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The COVID-19 crisis has undoubtedly shifted our lives in a myriad of ways, including how we work. While more than twenty percent are out of work due to COVID-related layoffs, the global pandemic has forced the eighty percent still working to either perform their responsibilities remotely or to work in a facility while trying to maintain social distance (along with additional new best practices like increased sanitation or shift staggering). Regardless of where we are doing our work, one thing is certain: we have all had to adapt.
Hello, everyone. My name is Hyunwoo Park, and I am an assistant professor in the Management Sciences department. One of my focus areas of research and teaching is to use and teach the power of visualization in digesting a pile of data. It’s my pleasure to say hello to you through this short piece.
*The opinions and thoughts expressed in this article are my own and not necessarily those of my employers or any other individuals.
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Many failure modes have been attributed to the awful mess that has occurred across the US in supplying frontline healthcare workers and other first responders with sufficient protective equipment (PPE).  There is plenty of blame to go around but one of the suspects often cited as a possible causal factor is Just-in-Time inventory practices (for example, this Wall Street Journal article).  I would argue for a not guilty verdict.
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How can we leverage data analytics to help us make informed decisions during this COVID-19 crisis? Access to real-time data on COVID-19 cases can help us determine potential hotspots, allocate resources (e.g., test kits, masks, and other protective gear) to those areas and prevent the spread of the virus to other locations. But we should always be mindful of the limitations of data, and what is hidden from it. What is the data not telling us?