7th Annual Deloitte OES Prize for Optimizing Mexican Restaurant

© 2019 EPFL

© 2019 EPFL

The 2019 Deloitte OES Prize for the best student project in Prof. Weber’s graduate course “Operations: Economics and Strategy” was awarded to Andres ENGELS, Máximo JARA JARA, and Maina ORCHAMPT-MARESCHAL. The Deloitte OES Prize competition, which involves finding operational improvements in local businesses, has been awarded each year since 2013 rendering the 2019 edition the 7th year of uninterrupted cooperation between Deloitte and the EPFL Chair of Operations, Economics and Strategy.

The winning team’s project report, entitled “Demand, Inventory and Information Management at Mexicana Lausanne” starts off with a survey-based demand analysis, followed by a product-portfolio (Pareto) analysis, based on a year of high-resolution point-of-sales (POS) data. The team then focuses on the management of inputs for various key ingredients, such as cheese, beef, and beer, balancing supply and uncertain demand, and trading off fixed ordering cost with the variable cost of holding inventory. The students also proposed the use of an inventory-management software, the introduction of a tasting menu, and special pricing for students.

The first runner-up project for the Deloitte OES Prize was “INM Sandwiches: Supply Chain Performance and Price Optimization,” by Noé Schmutz, Pierre-Emmanuel Terrier, and Nicolas Feppon. The team analyzed the consumers’ queuing behavior for sandwiches at a well-known EPFL cafeteria and suggested adjustments in pricing and facility layout to increase throughput and overall profitability. The second runner-up was a study of the Totem Climbing Gym located in Ecublens (near EPFL) by Amirsiavosh Bashardoust, Amara Slaymaker, and Thibaut van Lambaart. The team looked at a number of pricing and fidelity pass options and improvements, and proposed various methods to increase capacity utilization including the facility’s awareness of its customers using RFID-enabled membership cards.

Overall, 16 teams participated in the Deloitte OES Prize competition.
The projects’ objective was to identify potential operational improvements in regional Swiss (or possibly international) companies. In addition to those already named, the projects included: inventory-management optimization and e-commerce strategy for François Sports (a traditional retailer in Morges); inventory optimization and pricing for Lemoncha (a tea retailer in Lausanne and Geneva); a growth plan for Hectron (a French manufacturer of customized water filtration systems); optimal ordering policies for La Nébuleuse (an artisanal microbrewery in Renens); price discrimination and order-system optimization for Le Lacustre (a lakeside restaurant in Ouchy, Lausanne); pricing and car-parts ordering for a gas station in New Caledonia (a French territory of islands in the South Pacific); inventory optimization and competitive analysis for Au Paradis du Fromage (a cheese retailer in Lausanne); product portfolio rebalancing and labor-force optimization for Keuffer Sàrl (a medium-sized regional producer of vegetables and fruit); an enterprise-value map and portfolio optimization for Monsieur Alain (a fashion retailer in Lausanne and Geneva); a re-optimization of delivery zones for Mr. Pizza (a venerable pizza delivery service in Morges and Gland); a detailed simulation and optimization of queuing behavior at Ornithorynque (a popular student restaurant at EPFL); book distribution strategies for PPUR (Presses Polytechniques Universitaires Romandes, also known as EPFL Press); and, a time-based optimization of digitized homecare service provision for Ouay (an emerging digital platform for care of the elderly).

This year’s jury was composed of: Aakash Deep, Director with Deloitte and head of their Digital Supply Chain initiative in Switzerland; Frederic Pili, Senior Manager with Deloitte; Quentin Le Guennec, Senior Consultant with Deloitte; and Prof. Thomas Weber. The members of the prize jury read the written reports, and evaluated them on a grid of criteria, including “business concept” (identification of relevant needs and the use of a quantitative model), “business case” (expected benefits, implementation costs, and change-management considerations), and “quality/professionalism” (quality of report and presentation). All jury members were also present at the team presentations on December 11. In addition to students and jury, Walter Ferrari, a Chilean entrepreneur and founder of Mexicana Lausanne, attended the event. He related his impressions about the student project to the audience in view of implementing the recommended operational improvements in the future.

The members of the winning team each received an Apple iPad, sponsored by Deloitte, as first prize. Deloitte, which has six offices in Switzerland, was involved with Prof. Weber’s course throughout the fall, and the prize competition was coordinated by Quentin Le Guennec. On the EPFL side, the prize competition was supported by the OES chair secretary Ilona Ball, and by scientific collaborator Anjali Nursimulu who took photos at the event. The course assistants this year were Michael Mark and Farnaz Eslamishoar.

The year 2019 marks the seventh edition of the Deloitte OES Prize. Past winners, all engraved on a permanent winner board, are:

  • 2018: Alizée BELAMARIC / Clément BARBERIS
    (“Product Portfolio Rationalization, Ordering Process Optimization and Information Management at La Brouette”)
  • 2017: Pierre DUSSAUX / Benjamin ZIMERAY
    (“Arte Beauty & Wellness: Leveraging Wasted Capacity through IT Solutions”)
  • 2016: Céline FISCHER / Valentin TERRAIL / Xiaoran YU
    (“Takinoa Restaurant at the Rolex Learning Center: Operations and Demand Analysis”)
  • 2015: Christophe DONZÉ, Niels PICHLER, Benjamin PREVIDOLI
    (“Selecta on the EPFL Campus”)
  • 2014: Shubham BANSAL, Thomas GUIBENTIF, Marc SOLSONA BERNET
    (“Le Négoce: Survival Under Extreme Conditions”)
  • 2013: Dimitri CORDENIER, Alexis DUBIL
    (“GeoRoute at PostLogistics”)