July 13, 2009

INFORMS Names Felipe Caro a Franz Edelman Laureate

Inventory allocation model cited as exceptional example of analytical decision making

By Paul Feinberg

UCLA Anderson Assistant Professor Felipe Caro received recognition as a Franz Edelman Laureate for achievement in operations research and the management sciences. The recognition comes from INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences) and is given to the authors of the finalist papers in the Franz Edelman competition. Laureates are recognized for their significant contribution to work that is selected as representative of the best applications of analytical decision making in the world.

Caro's was recognized for work he did with the Spanish retail giant, Zara. Caro and co-author Jérémie Gallien of MIT-Sloan looked at inventory issues facing Zara and used operations research to optimize its distribution process and increase in-season sales by an estimated three to four percent - in excess of $230 million in 2007 and $350 million in 2008.

"My motivation was to build an inventory allocation model that was well-grounded on the real problems faced by a large-scale apparel retailer," Caro explained. "We're gratified that we made a contribution to the academic literature and that Zara verified the research and was able to make better business decisions as a result."

Caro and Gallien just completed a second project with Zara on markdown pricing during clearance sales.
In 1998, UCLA Anderson Professor Kumar Rajaram received like honors for his and his colleagues work with Cerestar, Europe's leading manufacturer of starch-based products.

Read the INFORMS announcement.

Read a profile of this research.

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