Karthik Natarajan

Karthik Natarajan

Associate Professor
Supply Chain and Operations


  • PhD 2013
    Operations, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • Humanitarian and Not-for-profit Operations
  • Global Health Supply Chains
  • Health Care Delivery Systems in Resource Constrained Settings
  • Socially Responsible Operations


Karthik Natarajan is an associate professor of Supply Chain and Operations at the Carlson School of Management and a Fellow of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph. D. in Operations from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, where he won numerous awards for his research including the Outstanding Graduating Student Award and a competitive University-wide Fellowship. At the Carlson School, Natarajan has received several recognitions for his teaching including MS in Supply Chain Management Outstanding Teacher (2023), The Full-time MBA and Management Science Core Faculty of the Year (2023), Carlson School of Management Outstanding Teaching Award (2016, 2021) and being nominated as a finalist for the Business Week Faculty of the Year Award (2019 and 2020). His comments on global health issues, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been featured in several media outlets including the New York Times, Star Tribune, PBS (Almanac), Kare11 and Fox9.

Natarajan's research interests are in the areas of social responsibility and humanitarian and non-profit operations, with a specific focus on global public health. Within this context, his works have explored several key issues including understanding the impact of uncertainty and delays in donor funding, designing incentives to patients and healthcare providers to maximize community health outcomes, and identifying supply chain strategies to lower the likelihood of stock-outs of essential health commodities (e.g., reproductive health supplies) at last-mile facilities in developing countries. He has consulted for global health agencies including USAID and also actively works with Minneapolis-based non-profits. Natarajan’s research has been published in several leading journals including Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Production and Operations Management and Journal of Global Health. 

Selected Works & Activities

  • Journal Articles
    Natarajan, K.V., J.M. Swaminathan. 2014. "Inventory Management in Humanitarian Operations: Impact of Amount, Schedule, and Uncertainty in Funding", Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 16(4), pp. 595-603
  • Journal Articles
    2. Natarajan, K.V. and J.M. Swaminathan. 2017. Multi-treatment inventory allocation in humanitarian health settings under funding constraints. Production and Operations Management, 26(6), pp. 1015-1034.
  • Journal Articles
    3. Mehrotra, M. and K.V. Natarajan. 2020. Value of combining patient and provider incentives in humanitarian healthcare service programs. Production and Operations Management, 29(3), pp. 571-594.
  • Journal Articles
    4. Martin, P., D. Gupta, and K.V. Natarajan. 2020. Vaccine procurement contracts for developing countries. Production and Operations Management, 29(11), pp. 2601-2620.
  • Journal Articles
    5. Karimi, A., A. Mishra, K.V. Natarajan, and K. K. Sinha. 2021. Managing commodity stock-outs in public health supply chains in developing countries: an empirical analysis. Production and Operations Management, 30(9), pp. 3116-3142.
  • Journal Articles
    6. Mukherjee, U. K., G. P. Ball, K. D. Wowak, K. V. Natarajan, and J. W. Miller. 2021. Hiding in the herd: the product recall clustering phenomenon. Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, 24(1), pp. 392-410
  • Journal Articles
    7. Natarajan, K. V. and S. Prasad. 2021. A supply chain perspective on India’s COVID-19 crisis: lessons from the second wave and preparing for a potential third wave. Journal of Global Health. Viewpoint Article.
  • Associate Editor (2019-present): Naval Research Logistics

    Member, Editorial Review Board (2020-present): Decision Sciences

    Ad-hoc Reviewer: Management Science, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Operations Research, Production and Operations Management, Journal of Operations Management, Decision Sciences, Academy of Management Journal, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, PLOS One, and International Transactions in Operational Research

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