Case Studies

This page contains information on eighteen case studies of Larry E Vaughn productions ranging from computer based training, television commercials, point-of-purchase videos, and multi-projector slide shows used for marketing and annual meetings.

Case Study #1- Enterprise Virtual Team

Challenge: CTG, Inc. recognized the potential of the web integration opportunity that existed with their current main frame clients, for whom they traditionally had supplied staff augmentation on a contractual basis. They knew that many of their 6,000 employees had provided a variety of web enabled services for their clients in a one-off project basis, but didn’t know what skills were available, or the services that might be available to take to market.

Solution: Given responsibility for identifying the web skills available in the present workforce, and unifying them into a talent pool from which service offerings might be identified, I initiated a Web Technologies Virtual Team. Using the input of Regional Managing Directors and their staffs to identify web projects which had been produced within their territories, persons with web skills were identified, and assigned to the Virtual Team.

This initiative organized Web/EDI/E-Commerce/E-Business/Internet Security into an enterprise-wide Virtual Team. The purpose of this initiative was to cultivate web experienced employees in other practices within CTG, and those with an interest in learning, to develop knowledge transfer through monthly conference calls.

Results: This initiative improved communication links between Virtual Team members and improved CTG’s ability to respond to engagement opportunities. In the course of three months, the available skills were categorized into five primary disciplines, and appropriate individuals assigned to Virtual Teams organized by categories. Subsequent communication between these individuals identified the skills available to CTG for assignment, and improved CTG’s ability to go to market with web integration products.

Case Study #2 – CTG-Strategic Marketing Core Team

Challenge: CTG desired to enter the e-Business/e-Commerce development market, taking their mainframe-staff augmentation orientation into an additional line of business. Largely unfamiliar with web enabled technologies, and without a known base of web developers, CTG sought to identify the skills available on staff, and the services they might offer.

Solution: A core team of planners was created from directors, senior consultants, and team leaders to identify the skills available on staff, and the service offerings which might be developed to take to market. The team was responsible for conducting research, forging partnership agreements, developing business plans, cost models and budgets.

Results: CTG accomplished its objective of identifying its service offerings, and reorganized its business lines, competency groups and business philosophy from Flex Staffing to Managed Services, to include web integration, web development and deployment, steady state management, and hosting services. In order to permit maximum flexibility in responding to market forces, appropriate employees were transferred, and the web development business was spun off into a separate business unit.

Case Study #3 – CTG – Project Management

CTG Strategic Planning Team – Active on numerous Computer Task Group, Inc. (CTG.com) committees addressing issues such as redesign of CTG’s public and intranet Web sites, retooling courseware for legacy programmers, training for Graduates (new hires), marketing support materials. Larry was a pivotal player on the Strategic Planning Team, completing a redefinition of team goals through 2002.

Certified Project Manager in the Platinum Process Client/Server Methodology – Successful utilization of CTG distributed web project development team members working from their homes or offices to develop projects, while reducing the development costs of a traditional brick and mortar development center operation. This development process not only reduced costs, but enabled team members to work on multiple projects simultaneously.

IP Solutions – An Internet brochure web site for CTG which detailed e-commerce and e-business services available to the customer, partner relationships, etc. The site was developed in HTML, with Flash and Visual Basic navigation menu systems, CGI search engine, compressed audio and video, and Flash animation. Served as Project Manager, leading a distributed development team of four developers, programmers, working on development via a staging server, and communicating daily via Internet chats and instant messaging.

CTG Internet and Intranet – Primary architect for redesign of public web site and international intranet service, using Novell Groupwise. With 55 offices, 6 regions, and numerous vertical industry groups, project information was available within depositories on the intranet, but were hidden in information silos. The solution architecture recommended was a Plum Tree corporate portal, using two NT servers; one installed with a web server to host the portal, and the other a job server to process new information from data sources and applications.

Lone Star Steel Internet and Intranet – Lone Star Steel has seven factories using a variety of main frame technologies. These factories were linked by dedicated T1 leased lines, and were able to share only limited types of information. A Virtual Private Network was proposed as the solution to their growing need to communicate, with appropriate middleware developed to enable an increased level of data transfer between locations. The VPN also enabled additional capabilities which reduced overall operating expense, and generated an excellent return on investment.

Case Study #4 – E-Commerce Web Site

Challenge: The Asher Walton House Bed and Breakfast wanted an easy to navigate web site which offered the virtual visitor to see the beauty of the facility, make reservations, and purchase amenities on line. The site needed to be easy for the owner to maintain once it reached a steady state, with the ability to block out dates rooms were booked through means other than the web site.

Solution: An attractive 800×600 HTML home page was developed, using Javascript mouseovers, which gives the visitor two means of navigating through the various information repositories on the site, including history of the Walton House, travel directions, on line reservations, amenities available, credit card purchase system, and a virtual tour of the premises. The virtual tour permits the visitor to enter each of the main rooms, and turn to look at each of the four walls, viewing the decor, and reading a text message describing items in the view. An on line calendar/reservation system was incorporated into the site, which offers simple maintenance of available room dates, rates, amenities, etc. for the innkeeper. The system prints an e-mail for the innkeeper advising that a reservation has been made, and lists all details entered by the user. An autoresponder notifies the user that their reservation has been made and confirmed.

Results: The site was very effective, posting numerous reservations in its first few months. More amenities have been sold to those making on line reservations than to those who make reservations through other means. Guest book comments regarding the virtual tour were very complimentary.

Case Study #5 – Web Site: Membership Appeal

Challenge: The Whitewater Valley Railroad is a historical organization which runs antique railroad equipment on 17 miles of track. Traditionally, the railroad utilized a steam engine to pull their passenger excursions. Since replacing their steam engine with more modern diesel locomotives, they have experienced a reduction in passenger traffic, and in new members joining the railroad. Operating as a volunteer organization, new members are key to their operation.

Solution: An HTML web site was developed for the railroad which gives detailed information about their operation, accepts reservations via e-mail, provides a discussion board for their members, and offers the opportunity for interested parties to register for free training as a railroader. To attract the interest of visitors, the site contains a large repository of the railroad’s equipment roster, photos, and descriptions.

Results: In its first few months of operation the web site generated large numbers of on line passenger reservations, private charters, and requests for additional information. During the most recent training class it was determined that 11 of the 22 new students learned of the railroad from the web site. Plans are currently underway to expand the web site to provide additional services such as an on line version of the monthly newsletter, chat area for members, and an on line version of the railroad’s gift shop.

Case Study #6 – Motivational Presentation; Mixed Media

Challenge: ITT International proposed to introduce a new marketing strategy for the coming year, which was expected to derive considerable resistance from long term employees. The new strategy was conceived to address rapid changes in ITT’s market, and meant a new marketing methodology which could initially adversely impact the income of the sales and marketing team. A negative reaction to the new strategy could result in loss of vast experience vested in the sales and marketing team. Retention of these team members, and their enthusiastic support, was essential to success of the new marketing strategy.

Solution: A three-day theme meeting was conducted in which the attendees were treated with the respect and courtesy due them, including custom airport transportation, arrival gifts in each guest’s room, extensive spouse activities, recreational and social events, and numerous opportunities for peer meetings. Every effort was made to make the attendees feel appreciated and an important component of ITT International.

Three customized mixed-media presentations were specially produced for the meeting. The first presentation introduced the theme of the meeting, “Meeting the Challenge,” during the opening session. The presentation format was large screen, covering the entire width of the theater, and incorporated a fifteen projector slide show with video inserts, dry ice for, surround sound, and a laser light sequence. The presentation style was celebratory and motivational, with upbeat music, and a collection of slides and video clips acquired on the day of arrival, with the main thematic material.

The second mixed-media presentation was a fifteen-slide projector program which followed the “Challenge” theme, but addressed the issue of how ITT was responding to market change through a restructuring of their strategy. This program was presented during the banquet on the second evening, and was coordinated with table and room decorations. As part of this program, several of the top producing individuals and teams were recognized, brought to the stage, and awarded a nice gift.

The third mixed-media presentation was an integral part of the closing session, and incorporated photos and video acquired during business and social sessions the first and second days of the meeting. The theme was team work and individual achievement, and was accompanied by custom three-ring notebook binders containing comprehensive marketing and collateral materials to assist the sales and marketing personnel address the change in strategy with their clients and prospects, and to achieve their sales objectives in the coming months.

Results: ITT responded to the changing market conditions in a proactive manner, preparing in great detail the marketing, collateral, sales support, and media release information well in advance of announcing the change to their sales and marketing force. This preparation combined with an outstanding 3-day announcement meeting helped the attendees accept the strategy change, and leave the meeting knowing that they were an important part of the company’s implementation strategy. Over the next several months ITT exceeded its sales projections, and experienced below normal attrition levels. The meeting format has since been subsequently successfully employed by ITT.

Case Study #7 – Customer Education: Video/Collateral/Direct Mail

Challenge: Eli Lilly Company’s Qualicaps capsule manufacturing business was expanding to meet market demand. Qualicaps relied on independent Field Representatives to market their capsules to pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies throughout the free world. To meet growing demand, Qualicaps was purchasing a capsule manufacturing competitor in Puerto Rico. This company had a well established client base for their distinctive style capsules, which was a client base Eli Lilly wanted to retain. Since the equipment to manufacture these capsules has a finite life span, Eli Lilly was faced with the cost of continually replacing the existing equipment, or transition customers to the more ubiquitous style manufactured by Qualicaps. The potential of this market represented millions of dollars in potential income for Qualicaps.

A decision was made to continue the production of the newly acquired company’s capsules, while establishing a parallel Qualicaps manufacturing line, and to transition the established client base to Qualicaps capsules. Clients would have to retool their production facilities to use a different style capsule, which could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital investment. Field Representatives would have to be trained in a new dual marketing role, and taught how to address these issues with the newly acquired company’s client base.

Solution: Eli Lilly agreed that controlling the Field Representative’s interaction with clients was going to be necessary to make the marketing transition successful. Since the Field Representatives were a mobile force, traveling by private and public transportation, a compact 8mm videoplayer solution was employed. A carefully structured series of video productions was designed, each for a specific segment of the market. One was for use by the Field Representative during an initial presentation. Another was designed as a leave-behind for the prospect. A third was targeted to the mass-mail market, and was accompanied by appropriate collateral material, including a custom packaged oversize fortune cookie, with appropriate message, announcing the new campaign. The fortune cookies were mailed to each of the newly acquired clients, with a message specific to them, and another version was shipped to the Field Representatives.

A series of seminars announcing the new campaign were produced, with a variety of target groups: new employees, new clients, existing manufacturing employees, Field Representatives, marketing support staffs, and various management groups.

Results: The Field Representatives experienced excellent reception when calling on the new client base, and had very little resistance getting the opportunity to play the videotape for appropriate one-on-one audiences. Successful transition of nearly 72% of the existing client base occurred over the ensuing four years, with most of the client losses being attributed to business failures. Only a handful of the clients made a change to Qualicaps’ competitors.

Case Study #8 – Market Positioning: Promotion/Direct Mail

Challenge: Allison Division-General Motors manufactures the 250 hp aircraft and marine turbine engines which had enjoyed wide acceptance, particularly in the aircraft manufacturing and refurbishing industries. With the advent of the competitive small jet engine, however, new sales of the 250 turbine engine were waning, as aircraft manufacturers focused on introducing new jet powered models. GM wanted a tool to renew the manufacturer’s interest in the long proven 250 engine, and to recapture a major segment of the new aircraft engine market.

Solution: GM agreed that aircraft manufacturers are airplane buffs, and that the most important aspect of their business was safety and reliability of their aircraft. They also agreed that the power and ambient noise level of the Allison 250 turbine could not match the new jet engines, while the maintenance costs, historical reliability and availability of repair facilities were superior. A plan was put into place to conduct a research study in Allison Division’s archives for success stories relating to the safety and durability of the Allison 250 engine. This study resulted in an amazing number of reports and comments from military, airline and private owner sources.

A 15 minute videotape production was created, addressing the historical significance of the wide variety of aircraft that, coincidentally, used the Allison 250 turbine engine. Ranging from military and civilian helicopters, airliners, cargo liners, and private owner aircraft, the television production became an aircraft lovers cornucopia of rare photographs, film and video footage, and stories of the many times these aircraft historically performed well beyond the norm. It was only at the conclusion of the presentation that the viewer was reminded that all of the aircraft shown used the Allison 250 engine.

Results: Allison Division was overwhelmed with requests for copies of the videotape, and immediately produced an entire marketing collateral packet to accompany the gratis shipment of the custom packaged videotapes. The aircraft manufacturing market place was subtly reminded of the reliability and ubiquity of the Allison 250 engine. New commitments were received for employment of the Allison 250 for future aircraft models, and an entire line of collateral materials has been developed over the years celebrating the historical aircraft which employed the engine.

Case Study #9 – Market Positioning: Advertising/Direct Mail

Challenge: Motorola Communications was experiencing erosion of their two-way radio communications market, due to the proliferation of cellular telephone service. Motorola wanted to position their products against the more expensive cellular telephones in the public service and craftsman markets, to recapture lost or postponed sales, while avoiding positioning themselves in a manner that would prevent their own entry into the cellular market.

Solution: Motorola Communications agreed that cellular service was here to stay, but that two-way radio service had its own niche which could be expanded within certain market segments. It was decided to produce a television documentary which explored the historical significance of two-way radio communications, and reaffirmed the economical cost of operation of these systems over their lifetime. Used as a marketing tool, the documentary was direct mailed to clients and prospects, along with a supplemental information sheet that compared the costs of two-way radio to cellular.

The documentary was shot on videotape in numerous locations throughout the Midwest, using dozens of actors, antique automobiles, police and fire departments, props from the Motorola Museum and private collections, and file footage from military archives. Thirty minutes in length, the documentary began with the first transmission by Marconi, and continued through the introduction of automobile radios, two-radio communication for public safety, the military handie-talkie, and concluded with scenes depicting the critical role of two-way radio communications in situations where cellular telephones would not be adequate or appropriate.

Results: The documentary was widely employed as a direct mail promotional item, a leave-behind by field representatives, and as a filler program for cable television systems. Copies of the videotape were distributed to many public school system libraries throughout the United States. A shorter revision of the documentary was created within a few weeks after the documentary’s release, to fulfill demands from the field sales force for a sales tool that could be presented one-on-one with prospective clients. The documentary received an independent production-industry award for excellence, and was attributed with achieving great success in improved sales within the public safety and commercial segments of the communications market.

Case Study #10 – Market Positioning; Computer Based Training

Challenge: Hon Office Furniture was experiencing difficulty in maintaining their extensive product catalogs in their thousands of retail outlets. Although they stressed timely distribution of sales collateral material to their outlets, they found that the material often didn’t get placed in the catalog, and many clerks on the sales floor were unaware of the revisions when presenting Hon’s products to prospects. This often led to a purchase of a competitor’s product, which was perceived to be more modern or expansive in options. Although the retail catalog was an excellent sales tool, if it was not maintained in a current fashion, it was often perceived as being out of date. Hon needed a new way to present their product options to the shopper.

Solution: Working in conjunction with Office Depot, one of Hon’s largest retail outlets, a plan was developed to produce an interactive computer-based retail kiosk which the shopper could utilize to select products, view color and fabric options, and then place the products into a scale room, to see how the new purchases would fit into the space. The project was developed on IBM’s Digital Video Integration platform, and used an automated modem to receive periodic video updates to products. Thus, the shopper was always looking at the most up to date product line from Hon.

Results: This system was adopted by Office Depot, and now incorporates many of their product lines, including Hon. The work stations are now Web based, and updates are downloaded from scheduled satellite feeds from corporate headquarters.

Case Study #11 – Education: Multiplexed Video

Challenge: The Ruth Lilly Center for Health Education provides classes for school children ages 6-18, delivering more depth and detail than can be effectively delivered in the traditional classroom. School districts in their service area utilize the facility on a field-trip basis, paying a small fee per student, selecting classes from a variety of subjects available. Most of the educational material had been delivered via multi-projector slide shows with synchronized sound tracks. Burned out bulbs, slide trays out of sequence, and unfamiliarity with multi-projector system operation often prevented teachers from being able to present a class. The slide show format was viewed as outmoded, and much of the material outdated. A more reliable solution was desired, as well as a means of presenting the material in a more contemporary format.

Solution: IBM’s Digital Video Integration technology was coupled with rear-view LCD projectors to present action video and graphical material on three viewing surfaces simultaneously, and stereo sound brought the material to the student in a manner consistent with big theater presentations. Each classroom was equipped with a video server, a graphics server, a program sequencer, and the Center’s existing slide projectors.

Each lesson was revised and updated prior to production. Upon approval of the production script, custom produced video, graphics and sound were created to develop an engaging theater style production designed for the appropriate age group. Involving dozens of locations, countless set designs, and approximately one hundred actors, the course material required almost seven months of production. Lesson material was deployed as soon as it was produced, while other material remained in the writing or production process.

Results: The acceptance of the material produced was widely acclaimed, and was featured in a front page article of the local newspaper. Schools were unanimous in their support of the improved material, which resulted in a surge of participation by school districts. The successful deployment of this new technology became the model for other health centers around the country to immolate, and continues today as a Web enabled teaching model.

Case Study #12 – Employee Education: Computer Based Training

Challenge: St Vincent Hospital’s nursing staff and technicians trained in administration of electrocardiograms are required to recertify on the EKG machine each 90 days. Testing includes a written examination and demonstration of the testing procedure on a patient. Since the staff of trained operators are constantly responding to emergencies while on duty, the recertification process presented a very difficult challenge for the training department. It was common practice to allow technicians to operate well beyond the 90 days allowed before testing. St. Vincent had recently been inspected by the state health department, and found to be deficient in training currency for their operators. A concerted effort to bring their staff into compliance required significant overtime pay. A better means of training was required.

Solution: St. Vincent agreed that the written examination could be administered through alternative means, and that this was the most difficult portion of the recertification process to achieve, since testing had to be done in a monitored environment, usually a classroom. A proposal to place a large battery of randomized questions on a computer terminal was accepted. The technician could log into the system using their employee number, initiate the test, receive a randomized list of questions, and could respond to the questions through a multiple choice array. The test was then scored, and submitted through e-mail to the training department. If a technician was called away during the test, the test could be bookmarked and completed at a later time. If a test question was twice answered erroneously, the computer opened a help window in which text and/or video instruction was displayed. The subject question was then offered again for a correct input.

Results: Recertification of technicians and operators was achieved much more easily during a normal working shift, eliminating the requirement for periodic classroom instruction. The entire staff was quickly brought into compliance with recertification requirements on written tests, and the training department’s tasks were greatly reduced.

Case Study #13 – Point of Purchase Kiosk: E-Commerce

Challenge: Huffy Bicycle produces a large number of bicycles for various market segments. Few retailers could devote enough floor space to display the full Huffy Bicycle line of products. Often, floor space was divided among multiple bicycle manufacturers, meaning that shoppers were not often able to compare Huffy’s model to a competitor’s which might on display. Huffy needed a way to present their entire line to shoppers, without requiring retailers to stock and refill large amounts of collateral material.

Solution: In conjunction with K-Mart, one of Huffy’s largest retail outlets, a prototype retail kiosk was developed and tested on the retail floor. The initial software/hardware used for the prototype comprised IBM’s Digital Video Integration package, a custom retail kiosk, a touch screen for client interaction, and a cell phone to place the orders over night. The software presented full color photographs of each model bicycle in children’s, lady’s, men’s and mountain bicycles. After the model in which the customer was interested was selected and displayed on the screen, the preferred color could be selected. If the shopper was interested in more information, a touch of the screen would bring up an action video clip of the bicycle in use, with an appropriate narration of the features and benefits of that model. If the model was not in stock, the shopper could place an order through the kiosk, and given priority order status by K-Mart’s purchasing department. The bicycle was usually available for pick up within four to five days.

Results: The results of the month long retail floor test of the kiosk demonstrated that shoppers were willing to wait for delivery of their bicycle in order to get just the model and color they desired. The test also demonstrated that K-Mart could expand their sales of bicycles by making a wider selection of models available, and the kiosk eliminated the requirement for more dedicated floor space in order to display additional models. This system experienced wide acceptance, and can be found in a Web enabled model in many retail outlets today.

Case Study #14 – Training Design: Computer Based Training

Challenge: United Airlines established an international repair hub for its 737 aircraft at a Midwest location where no repair facility had been located previously. Employees familiar with 737 maintenance were being transferred to the new city, but the bulk of employees were new hires with no experience with this model aircraft. The processes being employed for maintenance included newly designed infrastructure and support equipment, which was innovative and unique to this facility. United needed to train their entire team on all facets of the new hub, from building maintenance and support systems, to aircraft maintenance procedures.

Solution: United recognized that the best instruction available for many of the systems being installed in the new building were the manufacturer’s representatives who were on site during installation of their products and systems. Each supplier was required to provide detailed instruction on each component of the system installed, which would be captured on video tape. As each phase of the construction was completed, and instructional material grouped into categories targeted at specific maintenance groups, the video was transferred to CD, and placed in the training library. Over one thousand subjects were covered, and distributed on nearly 400 CDs available for viewing in the training room. Instruction was delivered to employee groups and new hires as needed through this system.

Results: This training system was very effective in delivering detailed training not usually available to support the manuals and maintenance manuals provided by manufacturers after the initial training session. The information contained in the volume of work continues to be a source of reference for infrastructure maintenance personnel, and continues to be effective in training newly hired technicians.

Case Study #15 – Consumer Motivation; Media Production

Challenge: During times of extended extreme heat the ability of electricity producers to provide sufficient power to prevent brown outs is tested to the ultimate. Operating costs for the electrical companies is highest when operating at full capacity, and requires considerable overtime expenditures for maintenance personnel to be in a constant state of readiness. The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives is a trade association representing the regional rural electric cooperatives in the State of Missouri. Rather than being constantly in a defensive position when temperatures were high, the Association sought a way to be proactive in reducing the demands on their member’s systems.

Solution: The Association agreed that the best method of alerting members of the rural electric cooperatives was through announcements on radio and television. The cost of such a concept, however, was seen as prohibitive. A plan was developed to create an in-house advertising agency to place advertising with the media, and recoup the ad agency discounts available through each placement. the agency was also empowered to develop 4 thirteen-week schedules annually with each radio and television station throughout the state, to gain the discounts available for bulk advertising.

In order to receive as much exposure for the Association as possible without the expenditure of huge advertising budgets, a plan was developed to educate electrical consumers through press releases and a carefully planned series of newspaper and statewide magazine advertisements. These ads explained the system that was being devised, and informed the public that Alert announcements would be aired on their local radio and television stations during peak usage times. When these announcements were aired, consumers were asked to reduce their consumption, to help reduce the annualized cost of electricity.

Concurrently, television stations in each market throughout the state were contacted about a plan to gain television exposure at minimal costs. The plan was to form a planning group comprised of a representative from each television station to determine the public service programming they were required to address as part of their licensing agreement. Each station was required to conduct quarterly studies in their markets to ascertain issues that the public felt needed to be addressed by the media.

By determining which issues were common to all markets, an arrangement was made to produce a single half hour program addressing each of the issues, which could be aired in every television market. This plan saved the television stations the cost of producing the programs themselves, and met the requirements of their license agreement. The programs were produced at the expense of the Association, and provided to the station in exchange for Alert announcements to be run upon demand.

Results: The alert system, named Peak Alert, was aired successfully in all Missouri markets, and in each instance had a measurable impact on the peak loads being experienced by the electric utilities. The cost of the program was far outweighed by the savings, and was continued in operation for four seasons. The Peak Alert program gained national media recognition and received the Missouri Broadcasting Association’s annual Award of Excellence. The half hour television programs were widely lauded, and received numerous awards and honorable mentions for production excellence. The Association was awarded the George Washington Honor Medal by the American Freedom Foundation for its sponsorship.

Case Study #16 – Railroad Engineer Training Program

Challenge: Consolidated Grain Company’s facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana operates a grain and fertilizer handling business that includes river barge traffic and railroad traffic. The railroad traffic had traditionally been handled by having the incoming revenue cars dropped off in their yard facility by the delivering railroad. Elevator employees would then take one of the facility’s two locomotives to the yard, couple to the required string of cars, and take them to the elevator for loading or unloading.

Over the years, the area around Consolidated Grain Company became formalized as the Clarksville Maritime Facility, an industrial complex which included additional businesses. New sidings of railroad track were laid to the new industries, all leading to the switching yard operated by Consolidated Grain. Elevator employees from Consolidated Grain began handling delivery of loaded or empty cars to and from their switching yard and the industries on an on-call basis. In time, Consolidated Grain formed a short line railroad company, MGRI, and began charging the industries railroad tariff rates for pick up and delivery of their cars.

In 1995 the MGRI railroad operation, by federal law, had to meet all operating standards required by the Federal Transportation Act, pertaining to certification of all individuals who operated railroad locomotive. The certification of the engineer roster had to be achieved in a short period of time to continue operation, or the railroad, and therefore Consolidated Grain Company, would be subject to fines levied by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Solution: In July of 1995 Larry Vaughn was selected to develop and administer a three-year training program for Consolidated Grain Company, to transfer the necessary knowledge to their engineers during an intense classroom and field exercise training program. The initial six-month training period was required to design and conduct the classroom sessions, conduct field training in federal safety standards, and to develop proper locomotive and train handling techniques. During the first quarter of 1996, the entire staff of engineers, except one person, passed the written knowledge examination. Of those who successfully completed the classroom training, all performed satisfactorily on their operating field tests, and received federal licenses as locomotive engineers.

For the remaining two years, the engineers received periodic observations of their field operating practices, and annual classroom sessions dealing with federally mandated topics. Simultaneously, one of the senior staff members also received training as a Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers, and completed the training during the third year of the training program.

Results: MGRI met, and in some cases, exceeded the federally mandated requirements for the education and training of their engineers, and continued to improve their operation to such a level that they became a model operation for other short line railroads to implement in their operations. Each MGRI engineer continued to increase his knowledge of proper operating practices, and improved in train handling skills, throughout the three year training program. One member of their engineer staff received additional classroom and field training in the federally mandated requirements for a Supervisor of Locomotive Engineers, and assumed responsibility for management of the Engineer Training Program in the third year of its implementation. The railroad’s program became a model program, and has been adopted by similar operations throughout the United States.

Case Study #17 – Marketing & Training Using Mixed Media

Challenge: ITT International proposed to introduce a new marketing strategy for the coming year, which was expected to derive considerable resistance from long term employees. The new strategy was conceived to address rapid changes in ITT’s market, and meant a new marketing methodology which could initially adversely impact the income of the sales and marketing team. A negative reaction to the new strategy could result in loss of vast experience vested in the sales and marketing team. Retention of these team members, and their enthusiastic support, was essential to success of the new marketing strategy.

Solution: A three-day theme meeting was conducted in which the attendees were treated with the respect and courtesy due them, including custom airport transportation, arrival gifts in each guest’s room, extensive spouse activities, recreational and social events, and numerous opportunities for peer meetings. Every effort was made to make the attendees feel appreciated and an important component of ITT International.

Three customized mixed-media presentations were specially produced for the meeting. The first presentation introduced the theme of the meeting, “Meeting the Challenge,” during the opening session. The presentation format was large screen, covering the entire width of the theater, and incorporated a fifteen projector slide show with video inserts, dry ice for, surround sound, and a laser light sequence. The presentation style was celebratory and motivational, with upbeat music, and a collection of slides and video clips acquired on the day of arrival, with the main thematic material.

The second mixed-media presentation was a fifteen-slide projector program which followed the “Challenge” theme, but addressed the issue of how ITT was responding to market change through a restructuring of their strategy. This program was presented during the banquet on the second evening, and was coordinated with table and room decorations. As part of this program, several of the top producing individuals and teams were recognized, brought to the stage, and awarded a nice gift.

The third mixed-media presentation was an integral part of the closing session, and incorporated photos and video acquired during business and social sessions the first and second days of the meeting. The theme was team work and individual achievement, and was accompanied by custom three-ring notebook binders containing comprehensive marketing and collateral materials to assist the sales and marketing personnel address the change in strategy with their clients and prospects, and to achieve their sales objectives in the coming months.

Results: ITT responded to the changing market conditions in a proactive manner, preparing in great detail the marketing, collateral, sales support, and media release information well in advance of announcing the change to their sales and marketing force. This preparation combined with an outstanding 3-day announcement meeting helped the attendees accept the strategy change, and leave the meeting knowing that they were an important part of the company’s implementation strategy. Over the next several months ITT exceeded its sales projections, and experienced below normal attrition levels. The meeting format has since been subsequently successfully employed by ITT.

Case Study #18 – Customer Education: Video/Collateral/Direct Mail

Challenge: Eli Lilly Company’s Qualicaps capsule manufacturing business was expanding to meet market demand. Qualicaps relied on independent Field Representatives to market their capsules to pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies throughout the free world. To meet growing demand, Qualicaps was purchasing a capsule manufacturing competitor in Puerto Rico. This company had a well established client base for their distinctive style capsules, which was a client base Eli Lilly wanted to retain. Since the equipment to manufacture these capsules has a finite life span, Eli Lilly was faced with the cost of continually replacing the existing equipment, or transition customers to the more ubiquitous style manufactured by Qualicaps. The potential of this market represented millions of dollars in potential income for Qualicaps.

A decision was made to continue the production of the newly acquired company’s capsules, while establishing a parallel Qualicaps manufacturing line, and to transition the established client base to Qualicaps capsules. Clients would have to retool their production facilities to use a different style capsule, which could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital investment. Field Representatives would have to be trained in a new dual marketing role, and taught how to address these issues with the newly acquired company’s client base.

Solution: Eli Lilly agreed that controlling the Field Representative’s interaction with clients was going to be necessary to make the marketing transition successful. Since the Field Representatives were a mobile force, traveling by private and public transportation, a compact 8mm video player solution was employed. A carefully structured series of video productions was designed, each for a specific segment of the market. One was for use by the Field Representative during an initial presentation. Another was designed as a leave-behind for the prospect. A third was targeted to the mass-mail market, and was accompanied by appropriate collateral material, including a custom packaged oversize fortune cookie, with appropriate message, announcing the new campaign. The fortune cookies were mailed to each of the newly acquired clients, with a message specific to them, and another version was shipped to the Field Representatives.

A series of seminars announcing the new campaign were produced, with a variety of target groups: new employees, new clients, existing manufacturing employees, Field Representatives, marketing support staffs, and various management groups.

Results: The Field Representatives experienced excellent reception when calling on the new client base, and had very little resistance getting the opportunity to play the videotape for appropriate one-on-one audiences. Successful transition of nearly 72% of the existing client base occurred over the ensuing four years, with most of the client losses being attributed to business failures. Only a handful of the clients made a change to Qualicaps’ competitors.

About Larry E. Vaughn Jr

Larry E Vaughn is a Missouri-based blogger/ content writer, and former career counselor. His published works can be found at HeliumNetwork, and InsideBusiness360 . He wrote for CabForward.com℠ and has additional websites at GodsWoodShed.com, Vaughnkitchens.com, larryevaughnjr.com, and is publisher of The Self-Employment Journal, http://paper.li/levaughn#/..
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1 Response to Case Studies

  1. Pingback: About « Larry E Vaughn

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