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Dr Nonhlanhla Dube

Lecturer in Operations Management

Nonhlanhla Dube

The Management School



Tel: +44 1524 594913

Research overview

I am interested in operations management in the humanitarian and public sectors. My on-going work includes an exploration of the implications of insecurity for operations strategy, supply chain management, and logistics in the humanitarian sector. I am also part of a large research group investigating cost-effective measures for dealing with shortages in medicine supply chains.

Given the multifaceted and intertwined nature of issues faced specifically in humanitarian operations, I am also highly interested in interdisciplinary and/ or mixed methods research. For example, I have done mixed-methods empirical work on supply network resilience as well as interdisciplinary research on operations strategy and humanitarian action. I am keen to collaborate on similar work with researchers working in other fields and/ or other methods.

PhD supervision

I am available to supervise PhD students on various topics within operations management in the humanitarian and public sector. I am also interested in Global South perspectives on contemporary supply chain issues like child labour, slavery, resilience, and sustainability. I am also interested in co-supervising interdisciplinary research incorporating Operations Management as well as mixed methods approaches.

Career Details

My career started during my first bachelor in Zimbabwe: BSc (Hons) Applied Mathematics at NUST. 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 degree in Applied Mathematics, I got a job as a general logistician and eventually moved to supply logistics for the Dutch section of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Zimbabwe. For the latter, I primarily worked on drug supply and inventory management in this resource-poor setting. As this was a new project, I set up systems for inventory control and replenishment; I had to work across departments, mainly the medical department and finance, to ensure timely supply and minimising waste. 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 at Vrije Unieversiteit Amsterdam. During my study, I took on voluntary and paid positions which included developing a governance structure for a 100% volunteer-run online organisation. I also conducted research on humanitarian operations and stayed involved in issues relevant to this field. I successfully graduated cum laude in 2011.

I then undertook a two-year research MSc (2011 - 2013): MSc Economics and Business at the University of Gronigen (UG). 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 at UG. After that, I focused on my PhD research which I completed in 2022.

As of late 2017, I work at Lancaster University as a Lecturer/ Assistant Professor in Operations Management. 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 was involved in from 2016 - 2021 is a data quality improvement intervention in Afghanistan. This is a multi-million-pound project sponsored by the Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) which ultimately sought to improve the availability of, and access to, vaccines to children all over Afghanistan.

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