Supply Chain and Operations Associate Professor Susan Goldstein shares answers to five questions that reveal the issues she's studying, following, teaching, and reading about today. Plus a peek into the life she imagines, were she not teaching at the Carlson School

Q: What is/are your current area(s) of research? What business challenges are you helping to solve?

A: My current research studies the design and improvement of service processes.  We can all imagine a widget moving through a supply chain, but what do we need to design for instances when that widget is a person. We try to identify where in the process too much variability may be detrimental to outcomes, how individual service workers impact the process, and how service organizations should think about the number of suppliers they work with.  I primarily study health care processes, and we have identified that all of these process design factors impact patient outcomes.

Q: What current business issues or stories in the news are you following and why?

A: Like a good Minnesotan, I am always watching to see what Target is doing next.  More generally, I track how the live versus online shopping experience is impacting those industries.  And, of course, the election.

Q: What is your favorite class to teach?

A: Service Management, of course!

Faculty in Five - Gears

We can all imagine a widget moving through a supply chain, but what do we need to design when that widget is a person, the service customer?

Q: If you weren’t a business school professor, what would you be doing?

A: I would probably be helping people organize their closets—I love a good system and process, so if I can help someone else organize their day and their life, I would love to be involved in that.

Q: What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

A: I read a lot, so I can't name just one!  Earlier this year, author Pat Conroy passed away, and I have been re-reading my favorites:  The Prince of Tides (fiction) and My Reading Life (nonfiction).  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver was beautiful and Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher was a hoot! Related to my research and teaching, The Digital Doctor and Humans Are Underrated are both terrific.