Examples of Master projects 2013

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is widely used for managing the interactions of a company with its customers and potential clients. The information and customer feedback generated by these interactions can represent the customers’ perceived value, and therefore, help for enhancing the products and services offered by the company, as well the business processes behind them.

The objective of this project is to assess different CRM software, Billing systems and concepts on the market and within Orange, develop and implement a proof of concept for a CRM within the department of Wholesale, and finally, propose a set of guidelines for implementing a CRM that is able to leverage its position between the company and the customer, in order to generate information useful for product development and business process innovation, based on the customer feedback.

The results of the project can be measured based on the deliverables:

  1. Requirements analysis: Gather requirements from ten business managers, and align their needs on a single requirements document prioritizing the common needs, and specifying the further development requirements.
  2. Business Process Description: Understanding of CRM related business process, and Business process description in BPMN for all of the concerned revenue lines.
  3. Implementation of Podio (as Wholesale CRM Tool) -­‐ The Wholesale CRM tool, being accessible on the web from any device for 15 users, having a centralized database that can be accessed through the Podio API and the PHP client also developed as part of the PoC.
  4. PHP Client (API Client): Extensible application written in PHP able to execute basic operations such as full backup, and invoice integration.
  5. Guidelines for implementing a CRM empowering new product development and business process improvement, based on customer feedback
  6. Documentation for Integration and guidelines for future development: Documentation defining the integration approaches from a technical perspective, as well as a set of best practices to continue the implementation of the Wholesale CRM in the near future.
  7. Admin Manual: Guidelines for management of the core features of Podio (Wholesale CRM)

The agricultural and the agricultural chemical industry have recently regained strength after setbacks suffered during the global financial crisis. Syngenta, one of the leading agricultural chemical companies, has been showing strong growth since 2008. This report focuses on a six-­‐ month placement of the author at one of Syngenta’s most important production sites, located in Monthey, Switzerland. More specifically, the maintenance personnel employed at this site were facing issues regarding their financial obligations. The task at hand was to analyze the situation, discover possible improvements and implement solutions in order to overcome these solutions.

Several solutions were implemented, among which were a new reporting tool, improved knowledge management and an improvement in communication with finance. Finally, two main recommendations, each existing of several sub-­‐recommendations, are given in order to further improve the situation.

Nestrade SA is currently the largest Equipment Buyer within Nestlé Group. Its Technical Supply Services (TSS) department works with a large amount of Suppliers, Freight Forwarders to support Nestlé factories in operational purchasing, export, logistics and financial services for Entire Production Lines, Single Equipment and Strategic Spare Parts.

As such, Nestrade requires a solution to improve its TSS current Processes and Systems, in particular due to a number of critical points resulting from the fact that Purchases and Sales are currently loosely linked through the use of the so called WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) element as a cost collector. Indeed, Technical Equipment purchase requires a proper trading tool knowing that each equipment purchase is unique, not as a traditional Nestlé product which always refers to a predefined master data: the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit).

On the other hand, Nestrade TSS would like to bring more visibility to its customers by putting in place a tracking tool.

The aim of this project is to analyze and redesign the workflow within and between Nestrade TSS and its different partners to eliminate the above mentioned issues and hence improve Customer Service at TSS.

The project will also emphasize the role of Information Systems in Business Process Reengineering (BPR).

Implementing new workflows and processes in an entity affiliated to a big company like Nestlé is not obvious. The solutions proposed should add value to the business while being in line with Nestlé Group Best Practices to ensure Compliance.

The first thing done in this work was mapping the existing processes and identifying non value added tasks. Based on that, an in-depth analysis of the existing processes was performed to better understand the current Ways Of Workings (WoWs) and propose new solutions.

The new process focuses on eliminating waste, improving proactivity and efficiency and bringing more visibility to Nestrade TSS different partners to improve Customer Service, to facilitate information sharing with Customers, Suppliers, and Forwarders but also to improve financial tracking and reconciliation.

In addition to the new process, a detailed design of the future system showing the interactions with the different stakeholders has been built.

Based on the outcomes of this work, Nestrade SA has launched a project to replace its TSS current systems and processes. The project is ongoing and the “Go live” with the new system is planned for Quarter 4 of 2013.

All around the world, Nestlé works with distributors, to which products are sold and delivered, and distributors replicate the pattern with end retailers. Distributors are considered strategic business partners, and Nestlé strives to provide them the most favorable environment, in order to lead growth together. The Distributor Logistics Collaborative Project, a Corporate Supply Chain initiative, is part of that momentum. We aim to develop distributors’ awareness of logistics challenges, around core sections such as Safety, Warehousing and Transport. Beyond disparate local distributors’ development programs, we aim to make all markets benefit from Nestlé’s global expertise in logistics.

Defining and addressing what distributors need was our first mission, keeping in mind that it should fit Nestlé’s goals of long-term investment in strategic customers.

Then design phase consisted in defining the architecture of the project: sections, topics, focus points associated with relevant support materials. Then could the testing phase start: pilot markets were selected to launch the 1st version of Distributors Project. Feedback allowed us to review the content and organization of the materials database as well as the implementation strategy. A live test in two African markets, Nigeria and Ghana, brought us the final reality check that we expected to close the testing phase. Last phase is to ensure that we have the right contacts in the markets, together with adapted training and communication plan. Indeed, the initiative has to be marketed and sold with solid reasoning to management, before it is officially launched.

The mission of this master thesis is to identify functional competencies that hamper innovation for the R&D department of Nestle. Moreover, the mission is to integrate these functional competencies in a structured competency model that will be used from the employees and their managers in the yearly PDG (Personal and Professional Development) discussion and planning. Through the PDG discussion based on the competency model, employees can identify their gaps, plan with their managers their training and development program in order to fill their gaps and also identify the future competencies that they need to develop and acquire based on the carrier path that they want to follow.

The Competency Model for R&D that was created was already used as a pilot in the PTC Center of Nestle in Orbe. The line managers in Orbe tested it in the yearly PDG discussion with their employees and it enabled them to better identify the gaps of their employees and better guide them to plan a training and development program for them based on their needs.

The purpose of this work is to develop a deep analysis of the current market situation of communication services from the perspective of a network operator, in particular concerning Orange Communications SA – Switzerland. More precisely, we will look for new telecommunication products that can be offered over the LTE network, currently being deployed by mobile carriers in Switzerland, with a focus on VoLTE (Voice over LTE), which is the next generation of voice services in the industry. It is especially interesting to examine services that are able to face the increasing threat of over-the-top (OTT) players like Skype which have been gaining market share in the voice market. Indeed, part of this work is to deeply analyze the behavior of Orange’s customers with respect to usage patterns of these VoIP calling applications and assess the threats to voice revenues in the foreseeable future.

The results of the in-house OTT usage evaluation along with a deep market study of the IMS ecosystem were consolidated in proposals to follow strategic scenarios that the company can take further in alignment with its business objectives.

This master thesis project was carried out at the Finance Department of Edwards Lifesciences located in Nyon, Switzerland .The study investigated the applicability of statistical methods for sales forecasting. The project focused on forecasts for two main product lines namely Transaortic TAVI (TA) and Transfemoral TAVI (TF). As the primary step, the research project attempted to identify key determinants of demand for TAVI market in Europe in order to build a model capable of describing and predicting the market movement s. lnitially, a qualitative analysis was conducted in order to determine the key factors that can potentially influence the market .Then, regression analysis was performed to verify the findings of the qualitative analysis.

Holt-Winters exponential smoothing and Monte Carlo Simulation were the two methods employed to develop demand forecasting models. Both methods incorporated risk into the analysis but differently. Holt-Winters method yielded a confidence interval as a measure of reliability. Monte Carlo Simulation, however, employed a probabilistic range of input values rather than a single discrete value and associated probabilities to each forecast value via generating a probabilistic function. ln order to compare the performance of the models, the historical data set was divided into two sub dataset. By doing so, the model parameters were calculated based on the first data set (also called in-sample data).Then, the second set of data (also called out-of sample data) was used to compare the forecasts performance. ln this research, root mean squared errors (RMSE), mean absolute errors (MAE), mean absolute percentage errors (MAPE), and mean percentage errors (MPE) were used to compare the performance of the models versus the actual values .

As the Transcatheter Heart Valves (THV) division of Edwards Lifesciences, particularly Finance Department, wants to increase the accuracy of its forecasts, an advanced forecasting tool in Microsoft Excel was developed in order to generate forecasts using Monte Carlo Simulation method.

The study concludes that given the available data, the Monte Carlo Simulation model produces substantially more accurate forecasts and outperforms the forecasts generated by Holt-Winters exponential smoothing method and the official forecast of Edwards Lifesciences. ln addition,  this project indicates that implementation of statistical forecasting would benefit Edwards Lifesciences by increasing the accuracy of forecasts from 92.6% and 81.9% to 93.8% and 92.7%, for TF and TAA , respectively.

The objective of this master project is to support the seven step strategic sourcing method applied for one of PepsiCo’s Indirect Procurement categories. PepsiCo, is one of the world’s largest food and beverage leaders with net revenues of more than $65 billion. The company has been focusing on driving business and financial success while creating a positive impact in the economic, social and environmental aspects of society.

Leading firms such as PepsiCo have identified the need to leverage supplier relationship beyond traditional purchasing practices in order to achieve a competitive advantage. The seven step strategic sourcing method aims to assessing internal and external factors to shape procurement strategies and achieve improved and predictable lifecycle costs, optimized service levels and adoption of more efficient operating models with strategic partners.

By following this sourcing methodology the end result is building stronger, more collaborative relationships with selected, capable partners that are collectively focused on driving continuous improvement and value globally. The implementation of this approach requires market intelligence, stakeholders’ engagement, advanced sourcing tools and data analysis.

With the rapid development of manufacturing technologies, the high complexity and dynamism of the production system has caught the attention of many scientific researches. In the food industry, the study on the production processes is critical, as the quality requirements are becoming more and more elevated. New products are launched frequently due to the dynamic market demand, and in order to reduce the cost in implementing equipment, it is very often that several products share one single production facility. Therefore managing the production processes is getting more sophisticated as a significantly large number of factors must be taken into account. Therefore, the classical static calculation and estimation cannot guarantee all these complications are considered properly in order to generate robust solutions.

The aim of this project is to provide a solution to the scheduling problem of Project Bintang, a new Nestlé’s factory in Malaysia. The study is conducted at Nestlé PTC Konolfingen, Switzerland.

A simulation model of the production line is developed with Arena, which is a discrete event simulation software developed by Rockwell. The various strategy and constraints are represented in order to fit the system requirements. Several tests under various scenarios are performed to validate the model. The output data from the simulation is collected and analyzed in MS Excel, in terms of the waiting time during the processes as well as the production capacity of the line. Finally a near-optimal solution for the production sequence at the dissolving stage is developed based on trial-and-error method.

As there are a number of assumptions, the results obtained based on this methodology can be improved in terms of accuracy and robustness by further refining of the model. A discussion part is dedicated to this issue in the report.

Open Web Technology (OWT) is a technology and strategy consulting firm that develops and operationalizes strategies concerning the sourcing and management of online digital services. OWT has been growing from 2 employees in 2009 to 25 in early 2013. This master thesis covers some of the growth challenges that OWT currently faces by transitioning from a small to a medium sized company, with a special focus on market positioning and knowledge management aspects.

First, through the analysis of projects delivered by OWT, employee interviews and customer surveys, we have been able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the company, its USPs and positioning in the market place. If I had to summarize how Open Web characterizes itself in one sentence, it would be as follows:

“It is not what Open Web Technology delivers that makes it unique, but how it delivers it”.
Secondly, to build recommendations regarding the best-adapted knowledge management strategy for OWT, we developed a framework that combines several knowledge management theories found in academic literature. This framework offers multiple criteria that place the firm into a category. Based on which it has been possible to recommend several knowledge strategies to adopt. The inputs used to classify OWT in this framework have been (i) the analyzed projects, (ii) the profiles and styles of OWT consultants, and (iii) the real, perceived and desired (by management) positioning of the company.

Finally, based on the knowledge strategy selected by OWT’s management, specific knowledge needs have been identified, and have been addressed with new company processes, tools and an implementation plan.

The results of the master thesis project are the following:

  1. A clear company positioning thanks to customer surveys, internal interviews and project analysis
  2. A framework that helped define the best suited knowledge strategy by combining multiple knowledge management concepts, the company’s growth strategy and its desired positioning
  3. Implemented company processes sustaining the selected knowledge strategy
  4. Recommendation of tools that will help reaching knowledge management goals

Bioplastics, plastics sourced from renewable sources, represent an opportunity to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and the related environmental impacts. Today, these novel materials only make up a niche market of the total plastic applications. In 2011, the production capacity of bioplastics was estimated to be around 3.5 million metric tons – making up a little more than 1% of total plastic production. This master thesis looks at the global framework that will influence the development of bioplastics in the medium term (until 2020) and long term (until 2050). More specifically, the opportunities bioplastics have in food packaging are analyzed in order to help Nestlé understand the bioplastics industry and the potential benefits, drawbacks and concerns for the future.

This work represents the first analysis for the definition and measurement of the patent quality of 10 firms that are taking part in the Innovation Strategy Center project. The main goal of this master project is to provide an overview of the performance of each company’s intellectual property portfolio using key performance indicators (KPIs) and publicly available patent data.

The measures proposed act as the main KPIs used to evaluate patent quality based upon multiple indicators through comparative statistics. Each indicator was normalized by taking into account the combination of technology field, the year of the application and the application authority in order to account for fixed effects.
Overall, the combined KPIs aim to provide a means by which the Innovation Strategy Center can provide firms with alternate ways of benchmarking their patenting performance.

Statistical Patent Analysis of 10 EIRMA members participating in the project.

The proposed KPI measures include: number of valid families, number of claims, average time to obtain a patent, citations to previous patents and citations received.

The description of the indicators is accompanied by the corresponding patent statistics of each firm’s portfolio compiled through MySQL programming and using the EPO PATSTAT database.

The objective of this master project is to analyze the data provided by the Innovation Strategy Survey. The survey concerns the intellectual property (IP) strategies and practices that firms adopt. More specifically, it deepens in the following subjects: How the market environment affects IP Management, Informal IP and the New Product Development strategies of firms. To analyze the data, we established a size framework according to the EC designations of firm sizes.    We are thus able to depict the results of the survey graphically across firm size, explaining how notable trends in terms of traditional size-related characteristics, such as resource constraints, innovative tendencies, funding sources and collaborative activities, influence firms’ strategic decisions about their intellectual property. We base the analysis both on existing literature as well as characteristic traits observed in firms of various sizes. In this thesis we made an in-depth examination of strategic disclosure-also known as defensive publication or selective revealing. Although firms have been using this practice for more than 50 years, it has been largely overlooked in literature and thus deserves closer examination. Statistical analysis allows us to detect what factors and firm characteristics significantly affect firms’ propensity to strategically disclose as well as what factors are impacted by strategic disclosure.
This work constitutes a draft of the report that Innovation Strategy Center will provide the respondents of the survey.

Analyzing firms from a resource-based view, firm size does affect the firms’ IP Strategy. De- fensive publication complements the usage of formal IP protection mechanisms and promotes freedom-to-operate as an IP management goal. Lastly, being explorative leads to increased chances of using defensive publication (especially for micro-firms).

With the rapid development of health technology, the costs of health technology are driven up. However, a large proportion of countries have met financial dilemmas and have to take financial austerity measures including cutting health expenditure. This measure will bring challenges for people to access health technology. This paper analyzes the financing situation of health technology in a couple of OECD countries, and addresses the possible solutions.

Cost-effectiveness analysis of health technology and corresponding methodologies are of great necessity. In addition, countries should pay close attention on how to balance between public expenditure and private expenditure under the economic crisis.