Client Case Studies

Case Studies: 1 to 8 (of 11)
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Client:

Safeway Stores

Location:

United Kingdom

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Consulting

Role:


Discipline:

Marketing & Communications

 

Sector:

Retail

Challenge:

The CEO wanted us to measure the extent of cannibalisation of promotions, both from one product to another (for example decreasing sales of Coke when Pepsi is on promotion) and over time (for example where promotion of washing powder results in a decrease in sales in the following month). At the time another consultancy firm were working for the client on promotional strategy; this project was to be delivered without their knowledge to give the client a second opinion on this area.

Solution:

Because of the confidentiality of the project Gideon Mitchell was asked to undertake the entire project alone. He spent one month researching the retailer’s strategy and tactics for promotion. During that month he collected data from several sources within the company covering a cross-section of stores across the UK with different demographic profiles. He spent a second month building models based on econometric principles. The models were encapsulated in an Excel Application containing a variety of charts that addressed different questions concerning promotional effectiveness, and cannibalisation in particular. The charts were linked dynamically to the models and underlying data through form controls so that, for example, the average sales boost due to a promotion could be compared across different types of promotion and across the different stores.

Results:

The most obvious results were presented to the CEO and Marketing Director in a presentation backed up by using the Excel Application itself. These included • an assessment of the degree of inter-product cannibalisation and cannibalisation over time (sometimes called ‘pantry-stocking’) • comparison of the cost-effectiveness of the main types of promotion • measurement of the relative sensitivity to promotion of the main customer segments (‘young families’, ‘singles and couples’, ‘empty nesters’, etc), allowing for better targeting of promotion to a particular segment, and • an analysis of the relative preference for promotions on own-brand vs. branded goods by store demographics. The Excel Application was delivered to the client to allow them to draw further conclusions themselves.


Client:

The Maxwell Model

Location:

United Kingdom

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Consulting

Role:


Discipline:

Finance

 

Sector:

Engineering

Challenge:

The client, a Transport Modelling consultancy, had submitted a report to Transport for London (TfL) based on a survey. TfL claimed that the size of the sample used in the survey was not large enough to justify accurate conclusions. The client requested an independent expert opinion on whether the sample size had indeed been large enough.

Solution:

The survey was analysed, taking note of the size of the sample (the number of respondents) and the size of the underlying population (the set of all people whose opinion was sought). Using fundamental statistical principles the margin of error was calculated for a cross-section of questions in the survey and a report prepared that • explained the statistical theory in layman’s terms, and • expanded the conclusions of the original report to include the margin of error. For larger samples the margin of error is smaller; the aim was to show that the sample was large enough to give a margin of error for each question that was small enough for the conclusions to be meaningful and useful.

Results:

The report was submitted by the client to TfL in response to their query and accepted without further questions as demonstrating that best practice had been used in the execution, analysis and presentation of the survey.


Client:

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation

Location:

Kuwait

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Training

Role:


Discipline:

Training & Development

 

Sector:

Oil & Gas

Challenge:

To deliver a customised four-day version of Learning Tree International’s course on Time Management to groups of employees of the company. The working day was to run from 8am to 2pm, the course was to be taught multiple times and to be taught in English.

Solution:

The course combined top-down methods of time management such as using mind maps to visualise your desired future with bottom-up techniques along the lines of David Allen’s well-known book ‘Getting Things Done’. Delivery of the material was challenging mainly for cultural reasons , for example : · The working day was considerably shorter than in the UK. Between the theoretical start and end times there was a long prayer break and another shorter break. · The attitude to time-keeping by most of the participants was extremely relaxed and reduced the available teaching time further. The actual start time each day was about 8:30 and most students returned from breaks 15-20 minutes late. · Most of the students had a very procedural approach to learning and found the exercises in which they were encouraged to use imagination very challenging. Some of the students had not chosen to take the course and were merely there to comply with a minimum training quota. A few did not speak English.

Results:

The key to delivering this course successfully was following the material in a way that allowed for the major differences in culture between Kuwait and the West. Rather than trying to impose Western values wholesale on the students, it was important to see the experience from their point of view and to adapt to their individual needs. Some students demonstrated that they had learned the material well and were very happy with the course. A few (notably those who did not speak English) obtained their course quotas even though they spent much of the time asleep at the back or absent from the room! The course was delivered by Gideon Mitchell 7 times and by other instructors another 5 times.


Client:

Ithaca College London Center

Location:

United Kingdom

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Training

Role:


Discipline:

Training & Development

 

Sector:

Education

Challenge:

The London branch of Ithaca College offered a one-semester applied mathematics course for undergraduates majoring in Business Administration. The challenge was to write and teach the entire course, starting from its name: ‘Mathematics for Decision Making’ and an outline syllabus.

Solution:

The course was composed of three sections. · The first section was on Linear Mathematics. This covered linear inequalities, systems of linear equations and their solution using Gaussian elimination and linear programming, with a detailed explanation of the simplex algorithm. · Financial Mathematics centred around the study of interest rates. This section included simple and compound interest, APR, present and future value, annuities and Internal Rate of Return. · Probability and Statistics. This section included methods of counting (permutations and combinations etc), probability calculations, independence, conditional probability and Bayes’ Theorem. As most of the students were US nationals, the course was delivered in a very interactive style in line with their expectations.

Results:

The students responded enthusiastically to the course, in spite of the fact that many of them were not particularly at ease with fundamental mathematics, containing equations and formulae. The pass rate was 100%.


Client:

Edinburgh University

Location:

United Kingdom

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Training

Role:


Discipline:

Finance

 

Sector:

Education

Challenge:

To create a two-day version of Learning Tree International’s three-day course on Business Statistics and deliver it using Learning Tree’s special equipment on-site in Edinburgh. The course, intended for managers and analysts rather than academics, was to be very practical, with mathematical theory reduced to a minimum.

Solution:

Discussions with the client identified the sections of the original course that would be most relevant to the students. These included answering questions with charts, rules for combining probabilities, applying the normal, binomial and Poisson distributions to real problems, verifying decisions using hypothesis testing, an introduction to forecasting, and presenting data and conclusions accurately and without bias.

Results:

Delegates were universally pleased with the course, giving both the course content and the instructor a perfect 100% score in the course evaluation.


Client:

Commonwealth Secretariat

Location:

United Kingdom

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Training

Role:


Discipline:

Finance

 

Sector:

Non Government Organisation

Challenge:

To deliver Learning Tree International’s three-day introductory MS Excel course to a group of administrators and analysts on-site in London.

Solution:

Little customisation was needed as, in exploratory discussions, the standard course seemed to cover the client’s needs. However, during the course it became clear that the level of experience of the students varied considerably and so a lot of individual attention had to be provided to the more advanced students outside the normal class hours.

Results:

The course was well received by all students. The most advanced student benefitted from some individual attention concentrating on her work project after the course was over. In the course evaluation, the students gave an average mark of 93% for the course material and 97% for the instructor.


Client:

Chrysler Corporation

Location:

Germany

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Consulting

Role:


Discipline:

Finance

 

Sector:

Automotive

Challenge:

The client planned to launch a new model of Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the German market and sought advice on the optimal launch price and specification.

Solution:

Using a database of detailed specification of all cars currently in the market (for example, detailing engine torque, upholstery material and whether door mirrors were heated or not) we defined six variables to represent qualities like safety, comfort level and pulling power. We created econometric models to measure the price elasticity of cars in the SUV market segment and added the new quality variables to the models to understand how customer demand responded to these qualities.

Results:

We gave advice on the optimal specification with respect to each of the six qualities we had defined and calculated the launch price that we expected to maximise profit. The vehicle was made broadly to the specification we had recommended and received an enthusiastic reception at the Geneva Motor Show.


Client:

Cathay Pacific Airways

Location:

Hong Kong

Contact Title:

Synatus Partner:

Gideon Mitchell

Assignment Type:


Consulting

Role:


Discipline:

Finance

 

Sector:

Transportation

Challenge:

The client wished to forecast how sales would be affected by a change in the choice of time slots at their hub location in Hong Kong and to estimate the profitability of each route.

Solution:

An Excel Application was built that would allow the client to specify a set of slots, the expected demand (number of passengers booking, generated by a separate model), information about Activity Based Costs, and pricing. The output was a set of reports including cost, revenue and profitability summaries by route and an aggregated P&L for all of the routes under consideration. The Application was built in Excel so that it could be reused by the consultancy with minor modifications for several different clients. A lot of attention was paid to the user interface to make it as easy to use as possible (for example through the use of form controls and transparent hotspots) and the Application was automated using VBA code, which made calculation considerably faster.

Results:

The Application was initially developed for use by Luxair at their Luxembourg Airport hub. Then it was developed further and used extensively by Cathay Pacific for planning which slots to bid for. Later extensions to functionality were added for use with Varige, a Brazilian airline.


Case Studies: 1 to 8 (of 11)
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