Project Case Studies
Below is a sampling of the projects I've completed and the results I've obtained for my clients.
Operations & Labor Productivity Analysis
Client: Multiple Modular Construction Factories
My client, a coalition of twenty-four (24) independently-owned modular factories across the United States, asked me to evaluate their affiliate factories' operations, with an emphasis on their labor productivity and process efficiency.
I spent a full week in each of more than eight (8) factories, observing over 400 hours of production activity, interviewing 70+ employees, and capturing over 600 additional hours of factory-based construction work on video.
Following the data collection phase, I analyzed hundreds of hours of video footage, using Lean Six Sigma principles of waste management and process optimization. Identifying value-added time and multiple types of non-value-added time, I developed a detailed quantitative analysis of the processes' productivity and efficiency rates.
In the process of this video analysis, I developed a proprietary software tool to facilitate and streamline the data analysis and calculation.
The analysis uncovered a huge and previously unknown opportunity to improve labor productivity by over 100%.
The resulting data comprised a breakthrough in offsite construction process understanding and will be used to advance the industry's productivity, throughput, and profitability well into the future.
Housing Innovation Opportunity Identification
Client: Nationwide Housing Association
My client represents a varied group of players in the housing industry, including developers, homebuilders, building product manufacturers, architects, lenders, construction tech companies, and more.
For their annual summit, the association wanted to educate its members and other summit attendees regarding data-driven innovation opportunities in the housing space.
Although other homeowner studies had been done, none of them provided objective and quantified customer needs to substantiate and de-risk innovation.
Using my Engineerovation™ process, I performed a study of the jobs that housing dwellers "hire" their homes to help them accomplish. Then, via a quantitative survey and statistical analysis, I determined which of those jobs were unmet.
The result was a prioritized list of previously-unknown, statistically-validated, and invaluable innovation opportunities for solution providers in the space.
Innovation Opportunity Identification and Analysis
Client: Four Major Building Product Manufacturers
My clients wanted to deeply understand the offsite construction market and the needs associated therewith.
Seeing the explosive growth in the sector, they wanted to establish a strong presence among offsite factories, and become preferred suppliers.
I applied my Engineerovation™ process, combining Jobs-To-Be-Done innovation theory with Lean Six Sigma engineering process, to methodically identify and quantitatively measure the customer needs associated with 12 separate jobs-to-be-done relevant to my clients' target solutions.
I spent a full week at each of five independent modular construction factories, identifying, mapping out, observing, and interviewing the job executors to deeply understand all the target jobs, from multiple production tasks to materials purchasing and management.
In parallel with the site visits, I developed and fielded 5 separate qualitative and quantitative survey instruments, collecting well over 78,000 data points regarding the jobs-to-be-done, as well as the factories' operations and procurement practices.
The research uncovered 117 unmet customer needs associated with the jobs-to-be-done (30% of the total needs identified).
Following the analysis, I facilitated 1-2 separate Focused Ideation sessions with each of the clients, to help them begin to implement the results of the research and develop innovations supported by quantitative data.
These ideation sessions resulted in more than 30 product and process innovations for my clients.
Services and Business Model Innovation
Client: Landscape Nursery
This mid-size nursery had an established customer base of commercial and residential landscapers. However, my client had noticed that landscaping companies have an abnormally low survival rate due to low barriers to entry and poor support.
In order to offer more value to their established customers, as well as to "grow" additional healthy customers, they envisioned offering business support services to help landscapers to survive and thrive, thus expanding my client's pool of healthy, growing, and loyal customers.
The problem was, they had no idea what services to offer. They had gotten some vague feedback from the market, but they didn't know what was a real opportunity and what was just noise.
I employed my Engineerovation™ process of Jobs-To-Be-Done innovation in multiple phases to identify, quantify, and validate the actual service innovation opportunities in the market. I then worked with the client to develop service concepts and a go-to-market plan for implementation based on the resultant data model.
The result was a cohesive services platform that will enable the client to quickly, cheaply, and confidently offer a unique high-value service to its customers that can be readily scaled nation-wide, exponentially expanding my client's geographic reach and growth potential.
Client: Offsite Construction Coalition
This consortium of over 20 modular manufacturing facilities was looking to maximize the efficiency of their overall business process - from lead generation to project completion.
They had been using a legacy process that was not optimized for maximum efficiency and was not sufficient to manage their complex construction projects across its broad manufacturing base.
Applying the Lean Six Sigma principle of Process Mapping, with in-depth qualitative interviews with sub-process owners, I studied the entire process end-to-end and developed a comprehensive process map, including inputs, outputs, dependencies, sub-process timing, and more, to give maximum visibility to the current state.
I then analyzed the process to identify bottlenecks, critical junctions, and improvement opportunities. With this information, I designed an optimized version of the process map.
The result was a streamlined and compressed process that reduced the overall Business Development process time (Lead to Win) by over 80 percent.
Customer Needs Identification
Client: Building Products Supplier
This exterior building products company was looking for their "next big thing." Their flagship products had done well but were aging and losing market share to competitors. The client needed to find the next cash cow for the business.
Up to that point, building product manufacturers had largely ignored the modular (offsite) manufacturing segment, since it represented such a small market share of total construction starts.
However, based on my knowledge of the industry and its huge growth potential, I proposed we explore this largely untapped and underserved customer segment.
We targeted the job of "protecting a building from water intrusion," as this was a product area where the client was particularly keen to innovate.
By implementing in-depth qualitative JTBD & Engineerovation™ research, I uncovered nearly 50 specific, objective, and actionable customer-validated needs associated with the job of protecting a building from water intrusion in a factory environment.
Although the client had been in business for many decades and had literally hundreds of theories on what their customer needs were, several of the needs I uncovered were previously completely unknown to them and created opportunities for multiple new-to-the-industry innovations.
Innovation Strategy Development
Client: Heavy Equipment Controls Provider
This leading manufacturer of controls and systems for heavy equipment needed to understand the market of heavy equipment fleet managers trying to optimize fleet utilization.
My team and I applied Jobs-To-Be Done innovation principles and Outcome-Driven Innovation™ to clearly define the job, which ended up being defined differently by the customers than it was thought to be by the client.
Next, we utilized a scientific process to qualitatively identify all the customer needs associated with the job and create objective, clear statements to express them without confusion.
We then implemented statistical analysis to identify the unmet needs and quantify the levels to which they were unmet, uncovering the true innovation opportunities in the market.
We identified more than 100 critical customer needs, 30 of which were unmet.
Finally, we synthesized and analyzed the data to develop a comprehensive and actionable innovation strategy, complete with recommendations for marketing, product improvement, and new product development.
Industrialized Construction Business Model Development and Validation
Client: Multinational Manufacturer
I the early years of the "modular manufacturing reawakening" several years ago, my partners and I were approached by a major overseas automotive manufacturer.
They believed that by applying their significant manufacturing prowess to the building of affordable homes, they could disrupt the US construction market and help address the country's significant affordable housing crisis with high-performance, widely accessible housing.
We conducted exhaustive research into the US industrialized construction industry. Based on this research and our extensive industry experience, we developed and evaluated multiple innovative business models by which the client could enter the market.
Through deeper research and analysis in Phase II, we identified 3 recommended models that would result in maximum ROI and market penetration for the client.
Although economic forces prevented the immediate implementation of our recommendations, the client lauded not only the innovativeness but the actionable practicality of the solutions we proposed.
New Product and Strategy Development
Client: Multinational Building Products Manufacturer
With the broadest product line in the industry, my client, a multi-billion-dollar building product manufacturer, saw an opportunity to be first to market with an integrated wall system solution.
I headed up a cross-functional innovation team made up of product, R&D, and Marketing leaders from three client business units.
As the team lead, I worked with dozens of innovation team members and other stakeholders. I conducted extensive market and customer research to uncover the unique needs in the market of home builders trying to sell high-performance homes to their homebuyers.
Based on the data gathered, I drove the ideation, design, and development of a first-of-its-kind platform-level wall system, along with marketing, branding, messaging, go-to-market, and distribution strategies.
The innovation gleaned an industry-first single-source contract worth $6 million in its first year of launch.
Innovation Strategy Development and Implementation
Client: Global Software Provider
The goal of this industry-leading maker of tax preparation software was to further penetrate the market for tax professionals preparing and filing tax returns, so they could leapfrog the competition by more effectively meeting the needs of these demanding customers.
I played a key role in the market and job definition, qualitative needs gathering, and quantitative opportunity identification.
The data revealed three very distinct segments of customers, with different areas of unmet needs. These results provided critical justification for a drastic change in corporate innovative direction.
The innovation strategy we developed and recommended also made feature development and segment targeting very straightforward for the client.
Innovation Strategy Development
Client: Heavy Construction Equipment Manufacturer
My client, a major manufacturer of heavy equipment, was looking for ways to improve their products and potentially disrupt the market for equipment operators moving materials around a construction site.
I led a team in conducting detailed qualitative customer research, including interviews with many customers, to map the job-to-be-done and the associated needs, uncovering more than 100 such needs.
We then developed and issued a comprehensive survey of over 250 customers regarding the uncovered needs from the qualitative stage.
Through a statistical analysis of the quantitative data, we identified around 30 needs that were underserved, with nearly as many that were overserved. This presented opportunities to the client for product improvement, new product development and cost reduction.
Innovation Strategy Development and Implementation
Client: Specialty Software Provider
My client, a leader in automotive dealership management software, was getting outflanked by their competition, and they suspected their accounting module was the problem.
My team and I conducted a full Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) Outcome-Driven Innovation™ process with them, including market identification, job mapping, needs gathering, opportunity quantification, strategy development, and implementation.
The result was three hyper-focused feature concepts that were highly targeted to the highest-opportunity needs in the market, as illustrated by the research data.