Faculty & Research

Nicole DeHoratius

Adjunct Professor of Operations Management

Address :
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Nicole DeHoratius is an expert in the effective management of retail supply chains. In her research, Nicole identifies mechanisms for improving retail performance and operational execution. She has written several case studies across a variety of industries including retail, fashion apparel, and quick-service restaurants and has published in leading journals such as California Management Review, Harvard Business Review, and Management Science. In 2009, the Manufacturing & Service Operations Management Society awarded her its Best Paper Award for her article "Retail Inventory Management When Records are Inaccurate" (coauthored with Adam Mersereau, University of North Carolina, and Linus Schrage, University of Chicago).

Nicole presents frequently to industry groups and has conducted industry projects with a number of firms including Fred Meyer, Hugo Boss, J. C. Penney, McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, Staples, Target, Quantum Retail, and Ulta Beauty. In addition, Nicole serves as a senior editor for the Production and Operations Management Journal and an associate editor for Decision Sciences and M&SOM. She guest edited recent issues of the Journal of Operations Management and INFORMS Transaction on Education. One of the organizers of the 2005 founding POMS Supply Chain College Conference, Nicole is currently the college’s President and a member of the POMS board.

Nicole received her D.B.A. from Harvard Business School, her M.Sc. from the University of Sussex as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and her A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard College. Prior to her graduate studies, Nicole was a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a public policy think tank, and was on the Board of Directors of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Washington-Baltimore, Inc.

Nicole joined Chicago Booth in 2001 and teaches Operations Management to University of Chicago Executive MBA students in Chicago, London, and Singapore. Her teaching experience also includes the delivery of MBA courses in supply chain management and operations strategy in Booth’s Executive Education program.


2014 - 2015 Course Schedule

Number Name Quarter
40101 Supply Chain Strategy and Practice 2015 (Winter)
40801 Operations Management 2014 (Fall)
40810 Strategic Service Design and Delivery 2015 (Summer)

Research Activities

Supply chain management, retail operations, execution, product availability, vendor management, incentives, operations strategy, labor planning, customer satisfaction, consumer goods, operations management, emerging markets, executive development, operations strategy, apparel, Asia-Pacific.

With Mark Barratt, “Retail Analytics and Behavioral Operations: A Recipe for Superior Performance,” Cutter Consortium Data Insight & Social Business Intelligence Executive Update (2012).

With Elliot Rabinovich, “Field Research in Operations and Supply Chain Management,” Journal of Operations Management (2011).

“Inventory Record Inaccuracy in Retail Supply Chains,” Wiley Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science, edited by James J. Cochran (2011).

With Zeynep Aksin, “Introduction to the Special Issue: Teaching Services & Retail Operations Management,” INFORMS Transactions on Education (2010).

With Zeynep Ton, “The Role of Execution in Managing Product Availability,” Retail Supply Chain Management, Chapter 4: 53-77; edited by N. Agrawal and S. Smith, Springer (2009).

With Ananth Raman, "Inventory Record Inaccuracy: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science (2008).

With Adam Mersereau and Linus Schrage, “Retail Inventory Management When Records Are Inaccurate,” M&SOM, 10(2): 257-277 (2008).

With Marshall Fisher and Serguei Netessine, "McDonald’s Corporation: Launching McCafe," University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School (2008).

For a listing of research publications please visit ’s university library listing page.

REVISION: The Impact of Supplier Inventory Service Level on Retailer Demand
Date Posted: May  05, 2015
To set inventory service levels, suppliers must understand how changes in inventory service level affect demand. Although researchers have studied the impact of a supplier's service level on its demand using analytical models and laboratory experiments, this relationship has not, to the best of our knowledge, been tested in the field. We study how the supplier Hugo Boss's inventory service level affects demand from its retail customers. We find increases in historical service level to be associated with statistically significant and managerially substantial increases in current retailer orders (i.e., demand, not just sales). Specifically, upon controlling for other factors that might affect retailer demand, we find a 1 percent increase in this supplier's type 1 service level measured over the prior year to be associated with a 13 percent increase in current retailer demand. Further, we find that retailers that order frequently exhibit a larger reaction to changes in service level, an ...

REVISION: Modeling the Behavior of Patients Who Leave the ED Without Being Seen
Date Posted: Dec  17, 2014
Abandonment in queues has long been recognized as having a significant impact on system performance. Yet, our empirical understanding of the key drivers for abandonment, particularly in observable systems, is limited. Furthermore, most models of abandonment assume that it occurs after a length of time sampled from an exogenous distribution, with no dependence on the system. However, discrete-event simulation, a commonly used tool for decision making in service systems, permits much more complex (and hence accurate) models of abandonment than those simply based on time in system. This paper studies three key drivers of abandonment, namely, waiting time, queue-length, and service rate, which are also tractable for modeling. Using operational data from a hospital emergency department, we show that all three factors affect a patient’s propensity for leaving the waiting area without being seen by a physician (LWBS). Further, these factors interact with each other in a non-linear fashion. ...

REVISION: Execution Quality: An Analysis of Fulfillment Errors in a Retail Distribution Center
Date Posted: Dec  17, 2014
Purchase orders specify many aspects of the fulfillment process, including item quantity, delivery time, carton labeling, bar coding, electronic data interchange, retail ticketing, and others. These fulfillment terms are instrumental for highly optimized supply chains employing automation and techniques such as pack-by-store. When fulfilling a purchase order, a supplier may commit a fulfillment error, i.e., the supplier may fail to adhere to the terms specified by the relevant contract. We present a study of the fulfillment errors that occur in practice using data collected from a major retailer's distribution center. While fulfillment errors involving incorrect product quantities and delivery times have received the most attention in the literature, we find that the majority of fulfillment errors in the context we study involve documentation, bar coding, and retail ticketing. We refer to these as correctable fulfillment errors, since they are amended at the retailer's distribution ...

REVISION: Point-of-Care Testing: Improving Emergency Department Performance through Process Redesign
Date Posted: Dec  08, 2012
Hospital emergency departments (EDs) typically rely on central laboratories to analyze patient samples for the purposes of diagnosing and treating patients. Point-of-care testing (POCT) is a process redesign that shifts the analysis of samples from the central lab to the ED. Using a queueing model, we generate hypotheses about how POCT impacts operational performance and then test those hypotheses empirically using data collected from a large, urban, tertiary, academic hospital. Specifically, we

New: Supply Chain Optimization at Hugo Boss (B) - The M-Ratio
Date Posted: Jun  12, 2009
We evaluate the impact of a supply chain pilot implemented at Hugo Boss. This pilot entailed altering the way in which Hugo Boss orders from its suppliers. We explore the challenge of assessing the impact of supply chain change, the link between operational performance and firm performance, and the relationship between sales, inventory, and product availability.

New: Supply Chain Optimization at Hugo Boss (A)
Date Posted: Jun  12, 2009
Inventory, Order management cycle, Order processing, Order quantity, Lines of business, Product management, Consumer goods, Department stores, Retail stores, Retailers, Retailing, Supply chain management, Supply chains.