Amrou Awaysheh, OneAmerica Foundation Endowed Chair and associate professor of operations and supply chain management, is among eight IUPUI faculty members honored as 2023 Research Frontiers Trailblazers. Awaysheh is the first Kelley School of Business Indianapolis faculty member who’s received this annual award from the Indianapolis campus’s vice chancellor for research.
The award recognizes associate professors in the first three years of their academic appointment who have made exceptional research contributions in their field. This year’s recipients mark the largest group of honorees in the award’s history, joining 35 others who have been recognized since the award’s inception in 2010.
Awaysheh’s research focuses on how firms leverage and understand their data, enhancing their operations and supply chains to improve their financial performance. He examines how firms integrate and manage socially responsible practices in their operations and supply chains to enhance profitability and improve firm valuations. Two recent research projects focused on reducing industrial water and studying employee performance feedback and its relationship to productivity.
Awaysheh is the executive director of the IU Business Sustainability and Innovation Lab, which he founded in 2021 to help companies understand and implement sustainable practices. He also is the founding director of the IU IoT Energy Efficiency Lab, and he teaches in the Evening MBA and Physician MBA programs. His course on operations management is required by all students. He also teaches a course on technology and innovation as well as Sustainable Operations. In the Physician MBA Program, Amrou leads the operations management course, which introduces physicians to operations management concepts and tools they can use to produce better quality care, lower costs and increase revenue. Ultimately, he is teaching Kelley students how to create value in an organization through sustainability, process improvement and strategic thinking.
Awaysheh has managed over 70 global corporate social responsibility initiatives that address how companies integrate sustainability within their operations and supply chains by eliminating waste to landfills; decreasing energy consumption and carbon emissions; reducing water extraction; and improving stakeholder livelihoods. He frequently consults with corporate boards on sustainability strategies. These projects also have an impact on firm finances by having increased machine availability, higher employee productivity, lower resource consumption, and higher production quality. The cumulative impact of Awaysheh’s research has resulted in savings of more than $2.3 billion and revenue increases of more than $1.8 billion. Combined, these projects directed over $554 million of investments. In addition to these financial impacts, these projects had a positive impact on the environment. To date, the combined impact that these projects have is that they prevented over 34.67 million tons of CO2 emissions, diverted more than 6.56 million tons pounds of waste and plastics from landfills, prevented the extraction of 134 billion gallons of water, and reduced more than 152 trillion British thermal unit (BTU) of energy.
“What makes my research different is we’re looking at specific practices that companies are implementing. With real time data, we can see results quite quickly and adjust if needed,” Awaysheh said. “Another unique component is we’re engaging with companies, so our data is not something theoretical or a book exercise. We’re actually on the factory floor, understanding the supply chains, in the trucks, understanding what behaviors are being put in place, and seeing how we can improve them.”
Awaysheh’s work centers on how a firm leverages its data, he has worked on the installation of energy smart meters, which gather consumption data from roughly 250 facilities across the globe generating more than 30 billion data points.
“We’ve since grown what we do, we and now are involved in the digitization of entire factories. This allows managers to have a true digital twin and better understanding of what is happening and allows companies to leverage AI,” Awaysheh said. As part of the digitization, data is collected on employee performance and machine metrics that help predict when machines need preventative maintenance. Data from these categories are measured by sensors and AI technology and populated in real time to online dashboards that Awaysheh’s team monitors.
Awaysheh hopes his legacy is helping to reshape how society views sustainability. “I want to help society understand how strategic sustainable practices generate value for everyone. When we can do that, we’ll make the world a better place,” he said.
Awaysheh holds a PhD in operations management, an MBA, and a bachelor’s degree in international politics and relations from the University of Western Ontario Richard Ivey School of Business.