Great possibilities in applying Data Science to supply chain management, says Prof Jacomine Grobler

How can you apply data to make the best decisions? This is what drives Prof Jacomine Grobler who joined the Department of Industrial Engineering on 1 February 2019 as Associate Professor. Her area of expertise is the optimisation of data science within the field of industrial engineering.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity that has come my way,’ she says. “I am excited about all the possibilities our Department has in applying data science to the fields of supply chain management and industrial engineering.”

With her background she is an ideal candidate to join the newly-established Data Science research group led by the incumbent of the Voigt Chair in Data Science, Prof Andries Engelbrecht.

Prof Grobler was born and raised in Pretoria. “I decided to study engineering as the work is creative and requires good problem-solving skills. Furthermore, I opted for Industrial Engineering in particular, because it is people oriented and there are vast opportunities in industry for industrial engineers.”

She obtained all her industrial engineering degrees at the University of Pretoria (UP): BEng 2006, HonsBEng 2007, MEng 2009 and PhD 2015. Whilst busy with her postgraduate studies she worked as a junior lecturer at UP between 2007 and 2008.

During her study career, she received 12 awards. These include the Department of Industrial and System Engineering prize for the best final-year project; Medal from the South African Institute of Industrial Engineering for the best final-year Industrial Engineering student; Winner of the SAS Operations Research National Student Competition best honours project; South African Association for the Advancement of Science Bronze medal for the best dissertation at master’s level at the University of Pretoria; and the 2017 South African Institute for Industrial Engineering Award for Outstanding Young Industrial Engineering Researcher.

From August 2008 to March 2014 she was employed by Denel Dynamics Pty Ltd. Thereafter she joined the CSIR as research group leader: Transport and Freight Logistics. In October 2015 she returned to academia, this time as lecturer in supply chain management at UP.

“Our Department has numerous research opportunities in supply chain management for postgraduate students,” says Prof Grobler. I now have several students working on delivery performance prediction, manufacturing processes and drone scheduling. I will also lecture Production Management to second-year students.”

After spending her whole life in Pretoria, she now looks forward to building a life in Stellenbosch and exploring the new environment with her two beloved Labradors. “I am an enthusiastic mountain biker and cannot wait to discover the beautiful trails around Stellenbosch!”


Prof Jacomine Grobler.