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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The case studies are described below in groups by the following types of companies – Service Companies, Retailers, Entertainment Companies, Restaurants, Construction Companies, Manufacturing Companies, Health Care Companies and Financial Services Companies.

To allow the reader to locate examples of the type of service they are looking for, the applicable Apollo services categories delivered to that client are listed for each initiative.  These professional services categories are – Profitability Improvement, Strategy Development and Execution, Marketing Services, Product and Service Pricing Optimization, Project Management, Information Technology Consulting and Operational Efficiency Improvement.

 

Services Companies

    

Initiative-Dog Walking Service.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Situation-Company was providing more than 100 walks a day but was only marginally profitable and had ineffective control of operations.  Owner was working seven days per week with little compensation

Impacts-Company was unable to expand.

Actions Taken-Applied the Apollo Profit Acceleration Technique to identify key profitability drivers.  Recommended changes to employee compensation to improve profit margins.  Mapped all workflows and identified bottlenecks and potential solutions.  Performed pricing study and recommended pricing changes to drive customer behaviors.  Developed a complete technology strategy to support changes to workflows and improved operations control.

Results-Company was put on a path to gaining operational control and improving profitability.

    

Initiative-Services Company.

Apollo Services DeliveredStrategy Development and Execution, Marketing Services, Information Technology Consulting

SituationOrganization had too many opportunities to invest in their future.

Impacts-Company was unable to decide which initiatives to undertake and did not want to proceed until a cohesive approach was developed.

Actions Taken-Conducted a strategic planning effort that resulted in a strategic plan and an ongoing strategic planning process.  This included the development of vision, mission and values statements, a complete competitor analysis, SWOT analysis, a business strategy, marketing strategy, pricing strategy, the results from the application of the Apollo Profit Acceleration Technique, business goals, a prioritization and evaluation criteria/process, financial plan and financial projections.  Developed a marketing plan and a technology plan.

Results-The Company became completely organized and gained great organizational focus.  Seven initiatives were identified supported by over 50 projects.  The initiatives were designed to continue to build on strengths, repair weaknesses, seize opportunities and mitigate risks.  The execution of the marketing plan began paying off immediately.  The effort allowed the company to begin execution of their investment opportunities (projects) in the knowledge that their efforts supported their short, medium and long term goals.

    

Initiative-Services Company.

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

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.

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.

Apollo Services Delivered-Strategy Development and Execution

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

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.

Apollo Services DeliveredOperational Efficiency Improvement

Situation– Increasingly competitive marketplace was squeezing rates and profits.

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-Law Firm.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Marketing Services, Strategy Development and Execution

Situation-Law firm was marginally profitable and did not have enough new clients.

Impacts-There were insufficient funds to consistently make payroll.

Actions Taken-Performed an Apollo Profit Acceleration Technique analysis to identify the drivers of financial results.  Evaluated the competitive landscape.  Performed a SWOT analysis.  Sharpened the business strategy and developed business goals.  Developed a business strategy, branding strategy and a marketing plan and assisted in the execution.

Results-Firm was put on a path to improved financial results.

 

Initiative-Payroll and Benefits Company.

Apollo Services DeliveredProject 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.

   

Retailers

   

Initiative-Store Review.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing Optimization, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Situation– Business was marginally profitable.

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.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing Optimization

Situation-Sales were growing but profits evaporated.

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.

Apollo Services DeliveredProject Management

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

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

Apollo Services DeliveredProject Management

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

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.

 

Entertainment Companies

   

Initiative-Entertainment Business.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Product and Service Pricing, Operational Efficiency Improvement

Situation-Company sales were falling, was losing money and provided inconsistent service.

Impacts-Company had difficulty paying bills and gained a reputation in the marketplace for providing a poor customer experience.

Actions Taken-Performed an Apollo Profit Acceleration Technique analysis and identified the key drivers of profitability.  Provided recommendations to improve profitability.  Performed a pricing study and recommended pricing strategies to drive customer behavior and increase revenue.  Developed a service training program and trained the staff.  Developed an operations manual to make it easy to carry out all functions.  Developed job descriptions to inform the staff of what was expected of them.

Results-The Company was put on a path to improved profitability and began to see results.

 

Restaurants

  

Initiative-Restaurant.

Apollo Services DeliveredOperational Efficiency Improvement

Situation-Restaurant had mediocre food quality and poor service.

Impacts-The restaurant’s sales were declining.

Actions Taken-Reviewed the menu and recommended changes.  Reviewed the décor and recommended changes.  Trained the staff with the goal of improving service.

Results-Restaurant was able to attract more customers, more upscale customers with a higher ticket value, which when combined, resulted in higher revenues and improved profitability.

 

 

Initiative-Cafe.

Apollo Services DeliveredStrategy Development and Execution

Situation-Entrepreneur wanted to start a café and wanted a business plan.

Impacts-The Entrepreneur needed a business plan as part of an SBA loan application process.

Actions Taken-Conducted a market assessment in terms of competitors, income demographics, traffic patterns and available locations.  Estimated all startup costs and expected ongoing costs.  Developed various revenue ramp up scenarios.  Developed basic financial projections to determine funding needs.

Results-The work indicated that the café would not likely be successful.  The Entrepreneur decided not to go ahead thereby avoiding a poor financial outcome.

  

Initiative-Restaurant Chain.

Apollo Services DeliveredProject Management

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

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.

   

Construction Companies

  

Initiative-Home Safety and Access.

Apollo Services DeliveredMarketing Services, Information Technology Consulting

Situation-Client had a good marketing strategy but lacked focus in their marketing efforts.

Impacts-Sales growth was slower than expected.

Actions Taken-Developed a marketing plan and recommended some branding changes.  Identified and recommended customer relationship management (CRM) software to organize the sales efforts, job order management and billing.

Results-The Company increased its sales so fast that it had to more than double its staff in one year.

 

Initiative-Paving Company.

Apollo Services DeliveredOperational Efficiency Improvement, Information Technology Consulting

Situation-Company was having extensive issues with its labor force in terms of employee satisfaction, loyalty, retention, productivity and rules compliance.  Company wanted to gain a better oversight of day to day activities.

Impacts-Inability to retain staff made staffing projects difficult and made growth impossible.

Actions Taken-Reviewed composition of current staff roles and skills.  Interviewed a cross-section of employees across all positions and skill levels.  Analyzed wage rates.  Developed families of position descriptions tied directly to skill levels and wage rate ranges for each position.  Led a process to assign each existing employee to an appropriate job description.  Introduced a new employee performance review process and forms. Made recommendations for pay adjustments to ensure staff was paid for performance and skill level attainment.  Recommended changes to the hiring process.  Developed a new set of company rules which used graduated penalties to provide consequences for rule breaking and introduced a bonus tied to good behaviors.  Developed a process to identify high potential employees.  Developed formal training programs to develop and enhance skills.  Developed a technology plan to be able to automate many functions of field workers, to improve communication with the home office and to be able to better manage field activities.

Results-The company was able to align employee success to their own success thereby putting them on a path to improve employee retention and increase hiring success.  Technology improvements permitted better control of operations and better communications with the teams in the field.

   

Initiative-Mechanical Contractor.

Apollo Services DeliveredStrategy Development and Execution, Product and Service Pricing Optimization

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

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.

Apollo Services DeliveredProfitability Improvement, Operational Efficiency Improvement

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

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.

  

Manufacturing Companies

  

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

Apollo Services DeliveredStrategy Development and Execution, Product and Service Pricing, Operational Efficiency Improvement

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

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.

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

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.

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.

   

Initiative-A manufacturer of industrial chemicals.

Apollo Services DeliveredStrategy Development and Execution

Situation-Company struggled with identifying new product ideas and bringing them to market in a timely manner.

Impacts-Company was slow to take advantage of market opportunities.

Actions Taken-Facilitated a process to identify, prioritize and move forward with new product ideas.

Results-The Company was put on a path to identify the best new product ideas and move them forward.

   

Health Care Companies

    

Initiative-Health Insurance Provider.

Apollo Services DeliveredInformation Technology Consulting, Project Management

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

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 Companies

 

Initiative-Money Management Firm

Apollo Services DeliveredProject 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

Apollo Services DeliveredProject 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.