Leroy B. Schwarz

May 12, 1941 – December 16, 2023

Brief Biography

Schwarz Fellow Portrait

After earning a BA (Chemistry), MBA, and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Leroy B (Lee) Schwarz joined the faculty of the Amos Tuck School, Dartmouth College, in 1970.  He moved to the University of Rochester in 1973, and then to the Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, in 1977.  In 2005 he was named the Louis A. Weil, Jr., Professor of Management there.  Lee retired from active teaching and research in 2012.  While at Purdue Lee served several major leadership roles, among them, he was the founding Director for the Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises and the Academic Director for the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering.

Schwarz is universally recognized for a series of influential research contributions.  His earliest work was on deterministic-demand multi-echelon inventory problems. This work, based on his dissertation,A One-Warehouse N-Retailer Distribution System,extends the most fundamental inventory model, the economic-order-quantity (EOQ) model, to inventory systems with multiple stocking points.  Schwarz’s contributions were fundamental to the development of this area, and are now classics.

Schwarz has also done fundamental research on automated storage and retrieval systems.  In a series of papers Lee and his co-authors, Warren H. Hausman and Stephen C. Graves establish the practical effectiveness of a class-based storage-assignment policy.  One key finding is that the performance of systems with only two or three classes can be near optimal.

Schwarz continued his multi-echelon research with a number of important models of stochastic-demand problems involving a single warehouse and multiple retailers.  The challenge here is how best to model the interplay between the central warehouse and the local retail sites. In particular, one needs to characterize the effect on the service level at the retail sites from inventory shortages at the warehouse.  This body of work is quite important work as it provides a sound basis for understanding these types of inventory systems, as well as for finding effective operational policies.

Schwarz’s most recent research examines the supply chains for healthcare supplies.  These supply chains are unusual because of the dominant role played by Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs).  GPOs negotiate with manufacturers on behalf of their member-providers (e.g., hospitals), the goal being to achieve the purchasing power of the group. 

Schwarz edited, authored, and co-authored a number of books and research papers. His research interests have included supply-chain strategy, manufacturing management, and secure supply-chain collaboration. In 1981, he edited Multi-Level Production/Inventory Control Systems: Theory and Practice of The Institute of Management Sciences (TIMS) studies in the management sciences series. Lee went on to coauthor two more books , one on the creation of micro-computer models and one on the teaching of operations management.

Schwarz is an extraordinary teacher and mentor. He has been recognized with teaching awards on more than a dozen occasions by the Krannert Masters program. He authored several teaching cases and exercises.  He has supervised or been a mentor for more than two dozen doctoral students.

Schwarz’s commitment to education is evidenced by his efforts, with Kalyan Singhal, in organizing the 1996 POM conference in Indianapolis, with a theme “Teaching POM: Visions, Topics, and Pedagogies.” This conference attracted 250 participants who came together to share their practices and innovations on teaching POM, and discuss their visions for the future on POM education.  To capture the good ideas from the conference, Lee and Kalyan edited a special issue of Production and Operations Management (POM).  This issue highlights many of the challenges of teaching POM, many of which remain current today. The issue also provides thought-provoking approaches to addressing these challenges, one of which is the I/C/B paradigm that Lee developed.  The information/control/buffer (I/C/B) portfolio is a very effective framework for understanding operations and explaining the challenges facing an operations manager.  For any operation, there is an information element (what is known and how accurately as to demand , capacity, cost of the operation); a control element (what the planning and control decisions are and how they get made); and a buffer element (what countermeasures are available to deal with poor information or inadequate control). 

Finally, Schwarz has provided valuable service in various editorial assignments.  The most significant of these was as the founding editor-in-chief of Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (M&SOM). Lee was exceptional in this role, setting the vision and the standards for the journal, building community support and interest, and delivering a high-quality product.  "It was a considerable challenge to start M&SOM",according to Lee, "POM was already well established and Management Science and Operations Research were already publishing lots of articles in operations management.  I continue to feel honored to have been chosen its founding editor-in-chief."

 In 2011, Lee released his first CD, Blue Another Friday Night (link to YouTube video), a collection of songs, some of which he has been performing since college.

Other Biographies

American Production and Inventory Control Society. Michiana Chapter of APICS Presenter Bio: Professor Leroy Schwarz. (link

Purdue University Krannert School of Management. Faculty Directory: Leroy B. Schwarz. Accessed June 4, 2015. (link)


University of Chicago, BA 1963

University of Chicago, MBA 1967

University of Chicago, PhD 1972 (Mathematics Genealogy)


Academic Affiliations

Key Interests in OR/MS

Application Areas

Memoirs and Autobiographies


Purdue University Krannert School of Management. Leroy B. Schwarz Home Page. Accessed June 4, 2015. (link

Awards and Honors

Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society Distinguished Service Award 2001

INFORMS Service Award 2002

Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellow 2005

Selected Publications

Schwarz L. B. (1973) A simple continuous review deterministic one-warehouse N-retailer inventory problem. Management Science, 19(5): 555-566.

Schrage L. & Schwarz L. B. (1975) Optimal and system myopic policies for multi-echelon production/inventory assembly systems. Management Science, 21(11): 1285-1294.

Graves S. C., Hausman W. H., & Schwarz L. B. (1976) Optimal storage assignment in automatic warehousing systems. Management Science, 22(6): 629-638.

Graves S. C., Hausman W. H., & Schwarz L. B. (1977) Storage-retrieval interleaving in automatic warehousing systems. Management Science, 23(9): 935-945.

Graves S. C, Hausman W. H., Schwarz L. B. (1978) Scheduling policies for automatic warehousing systems: simulation results. AIIE Transactions, 10(3): 260-270.

Schwarz L. B., ed. (1981) Multi-Level Production/Inventory Control Systems: Theory and Practice. North-Holland: Amsterdam.

Schwarz L. B. (1986) Micro-Computer Models for Operations Management. University of Virginia Press: Charlottesville, VA.

Schwarz L. B. (1989) A model for assessing the value of warehouse risk-pooling: risk-pooling over outside-supplier leadtimes. Management Science, 35(7): 828-842.

Schwarz L. B. & Singhal K. (1998) Teaching Production/Operations Management: Vision, Topics, and Pedagogies. Production and Operations Management Society: Washington, DC.

Dada M., Petruzzi N. C., & Schwarz L. B. (2007) A newsvendor's procurement problem when suppliers are unreliable. Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 9(1): 9-32.

Additional Resources

Purdue University News. Purdue trustees approve new vice provost, honor 4 professors. Published June 30, 2015. Accessed June 4, 2015. (link