Zingerman’s Creamery was interested in investigating the waste occurring within the shipping process for its mail order sales. They were incurring a negative cash balance on their financial statements as a direct result of their shipping arrangements, and was interested in identifying sources of waste as well as new, simplified processes and pricing.
The team started by observing the order-to shipping processes at the creamery, as well as collecting data on their pricing structure and arrangements with UPS, USPS, and FedEx. By examining data such as shipping invoices and discount margins on deliveries to other Zingerman’s businesses, the team created a break-even analysis for various types of orders. They also examined the packaging processes to develop standard operating procedures that would reduce time and waste within the process.
The final deliverable was a presentation of two new pricing strategies for shipping and how the profit margins compared to the current method. In addition, the team presented enhanced standard operating procedures for the packaging operation in the Zingerman’s Creamery facility.
Due to the rapid influx of visitors in recent months, Menlo needed to find a way to increase the process efficiency of its tours and workshops while still striving for high customer satisfaction through individualized tour/workshop experiences. Additionally, Menlo hoped to use its experience (tour/workshop) revenues to drive traditional business (software development and design) revenues.
The team broke the project down into two work streams: marketing and data analytics, to create a two-pronged solution to Menlo’s problem. The marketing team focused on fostering better communication with the customer pre and post-visit. The data analytics team assisted development of an Access database to track, store, and analyze customer information in order to simplify the data collection and retrieval process.
- Access Database with the required fields to allow Menlo to input visitor information
- Improved feedback form
- Additional pre-visit questions
- Findings from competitor insight (website searches, competitor phone calls)
Menlo Innovations is a custom software design and development company based in Ann Arbor, MI. In addition to their unique product offerings, Menlo is admired for its innovative workplace culture and a large part of its business stems from its office tours and presentations given frequently to clients both in software design and a diverse range of industries.
The team’s initial scope was to help Retail Velocity design a workflow model for its development of an omni-channel data management software for retail companies to use from manufacturing through sales to the end user.
The team began with market research and benchmarking against competing omni-channel products, presenting their findings to both Retail Velocity’s management and one of their major clients. The team spent most of the semester working with this client to understand their specific workflow needs within the consumer goods industry and customize the design requirements for Retail Velocity’s new product offering.
The final deliverable was a workflow model and presentation of the design requirements necessary to meet the needs of major clients in the retail industry. They specifically used the case developed from working with one of Retail Velocity’s major clients to develop their recommendations.