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Nada  Sanders

Nada Sanders

Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University


She is Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management at Northeastern University, Fellow of the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), President of the Production & Operations Management Society (POMS) and serves on the Board of Economic Advisors of Association of Industries of Massachusetts (AIM). She is author of Operations Management, 8th edition, Foundations of Sustainable Business, 2nd edition, Supply Chain Analytics, Supply Chain Management, 3rd edition, and Big Data Driven Supply Chain Management. Her most recent book, The Humachine, has won numerous awards, including the Top Innovation Books of 2020 (Taylor & Francis) and Outstanding Book Category 2019. Read More >

Dr. Sanders is an award-winning keynote speaker, author and scholar. She was ranked as the world’s top 2% of scientists in her discipline by a 2020 Stanford Study, ranked in the top eight percent of individuals in the field of operations and supply chain management and is the author of over 120 articles appearing in top tier journals. Her recent paper titled “The Secret to AI is People,” was published in Harvard Business Review, Special Issue on Best of HBR. Her paper titled “How to Use Big Data to Drive Your Supply Chain,” (California Management Review) was the most downloaded paper for 2017 and listed as a “must read.” She holds a Ph.D. in Operations Management and Supply Chain Management, and an MBA, from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, as well as a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Sanders is also on the Board of Economic Advisors of AIM (Association of Industries of Massachusetts). She is part of the development of the Business Confidence Index (BCI) that helps business navigate, and is doing extensive ongoing work on predictions for the year ahead for the economy (local and global), business climate and trends. 

Dr. Sanders has extensive consulting and executive training experience, having worked with companies such as NIKEiD, IDC, AT&T, MTC Corporation, and others. She is a frequently called upon as an expert witness and has worked with firms such as Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, and Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease, among others. She has been part of The Gordon Cook Conversations at Windsor Castle, an invitation-only group that brings together top leaders from around the globe seen as 'stars' in their field to develop strategies on how to impact society in the coming decade. She recently joined the Board of Economic Advisors of Association of Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), tasked with economic forecasts and how to build resilience in organizations and supply chains. Recently, she was part of a group of experts polled by TIME magazine for its article “A Blueprint for Preventing Another Pandemic.”

Throughout her career Dr. Sanders has successfully held a range of leadership roles in both academic and professional organizations and has served on numerous executive boards. She has provided training and consulting to a range of Fortune 500 companies, including IDG, Nike, AT&T, CIBA Corning, Mattel, Schottenstein Corp., Cognitive TPG, MTC Corp., Dell, and many others, and is a frequently called upon keynote speaker and expert witness having worked with firms such as Jones Day; Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease; and others. Most notably she served for Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP providing expert testimony and deposition in the Mattel vs. MGA case regarding forecasting process, information technology use and impact of data presentation on decision making. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Technology is Not the Answer

Hedging Against the Big Three | CNBC

Do We Trust Humans or AI to Make Decisions?

Why Did Global Supply Chain Fail?

COVID-19 Resilience Talk: Supply Chain Disruption in the Pharmaceuticals Industry

The New Normal

Virtual Keynote: The Role of Humans in the Implementation of AI

Speech Topics

The State of Our Supply Chains: Now and Beyond

The COVID pandemic has shown the world how vulnerable our supply chains are, creating unprecedented disruptions across all industry sectors. We have seen business interruptions, stockouts and shortages that have put entire economies at risk. In this essential talk, Dr. Nada Sanders, the foremost authority on helping companies rebuild their supply chains, offers specific strategies companies should be taking now and into the future. She also covers what investors should examine when assessing supply chain risk and resiliency, using her proprietary supplier risk index. Leveraging experience with a range of industries (pharma, medical supplies, high tech, agriculture, food and more), Dr. Sanders tailors her presentations to address audience focus and concerns. Read More >

Subjects may include: Read Less ^

  • How to pandemic-proof your supply chain: Where are the common points of supply chain failure among companies? Which mitigation strategies are proving most effective?
  • Is “just in time” still viable? Building resiliency and redundancy, developing caveats to lean systems.
  • Evaluating supply chain risk in suppliers, companies, and industries.
  • Changing structures and strategies when rebuilding, e.g. global vs local; extra inventories and redundancies; and cooperation and “co-opetition” within industry groups.
  • Ways forward and preparing for the future: Retooling worker skills, technology investment and digitization, using ideation, finding ways to pivot.

Disruption is the "New Normal": Is Your Organization Ready?

As the world’s leading authority on forecasting and global supply chain management, Dr. Nada Sanders has become the go-to expert on predicting economic trends and helping companies prepare for the future. The originator of the term “Coronavirus Downturn,” she has been interviewed by numerous news outlets, including CNN, BBC, the New York Times, The Economist, The Atlantic, Fortune, The Boston Globe and virtually every influential source of intelligence for today’s corporate directors, predicting economic and business outcomes. Dr. Sanders now predicts a ‘new normal’ economic environment filled with crises and the need for organizations to quickly become more resilient. Read More >

In this comprehensive talk, which can be tailored to the concerns of specific audiences, Dr. Sanders provides a worldwide assessment of new normal global environment —with riveting forecasts of what’s likely to come and how companies should prepare.

Dr. Sanders explains what companies did wrong pre-pandemic, specific lessons that can be learned and not repeated, and how to use this knowledge to become more resilient as an enterprise for the future that is coming.

She cautions that the future will not look like the past and she discusses specific strategies companies should use to prepare. “This will require reimagining business strategy, building resilience into supply chains, and being ready to pivot.” In this keynote talk, she explains to business leaders exactly what they need to do now to prepare. Read Less ^

This is the Human Era

Forget your fears about the rise of AI, robotics, blockchains, IoT and other technologies “botsourcing” our jobs. Instead, get ready for a golden age when humans are empowered to flourish, emotional connections are paramount and authenticity is essential. According to futurist, AI expert and business professor Dr. Nada Sanders, we are at the dawn of the Human Era. In the Human Era, machines are just tools doing automated, repetitive, and standardized tasks. Uniquely human qualities such as creativity, innovation, adaptability, empathy, integrity, and imagination will not only rule the day, but be heightened by technology. Afterall, machines will never fix bad processes, poor management practices, or failing employee morale. Innovation, strategy and connections with co-workers and customers will never be taken over by machines. Dr Sanders. provides an illuminating look ahead at a people-focused future in which humans and uniquely human qualities continue to advance our enterprises, society and economy.

The Future of Work

Technology is changing every aspect of how we work. Robots are quickly becoming our new co-workers and many jobs are being ‘botsourced’ – with human jobs now being done by machines. However, the future is actually exciting for humans. There are so many human skills that machines will not be able to acquire. There are also many new jobs being created that we would never have imagined in the past. Read More >

In this cutting-edge presentation, Dr. Nada Sanders helps you get ready. She forecasts what the future of work will really look like, including: Read Less ^

  • Key trends that will shape work in the coming decade.
  • What everyone in the workforce needs to do to prepare
  • How to “robot-proof” their career--from lifelong learning to developing key human literacies
  • The human advantage in the technology era, such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, communication, teamwork, systems and entrepreneurial thinking, and developing their emotional intelligence

Humachines are the Future of Enterprise

The “Humachine” is the enterprise of the future. It combines the unique talents of humankind (such as creativity and innovation), with the mechanical efficiencies of machines (economies of scale, big data processing, and artificial intelligence). Here, machines and humans are coworkers – working side by side—leveraging their unique strengths. This new organizational form combines humans and machines in a symbiotic relationship. Read More >

The Humachine is not science fiction. It is already here. Many leading companies are already exhibiting Humachine traits and enterprises need to evolve or they will perish. Dr. Sanders’ research uncovers that Humachine traits actually focus less on technology and more on human talent.  In fact, the single differentiator of technological enterprise success lies in having the right human resource qualities at all levels – leaders, managers, doers. It also requires having the right organizational culture. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the best way to take advantage of emerging AI technology is for enterprises to invest more in their human resources – in reskilling, upskilling and lifelong learning.

With invaluable insights for business and industry, Dr. Sanders draws upon her book,  The Humachine (which has been shortlisted by the Taylor & Francis Group for their Outstanding Book Award), unveils what the future of enterprise will look like. She also examines the key enterprise traits of a Humachine, and what everyone must do to prepare for this tectonic shift in the competitive landscape. Read Less ^

Leadership in the Digital Age

The digital era requires all enterprises to evolve or they will perish – and this rests on the shoulders of leadership. Leadership in the digital age requires a different set of skills than in the analog age. Dr. Nada Sanders’ research finds the key to enterprise success in the digital age rests on the right human qualities and the right organizational culture. It also finds that many executives are still taking either a “wait and see approach” to technology or seeing it as a “plug and play” solution. According to Dr. Sanders, neither are going to work. Leading an enterprise in the digital age requires understanding the seismic shift occurring in the competitive landscape. Read More >

Dr. Sanders examines: Read Less ^

  • The importance of a vision beyond profits that everyone can rally around
  • Selecting and nurturing the right talent—and its critical role
  • Championing a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and empowering others
  • Creating a fluid and flexible organizational structure