Optimization Modeling - Chemical Operations
Opportunity: A $1 Billion division of a global manufacturing company produced materials using complex, integrated operations across 5 production facilities in 4 states. In the past, operations were optimized by the production unit, plant site, or business function (transportation, inventory control, production operations) independent of one another. The combination of local optimization did not ensure optimization of the entire integrated system.
Actions: Leading a small team including an operations planner, IT support, and an outside software vendor, with technical input from engineers and production units, I developed a detailed optimization model of the operation.
Results: Monthly operating plans could be based on analyses from the model considering trade-offs between production quantitites, sites, and processes, transportation modes, and inventory holding to optimize income from the operations based on forecasted sales demand, selling prices and raw material and energy costs.
Opportunity: One of the largest retail accounts of a major national consumer durable goods brand was slipping in sales and had devoted a significant amount of floor space to its direct competitor. Also, the majority of sales associates were male while the majority of customers were women. Market research we had done indicated that women typically approach the purchase of durable goods in different ways than men and respond to different sales approaches. The retailer offered to devote additional floorspace to our brand if we could come up with a unique merchandising system.
Actions: I arranged and facilitated an idea generation session with the retailer's sales manager and top performing sales associates to obtain their input. I researched retail trends in other categories and incorporated what we had learned from our research about marketing to women. I developed a unique new merchandising concept called "Room to Be You" which included an interactive plasma screen with room visualizer to see visualize the look of the product in a room, used RFID (radio frequency ID tags) on samples which activated detailed information about the product on a kiosk in the area along with educational materials and sales aides for use by sales associates in closing customers. We trained the sales associates in the research finding on the most successful methods for approaching and interacting with their female customers.
Results: The new system was installed at the retail increasing our floor space and brand visibility which led to increased sales as well as significant press coverage in trade publications.
Opportunity: A new strategic direction had been developed for a $1 Billion division of a global manufacturing company as a result of work done by outside consultants. The organization had historically communicated its strategic intent with quantitative slide presentations. A narrative version of the strategy was requested by the CEO to use to "tell the story" when communicating the new strategic direction to various constituents.
Action: I interviewed each of the business unit leaders of the division and collected the quantitative presentation materials they had prepared for prior internal discussions. I translated the materials into a cohesive and compelling narrative describing the key aspects of the new strategy, how they had been derived, how they differed from the prior course, and the anticipated impact of the new strategy on the business' operations and financial strength in the context of the competitive and market environment.
Results: The CEO used the narrative (in conjunction with narratives from the other divisions) with the Board of Directors, potential investors, and creditors in the process of gaining exit financing that ended a 4-year bankruptcy.