Michael Wagner produces “Best Paper” in IIE Transactions

Michael Wagner

The Institute of Industrial Engineers has honored Michael Wagner, an assistant professor of operations management and Neal and Jan Dempsey Endowed Faculty Fellow at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, with its 2017 IIE Transactions Best Paper Award in the area of scheduling and logistics.

The award recognizes the impact of Wagner’s 2015 paper, “Robust Policies and Information Asymmetry in Supply Chains with a Price-Only Contract.” It was published in 2015 in IIE Transactions, the flagship journal of the industrial engineering industry.

The paper proves that information can be a double-edged sword in supply chains. And an informational advantage does not necessarily lead to an increase in profits.

Wagner modeled a simple supply chain that consists of one supplier and one retailer, interacting via a wholesale price contract. In this asymmetrical state, where one firm has an informational advantage, he found that the disadvantaged firm usually—but not always—loses profit. An informational advantage can also reduce profit in certain circumstances.

“Practically speaking,” Wagner says, “our research identifies environments where a supplier or retailer is motivated to share, hide or seek information. These insights are valuable to managers at various stages in a supply chain.”

Wagner joined the Foster School faculty in 2012, after earning a PhD in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and faculty positions at California State University-East Bay and St. Mary’s College of California.

He has won numerous awards at Foster, including the 2014 Ron Crockett Award for Innovation in Education.

In addition to his teaching and research, Wagner has provided consulting to leading software, financial services and retail analytics firms, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard.