Case Studies

Apollo team members have proven effective in meeting a wide variety of challenges.  In the representative case studies described below, each had a different set of issues and unique circumstances.  In each case, the correct problem, obstacle or opportunity was identified, an appropriate solution was devised and then successfully executed to solve the problem or maximize the opportunity.  Whether your challenges are improving profitability, driving down costs, delivering products and services in a timely manner, gaining operational efficiencies, improving customer service, or supporting a growth strategy, Apollo can help.

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Services

Initiative-Services Company.

Situation- A services company newly formed through merger faced significant integration challenges and had an objective of rapid organic growth for which they were ill prepared.

Services CategoriesProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing, Information Technology Consulting, Project Management, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts- High costs resulting from inefficient operations caused the company to be unprofitable and growth plans were on hold because manual processes could not be easily duplicated or controlled in a growth situation.

Actions Taken- Managed the integration of the differing technology platforms used by the predecessor entities into a single set of systems. Developed written processes and procedures for all significant job functions. Documented workflow inefficiencies and identified the target state. Developed a set of systems changes needed to allow work to be optimized. Developed a financial model to identify the key drivers of success. Performed a review of services pricing and made changes to align customer behavior with the cost of services. Developed pro forma financials and cash flow projections in order to plan capital adequacy for growth. Restructured the payroll system and general ledger to provide accurate and timely management information to be able to better manage the business.

Results- Successfully integrated the operations, technology and financial systems of the merged entity.  Created a detailed roadmap to prepare for successful growth in terms of work restructuring, technology changes and operational controls.

    

Initiative-Accounting Firm.

Situation- Company wanted to franchise their successful business model but needed a business plan.

Services CategoriesStrategy Development and Execution

Impacts- The company’s drive to franchise was stalled without a roadmap on how to proceed.

Actions Taken- Developed a comprehensive business plan that included goals and objectives, services to be offered, target customers, market strategy, competitive analysis, personnel plan, key success factors, key risks and mitigation strategies, timing and capital requirements.

Results- With the expansion plan in place, the company was able to begin the process of becoming a franchisor.

   

Initiative-Law Firm.

Situation– Increasingly competitive marketplace was squeezing rates and profits.

Services CategoriesOperational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts– Profits were shrinking.

Actions Taken-Examined the administrative workflow and recommended organizational, process and responsibility changes.

Results-The company gained a roadmap to optimize its administrative workflows and organizational structure thereby reduce costs.

  

Initiative-Payroll and Benefits Company.

Services CategoriesProject Management

Situation-Customers were demanding integrated reporting using data from both payroll information and benefits information.

Impacts-Customers were leaving for other service providers.

Actions Taken-Managed the integration of data from a human resources benefits system using ETL tools into a data warehouse used by customers for payroll reporting.  Managed the project throughout the full software development life cycle using offshore development and testing resources.  Planned and managed the development of the test strategy, test execution, data conversion strategy and the final implementation.

Results-The company was able to introduce a new service for customers creating more satisfied existing customers and a better product offering to attract new customers.

   

 

Manufacturing

  

Initiative-A manufacturer of residential and commercial water filtration systems.

Situation- Company had an innovative and well engineered product but was unable to grow sales above a modest level.

Services CategoriesStrategy Development and Execution, Product and Service Pricing, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts- The company was only marginally profitable.

Actions Taken- Sharpened the business strategy and developed a marketing plan to focus corporate activities on growth. Developed a marketing campaign including improved positioning and messaging and then assisted in the execution of the plan. Investigated and then completely revamped the company’s distribution channels.  Developed a captive sales force. Developed sales training materials, and a sales manual. Conducted pricing study and changed prices to capture enhanced value. Developed processes, procedures and financial controls so that the company could profitably expand while maintaining good customer service.

Results- The company increased sales over 100% in six months.

  

Initiative-A manufacturer of custom furniture and interior fittings.

Situation- The inability to deliver on time had led to the loss of most of the profitable customers, ongoing mis-pricing led to many unprofitable orders and frequent fabrication errors necessitating costly corrections were driving up costs.

Services CategoriesProfitability Improvement, Strategy Development and Execution, Product and Service Pricing Optimization, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts- The company was losing money, was unable to consistently make payroll in a timely manner and the company was facing labor unrest.

Actions Taken- Identified the true cost of customer acquisition, design, construction, delivery and installation. Introduced cost plus pricing to ensure profitability of orders. Developed simple processes for estimating, contracting and scheduling of orders to ensure proper pricing and delivery date commitments. Made changes to critical work flow processes to improve efficiency and control that resulted in reduced confusion and defects. Developed tracking system to understand order progress and costs of orders. Developed marketing plan to attract more profitable customers.

Results- Provided the guidance, methods, tools and process for the company to return to profitability.

   

Construction

  

Initiative-Mechanical Contractor.

Situation- Sales had fallen 50% from the peak sales achieved three years prior.

Services CategoriesStrategy Development and Execution, Product and Service Pricing Optimization

Impacts- The company was unprofitable.

Actions Taken- Examined the existing customer base, industries served, order profitability, and customer profitability to determine the desired characteristics of profitable customers.  Recommended key industries to expand into. Developed a detailed marketing plan that described what was to be done, by whom and when in order to increase sales. Analyzed current pricing and calculated the labor rate per hour needed to cover all overhead costs and make a profit.

Results- The company was able to profitably increase sales.

   

Initiative-Flooring Contractor.

Situation-Owner was unable to grow the business because he was involved with every job.

Services CategoriesProfitability Improvement, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts-The owner worked excessive hours and was unable to increase sales or profits.

Actions Taken-Developed a number of estimating templates so that the estimating methodology used by the owner could be successfully used by others.  Developed a job template so that the work crews could understand exactly what needed to be done for each job.  Developed a problem or change order process so that problems that arose on the job or changes requested from the agreed to job specifications could be surfaced, estimated and agreed to with the customer. Developed a job time tracking system to capture accurate work time for each job.

Results-The Company was able to expand with new people but still perform the work in the way that it has always been able to perform it.  Profitability was increased by reducing unpaid scope creep on jobs.

   

Retail

   

Initiative-Store Review.

Situation– Business was marginally profitable.

Services CategoriesProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing Optimization, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Impacts-Owners were working for no pay.

Actions Taken-Analyzed sales, markup, contribution and inventory levels.  Analyzed pricing.  Analyzed processes for internal operations.  Examined product mix, display, organization and merchandising in general.  Recommended numerous pricing and positioning suggestions as well as process changes.

Results-The Company was able to improve profitability.

   

Initiative-Web Storefront and Wholesaler.

Situation– Sales were growing but profits evaporated.

Services CategoriesProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing Optimization

Impacts-Cash flow was becoming negative threatening the entire enterprise.

Actions Taken-Analyzed costs including product development, manufacturing, warehousing, fulfillment and overhead for each line of business.  Analyzed markups, discounts, allowances and policies. Developed a detailed business-financial model and performed sensitivity analysis to identify the key actions to most improve profitability.  Analyzed advertising costs and effectiveness. Performed Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis.  Focused management attention on increasing profits and away from further growth in the short run.  Identified and implemented many changes including pricing, fulfillment, advertising, promotion, and management information.

Results-The Company was able to improve profitability.

 

Initiative-Direct Sales Organization.

Situation-There was no easy way to measure advertising or gain insights on customer behavior.

Services Categories-Project Management

Impacts-Company was wasting money on ineffective advertising and not putting enough money into effective advertising media/times.

Actions Taken-Managed the full life cycle of a TM1/Cognos business intelligence implementation.  Developed the project schedule, managed the resources, planned the data conversion, oversaw the testing, communicated status to stakeholders, managed change controls, etc.

Results-The Company was able to vastly improve advertising effectiveness and gain insights into customer behavior.

 

Initiative-Multi-Location Retailer

Situation-Company was not able to implement software projects fast enough to meet business needs using traditional Waterfall methodologies.

Services CategoriesProject Management

Impacts-Customers were demanding rapid improvement in customer facing websites and phone apps.

Actions Taken-Worked with the company, new to Agile, as an Agile Coach to tailor processes and map artifacts to existing waterfall SDLC requirements with a pilot project to build a new mobile app and to coach the new Agile team in Agile/Scrum processes and ceremonies.

Results-The Company was able to begin their first Agile Scrum project.

  

Restaurants

  

Initiative-Restaurant Chain.

Situation-Larger chains were putting tremendous pressure with large advertising and promotion budgets.

Services Categories-Project Management

Impacts-Margins were under pressure as a result of the intense price competition.

Actions Taken

  • Managed a large program ($3M, 25 FTE) that included the development of a new mobile app (PhoneGap) and new web ordering software, implementation of an ordering platform (OLO), implementation of an offer management system (Sparkfly), implementation of a customer database (CRM) containing sales data, demographics, income, psychographic and other information to enable personalized offers, implementation of a sophisticated automated marketing platform (Sailthru), development of an enterprise transformation and integration data bus (MongoDB/Redis/SQL Server), development of new loyalty program software, integrations with two POS vendors, and Business Intelligence (SQL Server/MicroStrategy).
  • Managed the entire program and the client side of each of the projects carried out by external strategic partners
  • Scrum Master for the Integration data bus with a team size of seven. Performed all Scrum ceremonies and activities including Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Backlog Refinement (Grooming), Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, impediment removal, Coaching, Facilitation, Sprint Burndown metrics preparation, external status communication, etc.
  • Created all traditional project artifacts, Sprint Backlog and Product Backlog as well as requirements as needed.
  • Developed the testing approach, test plan, and execution and tracking testing templates. Managed the entire end to end testing effort and coordinated the resolution of all defects across responsible parties including defect tracking assignment and follow up, software migration coordination, retesting, etc.
  • Managed the creation of the production environments, data conversion, and pilot.

Results-The Company gained the ability to compete with promotions without over discounting.

 

Health Insurance

    

Initiative-Health Insurance Provider.

Situation- The sales environment had become much more competitive and the company was finding it difficult to grow.

Services CategoriesInformation Technology Consulting, Project Management

Impacts- Company sales were flat.

Actions Taken- Developed business specifications to implement sales force automation. Managed the implementation of a cloud based sales force automation system including the development of the project plan and implementation schedule, coordinated all resources, communicated status to stakeholders, managed scope, costs and risks, coordinated training, managed and performed testing and performed project close out activities.

Results- Armed with better information and the ability to coordinate sales activities more effectively, the marketing department and the sales staff was better able to take advantage of opportunities and close more business.

   

Financial Services

 

Initiative-Money Management Firm

Services CategoriesProject Management

Situation-Company was finding it difficult to have timely and accurate information about interactions with customers. Oversight of external money managers was not sufficiently tight to meet company standards. Company wanted to make more information available to customers through a web portal

Impacts-Customer service was not as good as the company wanted it to be and transparency of the controls on external money managers needed to be improved.

Actions Taken– Scrum Master for the implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities built using SharePoint.  Performed all ceremonies.  Gathered requirements, developed visualizations and use cases for a system used to assure compliance with the oversight procedures for external money managers.  Managed the requirements, scheduling, development, testing and migration of multiple change requests.  Managed the implementation of multiple SharePoint portals for both internal and external client use.

Results-Both customer service and internal controls were improved.

  

Initiative-Financial Services Company

Services CategoriesProject Management, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Situation-A vast number of hours were being wasted in the process of reconciling the lease and loan payment system with the general ledger.

Impacts-The process was too slow often making the preparation of financial statements late and costs were much higher than needed.

Actions Taken-Managed the implementation of the Fiserv Accurate software (vendor packaged solution) to perform automated reconciliations between lease and loan payment systems and the PeopleSoft general ledger. Managed the development, performance testing, user acceptance testing and go live phases.  Project required extensive analysis of data sources and development of automated data feeds.

Results– Preparation of financial statements became more timely and operations and accounting costs were significantly reduced.