9th Deloitte OES Prize for Optimizing “Co-Working” at Cafetaria Niki

Sabrine Boumelala (Deloitte), Arsenii Gavrilenko, Quentin Le Guennec (Deloitte), Edmond Toutoungi (Deloitte), Nils Hasselmark, Hugo Parent-Leduc, Thomas Weber (EPFL).

Sabrine Boumelala (Deloitte), Arsenii Gavrilenko, Quentin Le Guennec (Deloitte), Edmond Toutoungi (Deloitte), Nils Hasselmark, Hugo Parent-Leduc, Thomas Weber (EPFL).

The 2021 Deloitte OES Prize for the best student project in Prof. Weber’s graduate course “Operations: Economics and Strategy” has been awarded to Arsenii GAVRILENKO, Nils HASSELMARK, and Hugo PARENT-LEDUC. The Deloitte OES Prize competition, which involves finding operational improvements in local businesses, has been held each year since 2013. The 2021 edition represents the 9th year of continuous cooperation between Deloitte and the EPFL Chair of Operations, Economics and Strategy.

The winning team’s project report, entitled “Co-Working Cafeteria: The Data-Driven Transformation of Cafeteria Niki” begins with a segmentation of the heterogeneous customer demand, which during a typical day is subject to an important variation in volume. More than 600 survey responses pointed to three different main activities, namely lunch, coffee break, or studying, with correspondingly very distinct spending patterns. The team then correlated Google Maps attendance data at the Rolex Learning Center with the actual occupation for different times of the day and applied the obtained insights to demand prediction for the Niki Cafeteria. The team’s recommendations included a transformation of the restaurant’s layout, new ideas for its digital marketing (including a loyalty program), and recommendations about their product offering to feature more ready-made items.

Two runner-up projects tied for second place of the 2021 Deloitte OES Prize. The project “Trigo Bakery: Optimal Operation,” by Oliver Jensen, Victor Petersen, and Sigrid Thorgaard, examined the bakery’s product portfolio, and then applied inventory-management techniques to optimize orders for several important menu items. The project “Demand Aggregation, Pricing Analysis, and Inventory Management at the Veterinary Clinics of Colombey–Vicherey,” by Simon Archambeau, Clara Grandry, and Andrea Spinella, looked at the gains in bargaining power and margins obtained by an economic interest group that aggregates the demand over many clinics. The team further optimized the inventory management and suggested a new pricing strategy for certain veterinary pharmaceutical products.

A total of 16 teams participated in this year’s Deloitte OES Prize competition. The main objective was to identify potential operational improvements in regional Swiss (or possibly international) companies. In addition to those already named, the projects included demand analysis and marketing for Stendiamo Pizza (an online startup for selling pizza dough, in collaboration with a pizzeria in Geneva), inventory management and multiproduct pricing for Laboratoires Medi-Rochex (a company manufacturing disinfectant gels in France), intra-day demand analysis and inventory optimization for L’Impression Café (in Lausanne), product-portfolio analysis and expansion proposal for Natural American Sandwiches (a food truck which serves EPFL once per week), a newsvendor model for DINOI Newsstand in Torino (an actual newsvendor), demand and inventory management based on weather forecasts for the LiBeirut Food Truck (which serves EPFL), price discrimination and inventory management for LeGram Restaurant (in Renens), competitive analysis, subscription pricing, and capacity management for Yoga Flame (a yoga studio with branches in Lausanne and Geneva), product-portfolio analysis and inventory management for DELISS Vending Machines (on the EPFL campus), order management and staffing management for Point Vélo (a bike repair shop at EPFL), omnichannel strategy and inventory optimization for Blondel (a traditional chocolatier in Lausanne), pricing and vehicle routing for Cave Edmund Constantin-Stoffel (a wine producer in Valais), and a value-chain analysis with inventory-leftover optimization for Prodega Transgourmet Satigny (a supplier for restaurants).

This year’s jury was composed of Edmond Toutoungi, Manager, Supply Chain & Operations, with Deloitte; Quentin Le Guennec, Manager, Human Capital, with Deloitte; Sabrine Boumelala, 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 15. 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 together with Sabrine Boumelala. The latter will be taking over Quentin’s role of main contact in 2022. On the EPFL side, the prize competition was supported by the OES chair secretary Ilona Ball. The course assistant this year was Jun Han, an EDMT doctoral student.

The year 2021 marks the ninth edition of the Deloitte OES Prize. Past winners, all engraved on the permanent winner board, are:

  • 2020: Manon CAMOUS / Gabriel FEUERWERKER / Clément HONSBERGER (“Driving Pepper Jack through the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond”)
  • 2019: Andres ENGELS / Máximo JARA JARA / Maina ORCHAMPT-MARESCHAL (“Demand, Inventory and Information Management at Mexicana Lausanne”)
  • 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”)