Professor, Supply Chain and Operations, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Rachna Shah is a Professor of Supply Chain and Operations Department at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. Rachna received her PhD in Management Science, and an MBA/MHA in Finance from Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. Her undergraduate degrees are in Economics and mathematics/statistics from Delhi University, New Delhi, India. Before pursuing her doctorate, Rachna worked in the healthcare practice of a management consulting firm.
Professor Shah’s research is focused on two main questions: 1) how firms achieve operational excellence, and 2) why firms (even operationally excellent firms) experience failures. In examining operational excellence, Rachna uses the lens of lean production. She is globally recognized for her research in lean and has been instrumental in defining the basic tenants of lean and demonstrating its impact on firm performance. Professor Shah’s research on failures leverages her knowledge of lean and waste-eliminating, problem-solving culture in identifying the effectiveness of inspections and other drivers of quality failures, in automotive, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries, and healthcare delivery in hospitals and nursing homes. Product recalls are one accessible example of quality failures. Her research on product recalls is used by the FDA and Fortune 500 companies to redesign the production and recall decision-making processes.
Her research has been published in all the top journals in the field and has been conferred with several prestigious awards and honors. She received the prestigious “Shingo Award for Excellence in Research” in 2004 for her paper “Lean Manufacturing: Context, Practice bundles and Performance” published in Journal of Operations Management (JOM) – This, and one other paper continue to be in the Top 10 most downloaded paper since their publication online on the journal website. In 2007, she received the “Wickham Skinner Early Career Research Accomplishment Award” from the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS). Most recently, she received the 2019 Jack Meredith Best Paper Award, given to a paper published during the previous year and selected by department editors, for Ball, Shah and Wowak (JOM 2018). In 2016, Rachna received a three-year Fulbright Specialist Grant (2017-2020) as an endorsement of her thought leadership and expertise in lean production. She has held editorial roles in a number of leading journals. She also serves in leadership roles in several professional societies.
At Carlson, Professor Shah teaches core supply chain and operations, and operational excellence via lean thinking courses to MBA students. She is very active in teaching in the PhD Program, and has taught at numerous other schools including The Ohio State University, INSEAD in Paris, Cardiff University in Wales, UK, Instituto de Empressa in Madrid, Spain, and Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy.
Rachna is married to Jatin, a senior partner in a management-consulting firm, and has two daughters, Tanya and Priyanka. She enjoys traveling, playing contract bridge, watching tennis and cooking in her free time.