Tava Olsen

Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management; Deputy Dean, Academic, Melbourne Business School

Tava Olsen is a Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management and the Deputy Dean, Academic at Melbourne Business School.

Tava is an award-winning expert in operations and supply chain management, with a PhD from Stanford University and extensive experience publishing in and serving on the editorial board of four Financial Times Top 50 journals.

Prior to joining Melbourne Business School, she was the head of two departments at the University of Auckland Business School: Information Systems and Operations Management, as well as Accounting and Finance. She also served previously as Deputy Dean from 2020 to 2021 and was also the Director of its Centre for Supply Chain Management from 2010 to 2022.

Before moving back to her native Auckland, Tava spent most of her academic career in the United States. She taught operations and manufacturing management at Washington University’s Olin Business School – first as Associate Professor and later Professor – from 2000 to 2010, and was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan from 1994 to 2000.

Tava has edited several top academic journals including Operations Research (Area Editor for Operations and Supply Chain), Production and Operations Management (Senior Editor), Management Science (Associate Editor) and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management (Associate Editor).

Tava has taught a wide variety of courses, including operations management, service operations, healthcare management, business analytics, simulation, critical thinking, and project management, to a range of audiences from bachelors to executives.

Outside of teaching, she also served as President of the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society and has been awarded more than US$3 million of external funding throughout her career, including through the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Grant and the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award in the US.


  • University of Auckland Business School Research Excellence Award, 2012, 2017, 2021
  • University of Auckland Business School Teaching Excellence Award (Postgraduate Supervision), 2017
  • OMEGA Best Paper Award, 2018. Presented to Haiyan Wang, Tava Lennon Olsen, and Guiqing Liu, Service capacity competition with peak arrivals and delay sensitive customers.
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations Society Meritorious Service Award, 2010
  • Manufacturing & Service Operations Journal Meritorious Service Award, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
  • Operations Research Meritorious Service Award, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2009, 2010
  • NSF CAREER Award, 1999 – 2004
  • Tauber Manufacturing Institute Faculty Fellow, 1998 – 2001
  • IOE Department Teaching Excellence Award, 1996, 1997
  • Finalist, Nicholson Student Paper competition, 1995

Most Notable Research

“Contractual Coordination of Agricultural Marketing Cooperatives with Quality Provisions,” (with X. Qian). 2022. To appear: Manufacturing and Service Operations Management.

“Modeling the Effects of Dated Donations on Recipient Countries,” (with Q. Zhou). 2022. To appear Production and Operations Management.

"Acute assessment services for patient flow assistance in hospital emergency departments,” (with Shaw VM, Yu A, Parsons M, and Walker C). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2021, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD014553.

“Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges for Operations Management,” (with B. Tomlin). Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 2020, 22(1), pp. 113–122.

“Operational and Financial Decisions within Proportional Investment Cooperatives,” (with X. Qian). Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 2020, 22 (3): 429-643.

“An Empirical Study of the Behavior of Patients Who Leave the Emergency Department without Being Seen,” (with E. Bolandifar, N. DeHoratius, and J. Wiler). Journal of Operations Management, 2019, 65(5):430-446.

“On Markov Equilibria in Dynamic Inventory Competition.” (with R. Parker). Operations Research, Vol. 62, No. 2, March-April 2014: 332-344.

“Wholesale Pricing under Mild and Privately Known Concerns for Fairness,” (with E. Katok and V. Pavlov). Production and Operations Management, 2014, Vol. 23 (2), pp. 285–302.

“An Emergency Department Patient Flow Model Based on Queueing Theory Principles,” (with J. Wiler, E. Bolandifar, R. Griffey, and R. Poirier). Academic Emergency Medicine, 2013, Vol. 20 (9), p. 939-946.

“On Hospice Operations under Medicare Reimbursement Policies,” (with B. Ata, B. Killaly, and R. Parker). Management Science, 2013, Vol. 59 (5), pp. 1027-1044.

“Congestion-Based Leadtime Quotation for Heterogenous Customers with Convex-Concave Delay Costs: Optimality of a Cost-Balancing Policy Based on Convex Hull Functions,” (with M. Akan and B. Ata). Operations Research, 2012, Vol. 60 (6), pp. 1505-1519.

“Inventory Control with Generalized Expediting,” (with E. Huggins). Operations Research, Vol. 58, No. 5, 2010, pp. 1414-1426.

“Near-Optimal Dynamic Leadtime Quotation and Scheduling Under Convex-Concave Customer Delay Costs,” (with B. Ata). Operations Research, Vol. 57, No. 3, May-June 2009, pp. 753-768.

“Inventory Management Under Market Size Dynamics,” (with R. Parker). Management Science, Vol. 54, No. 10, 2008, pp. 1805-1821.

“Service Level Agreements in Call Centers: Perils and Prescriptions,” (with J. M. Milner). Management Science, February 2008, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 238-252.

“Multi-Product Systems with Both Setup Times and Costs: Fluid Bounds and Schedules,” (with W.-M. Lan). Operations Research, May/June 2006, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 505-522.

“Supply Chain Management with Guaranteed Delivery,” (with E. Huggins). Management Science, September 2003, Vol. 49, No. 9, pp. 1154–1167.

“Polling Systems with Periodic Server Routing in Heavy-Traffic: Distribution of the Delay,” (with R. D. van der Mei). Journal of Applied Probability, June 2003, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp. 305-326.

“On Mutually Interfering Parallel Servers Subject to External Disturbances,” (with K. M. Wasserman). Operations Research,September-October 2001, Vol. 49, No. 5, pp. 700-709.

“A Production/Inventory System Subject to Failure with Limited Repair Capacity,” (with S. M. Iravani and I. Duenyas). Operations Research, November-December 2000, Vol. 48, No. 6, pp. 951-964.

“Scheduling of a Multi-class Single Server Queue Under Non-traditional Performance Measures,” (with H. Ayhan). Operations Research, May-June 2000, Vol. 48, No. 3.

“A Practical Scheduling Method for Multi-Class Production Systems with Setups.” Management Science, January 1999, Vol. 45, No. 1, pp. 116-130.

“Control of a Single-Server Tandem Queueing System with Setups,” (with I. Duenyas and D. Gupta). Operations Research,March-April 1998, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 218-230.