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Nonhlanhla Dube

Lecturer in Operations Management

Nonhlanhla Dube

The Management School

LA1 4YX

Lancaster

Tel: +44 1524 594913

Research overview

I am interested in research on humanitarian operations and supply chain management. My on-going work includes an exploration of how humanitarian organisations deal with insecurity from an operations management perspective, inventory management, and procurement.

Given the multifaceted and intertwined nature of issues faced in humanitarian operations and my expertise, I am also keen to collaborate in interdisciplinary research and/ or the use of mixed methods. Within the field of OM, for example, I have done mixed-methods empirical work on supply network resilience with the humanitarian context as the research setting and generating generalisable insights for dealing with disruptions.

PhD supervision

I am available to supervise PhD students on various topics within humanitarian operations and supply chain management. This includes instances where the humanitarian context is merely used as a research setting. I am also interested in co-supervising interdisciplinary research incorporating Operations Management as well as research adopting a mixed methods approach.

Career Details

My career in operations and supply chain management started during my first bachelor in Zimbabwe: BSc (Hons) Applied Mathematics. As part of this four-year study (2002 to 2006), I did a year-long internship in a rubber manufacturing company where I focused on process improvement within the factory. 

Upon completing my first bachelor in 2006, I got a job as a logistician for the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders (MSF). I started off as a general logistics and was quickly elevated to the position of Supply Logistician where I focused primarily on drug supply and inventory management in this resource-poor setting. As the project I worked for was new, I had the pleasure of setting up systems for inventory control and had to work across departments, mainly the medical department and finance, to ensure timely supply and minimising waste (e.g., through expiry of drugs). By 2008 we had a well-running system. So, I needed a new adventure. 

In 2008 I began my second bachelor in the Netherlands: BSc (Hons) International Business Administration. During the three-year period of my study, I took on voluntary and paid positions which included developing a governance structure for a 100% volunteer-run organisation that mainly worked online and web design. I also used every opportunity to research more on humanitarian operations and to seek opportunities for more involvement in this field. I successfully graduated cum laude in 2011 and moved on to a master's programme. 

My MSc was also in the Netherlands: MSc Economics and Business. This was a two-year programme (2011 - 2013). During this period, I did more research work on humanitarian operations and interned within the Procurement Unit of MSF in Amsterdam for over 6 months. I eventually became a board member within MSF in Amsterdam having been elected primarily for my knowledge and experience in humanitarian logistics and supply chain management. I served for a single term of 3 years which ended in 2015 and overlapped with the start of my PhD- also in the Netherlands. After that, I focused on my PhD research. 

Currently, I primarily conduct research and teach but have also taken on some projects to remain in touch with the humanitarian world. One of the projects I have been involved in since 2016 is a data improvement intervention in Afghanistan. This is a multi-million-pound project sponsored by the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) which ultimately seeks to improve the availability of, and access to, vaccines all over Afghanistan so as to combat childhood deaths. 

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