Foundation, Brussels, Belgium and New Haven, Connecticut, 1989.
  • Fellow of The Francqui Foundation, Brussels, Belgium, 1989.

Contact Me

Mail: Managerial Economics, Decision Sciences and Operations Department
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University, 2011 Sheridan Road
Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.

Email: vanmieghem "AT" northwestern.edu