Whitman Voices

Introduction

Burak Kazaz Elected President-Elect of MSOM and Continues Sharing his Research on COVID-19 Vaccines and Wine Analytics

Burak Kazaz Elected President-Elect of MSOM and Continues Sharing his Research on COVID-19 Vaccines and Wine Analytics

Burak Kazaz has been an exceptional member of the Whitman School faculty since 2007. Much of his research includes mitigating risk in global supply chain operations, supply chain financing and designing socially-responsible supply chain operations. He is currently the Steven R. Becker Professor of SCM and The Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence. 

He also serves as the director for the Robert H. Brethen Operations Management Institute. Most recently he was elected as the MSOM Executive Vice President (EVP) and President-Elect by the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society (MSOM). In the next two years, Kazaz will serve for one year as the EVP and Deputy President and then assume the MSOM President role. Being elected to this position is the ultimate recognition and honor the MSOM Society bestows on trusted leading academics. Of course, with this position comes great responsibilities, which Kazaz will undoubtedly meet with great success. MSOM is one of the largest societies within the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS). He is the first from the Whitman School to hold a leadership position at either MSOM or INFORMS. 

“The INFORMS memberships consists of scholars from around the world, including business school faculty, engineers, mathematicians, information scientists and analytics experts. Some of the members are even Nobel laureates,” says Kazaz. “I am very honored to represent the Whitman School as I take on this role.” 

In addition, Kazaz has used his research to cast a bright spotlight on the Whitman School over the past year-and-a-half, as he shares his knowledge on a variety of topics—from the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain to wine analytics—with students, the University community and the national media. 

EXPLAINING THE VACCINE SUPPLY CHAIN 

In February 2021, Kazaz showcased his supply chain knowledge on what may be the topic of the century: the COVID-19 vaccine. At a time when only 8% of Americans had received two doses of the vaccine, he and two guest panelists, Syra Madad, a nationally recognized public health leader and epidemiologist; and Professor of Operations at INSEAD Prashant Yadav, INSEAD professor and fellow of the Harvard’s Kennedy Center School of Public Policy; presented COVID Vaccine Supply Chains. Part of the Syracuse University Talks Business Webinar Series, the presentation explained the many complex steps involved in producing and distributing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Kazaz stressed that even though the production cycle was reduced from 110 days to approximately 60 days, vaccine manufacturing is still time-consuming. He and the other panel members delved into the complexities of shipping the vaccines, particularly Pfizer’s, which required strict temperature control. As an interested audience listened in virtually, all three panelists stressed that universities like the Whitman School have a responsibility to contribute to future preparedness for similar crises by building a long-term talent pool of undergraduate and graduate students that not only considers supply chain logistics but also develops a passion for public service that will successfully impact health at the local, national and global levels. 

A TASTE OF WINE FUTURES 

Having established the area of wine analytics, Kazaz’s work on the pricing of wine futures has been highly influential in that industry, benefitting winemakers and distributors. In 2020, Kazaz and M. Hakan Hekimoglu G’14 (MAX), ’16 Ph.D., (Lally School of Management, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) released a report, “Analytics for Wine Futures: Realistic Prices” in Production and Operations Management. The report identified “best buys” for 2019 vintage Bordeaux wine futures known as “en primeur.” Using a price algorithm they developed, Kazaz and Hekimoglu identified 15 chateaus’ wine futures as a “strong buy,” or excellent deals, while seven others received a “buy” recommendation. 

“The 2019 vintage is an excellent vintage to invest in,” says Kazaz, citing several that were released more than 30% below their realistic values. “Together, these 2019 ‘en primeur’ prices are, undoubtedly, the best release prices in a long time.” 

The report cited three main reasons for the chateau’s decisions to reduce prices: COVID-19, which caused chateaus to have to ship bottle samples to tasting experts several months late; Brexit, which caused uncertainty in London’s fine wine trade; and potential tariffs. All of these factors impacted chateaus and negociants release prices for the 2019 vintage. 

Kazaz has represented his work and the Whitman School on numerous occasions on these and other topics in the local and national media, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Financial Times and Bloomberg. In addition, his publications have received numerous best paper awards reflecting the impact and quality of his scholarly projects.