In today’s global economy, businesses look to the field of mathematical modeling to tackle complex supply-chain issues. This is a vital piece to helping businesses create value in their products or services—a field of work that is ever changing and ever in demand, and it is where you will find Aaron Nsakanda forging an influential path.

Nsakanda has moved the area of operations and supply chain management research to the next level with extensive contributions in industry and theoretical research in academia. A long-standing professor since 2001, his expertise is in mathematical modeling and discrete event simulations to find a quantitative basis for making optimal operational decisions within a business application.

Aaron L. Nsakanda is an Associate Professor of Management Science and Operations Management at the Sprott School of Business.

After completing his PhD in Logistics and Manufacturing Management and a master’s degree in Operations Management, Nsakanda worked for three years as a senior operations research consultant in the airline industry. Here, he made major contributions in areas such as cargo operations, airport resource management, manpower planning and scheduling, and his most notable project, working on the Aeroplan loyalty rewards program. With this work, he effectively helped guide the merger of two loyalty programs and subsequently transformed the loyalty program from a department within an airline company to an independent company whose brand has become one of Canada’s largest coalition loyalty programs to date. This work, along with his research program at Carleton, earned him a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery grant for “Advanced planning models in managing Coalition Loyalty Programs,” in 2015; the sole grantee of this highly competitive grant program at Sprott in recent years!

Nsakanda’s research umbrella encompasses quantitative modeling using a number of methodologies — all which represent real-world operations challenges. A wonderful element to his program is his continuing work and partnership with industry and business leaders. Nsakanda’s expertise is his ability to pull from his mathematical toolbox to design a simulated, or real-time, applicable model as the conduit to tackle today’s supplychain complexities. It is a synergistic approach to work alongside and to create a partnership with a business to develop and understand where problems and inefficiencies in any aspect of the supply chain exist in order to provide solutions.

Nsakanda worked with NAV Canada (the company that owns and operates Canadian and oceanic airspace) to develop a simulation-based methodology for optimizing the efficiencies in staffing levels of flight information centers across the country. As well, he was later involved in creating an analytical tool to assess the delay impacts to aircrafts operating at the airport resulting from changes in business operation practices of subsystems such as runways, airspace, and communications.

His quantitative modeling approach is multifunctional and can extend from one industry to the next. Nsakanda has also done work in manufacturing, as well as in the health care industry where he has used a simulation modeling approach to understand workflow changes in hospitals. Graduate students looking to further their knowledge and experience in the operational science field would do well to consider an opportunity to work under the tutelage of Nsakanda, a visionary, while at the same time, have the unique opportunity to work on breakthrough projects with industry players, developing important relationships, and invaluable practical experience.

A further testament to his expertise, Nsakanda is one of a selected few of elite high-level professionals and industry leaders that help determine the direction and research objectives of the Aviation Think Tank at Concordia University. Through this, and as a contributing aspect to Think Tank, he has set-up a research program at Carleton that focuses on Canadian airport structure and governance.

A world away, Nsakanda’s life-long journey in higher learning began with a close friend in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. After both graduating from high school, they set their sights on an Engineering degree in Agro- Business Economics, followed by an MBA—and attending a FIFA World Cup game together! Receiving an international scholarship to Canada to complete an Engineering degree in Forest Management, and subsequently his PhD, was a game-changer for Nsakanda, and it is here in Canada, at Carleton University, that he’s made his roots, and continues to make his mark in the management science arena. Although Nsakanda has not yet had the opportunity to attend a FIFA game, he and his family enjoy travelling around the US to watch his son play Division 1 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) volleyball. He also aspires to write a book about the people and his community where he grew up—only a world away.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in ,
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