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Ravi Subramanian - Scheller College of Business - Georgia Tech. Atlanta, GA, US

Ravi Subramanian Ravi Subramanian

Associate Professor of Operations Management | Scheller College of Business at Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Subramanian's research is at the intersection of operations/supply chain decisions and environmental sustainability.





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Ravi Subramanian is an Associate Professor of Operations Management at the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. His research interests are at the intersections of operations/supply chain decisions and environmental sustainability, with recent interests in healthcare operations and social sustainability. Dr. Subramanian's research in sustainability interfaces operations/supply chain management with public policy, strategy, marketing, and industrial ecology, and spans three categories: (1) environmental legislation in supply chains; (2) closed-loop supply chain management; and (3) market value and effectiveness of corporate sustainability efforts.

Dr. Subramanian’s teaching interests are in core operations/supply chain management concepts and their interrelationships with economic, environmental, and social sustainability. He currently teaches the core operations management courses in the evening and executive MBA programs, and an elective course on business sustainability and shared value at the undergraduate level. He also conducts sessions on demand-driven supply chain planning in supply chain leadership programs for Coca-Cola, Clorox, and Georgia-Pacific. Dr. Subramanian’s research has been published in Journal of Industrial Ecology, Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, and Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, and has been cited in Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, Reuters, and Yahoo Finance, among others.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Healthcare Operations

Closed-Loop Supply Chain Management

Environmental Legislation in Supply Chains

Market Value and Effectiveness of Corporate Sustainability Efforts

Selected Accomplishments (3)

Brady Family Award for Faculty Teaching Excellence

Scheller College of Business, 2014

James F. Frazier Award for Teaching Excellence

Scheller College of Business, 2009

Paul Kleindorfer Award in Sustainability

Scheller College of Business, 2012. Awarded for “young scholars who have distinguished themselves through the breadth and innovativeness of their scholarly work on questions related to sustainable operations and the social and environmental impact of business.”

Education (4)

University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business: Ph.D., Operations and Management Science

University of Michigan: M.S., Industrial and Operations Engineering

Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai - Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management: MBA, Management

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani: B.E., Mechanical Engineering

Affiliations (1)

  • Production and Operations Management : Department Editor for the Sustainable Operations Department

Selected Media Appearances (2)

Shining a light on toxic chemicals curbs industrial use

Phys.org  online


The annual federal report on toxic material emissions from industrial sites across the country gains widespread media attention and serves as a reminder of the potential environmental impacts of industrial activities.

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Do Markets Really Respond to Corporate Sustainability Efforts?

GreenBiz  online


Many firms have undertaken proactive environmental initiatives in recent years -- consider Wal-Mart's efforts to increase energy conservation and, more recently, their sustainable supply chain initiatives. But, does the market see these activities as good value relative to other investment options?

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Selected Articles (6)

Shining a light on toxic chemicals curbs industrial use Phys.org

Georgia Institute of Technology, Ravi Subramanian and Basak Kalkanci


The annual federal report on toxic material emissions from industrial sites across the country gains widespread media attention and serves as a reminder of the potential environmental impacts of industrial activities.

But a team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology wondered whether federal regulators can persuade companies to abandon toxic chemicals by simply highlighting that information.

The answer appears to be yes, according to a study they published May 17 in the journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management. The researchers cross-referenced federal reports on emissions of toxic chemicals with another report that ranks the relative dangers of hundreds of chemicals.

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Remanufacturing and the component commonality decision Production and Operations Management

Subramanian, Ravi, Mark E. Ferguson, and L. Beril Toktay


Firms often determine whether or not to make components common across products by focusing on the manufacturing and sales of new products only. However, component commonality decisions that ignore remanufacturing can adversely affect the profitability of the firm. In this article we analyze how remanufacturing could reverse the OEM's commonality decision that is based on the manufacturing and sales of new products only. Specifically, we determine the conditions under which the OEM's optimal decision on commonality may be reversed and illustrate how her profit can be significantly higher if remanufacturing is taken into account ex ante. We illustrate the implementation of our model for two products in the Apple™ family.

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Extended producer responsibility for e‐waste: Individual or collective producer responsibility? Production and Operations Management

Atasu, Atalay, and Ravi Subramanian


We investigate the implications of collective and individual producer responsibility (CPR and IPR, respectively) models of product take‐back laws for e‐waste on manufacturers’ design for product recovery (DfR) choices and profits, and on consumer surplus in the presence of product competition. We show that IPR offers superior DfR incentives as compared to CPR, and provides a level competitive ground. CPR may distort competition and allow free‐riding on DfR efforts to reduce product recovery costs. Thus, manufacturer preferences for IPR or CPR may differ because of the free‐riding implications under CPR, with even high‐end manufacturers having incentives to free‐ride under certain competitive conditions. The policy choice between IPR and CPR is not clear cut from an economic welfare perspective. This choice involves a comparison between the effects of superior recovery cost reduction through improved DfR under IPR and the operational cost‐efficiency under CPR.

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Sharing responsibility for product recovery across the supply chain Production and Operations Management

Jacobs, Brian W., and Ravi Subramanian


Extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs typically hold the producer—a single actor defined by the regulator—responsible for the environmental impacts of end‐of‐life products. This is despite emphasis on the need to involve all actors in the supply chain in order to best achieve the aims of EPR. In this paper, we examine the economic and environmental implications of product recovery mandates and shared responsibility within a supply chain. We use a two‐echelon model consisting of a supplier and a manufacturer to determine the impacts of product collection and recycling mandates on the incentive to recycle and resulting profits in the integrated and decentralized supply chains. For the decentralized supply chain, we demonstrate how the sharing of responsibility for product recovery between the echelons can improve total supply chain profit and suggest a contract menu that can Pareto‐improve profits. To examine both the economic and environmental performance associated with responsibility sharing, we propose a social welfare construct that includes supply chain profit, consumer surplus, and the externalities associated with virgin material extraction, product consumption, and disposal of nonrecycled products. Using a numerical example, we discuss how responsibility sharing may or may not improve social welfare. The results of this paper are of value to firms either anticipating or subject to product recovery legislation, and to social planners that attempt to balance economic and environmental impacts and ensure fairness of such legislation.

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An approach to integrating environmental considerations within managerial decision‐making Journal of Industrial Ecology

Subramanian, Ravi, Brian Talbot, and Sudheer Gupta


Recent environmental trends, including (1) an expansion of existing command and control directives, (2) the introduction of market‐based policy instruments, and (3) the adoption of extended producer responsibility, have created a need for new tools to help managerial decision‐making. To address this need, we develop a nonlinear mathematical programming model from a profit‐maximizing firm's perspective, which can be tailored as a decision‐support tool for firms facing environmental goals and constraints. We typify our approach using the specific context of diesel engine manufacturing and remanufacturing. Our model constructs are based on detailed interviews with top managers from two leading competitors in the medium and heavy‐duty diesel engine industry. The approach allows the incorporation of traditional operations‐planning considerations—in particular, capacity, production, and inventory—together with environmental considerations that range from product design through production to product end of life. A current hurdle to implementing such a model is the availability of input data. We therefore highlight the need not only to involve all departments within businesses but also for industrial ecologists and business managers to work together to implement meaningful decision models that are based on accurate and timely data and can have positive economic and environmental impact.

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Product Design and Supply Chain Coordination Under Extended Producer Responsibility Production and Operations Management

Subramanian, Ravi, Sudheer Gupta, and Brian Talbot


Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation focuses on the life‐cycle environmental performance of products and has significant implications for management theory and practice. In this paper, we examine the influence of EPR policy parameters on product design and coordination incentives in a durable product supply chain. We model a manufacturer supplying a remanufacturable product to a customer over multiple periods. The manufacturer invests in two design attributes of the product that impact costs incurred by the supply chain—performance, which affects the environmental impact of the product during use, and remanufacturability, which affects the environmental impact post‐use. Consistent with the goals of EPR policies, the manufacturer and the customer are required to share the environmental costs incurred over the product's life cycle. The customer has a continuing need for the services of the product and optimizes between the costs of product replacement and the costs incurred during use. We demonstrate how charges during use and post‐use can be used as levers to encourage environmentally favorable product design. We analyze the impact of supply chain coordination on design choices and profit and discuss contracts that can be used to achieve coordination, both under symmetric and asymmetric information about customer attributes.

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