An ILTM project team tackles a project of the partner's choosing, helping find solutions to a real problem or making progress on a real initiative within the organization. Project teams are multidisciplinary, typically including 2-3 engineering students, 2-3 management/ accounting students, and one liberal arts student. The team is guided by one of the ILTM core faculty members but works quite autonomously. Each student typically works nearly 100 hours on the project over the course of the six weeks.
Hershey's Gifts (HSY)
Hershey's Gifts is the direct to consumer (DTC) arm of The Hershey Company. It markets a variety of Hershey's brand gift and specialty confection items, such as gift tins, towers, boxes, and baskets of Hershey products, to consumers via catalog, web, phone and a small business to business partnership. The Hershey Company manufactures chocolate and other sugar confectionery products, including gum and mint refreshment products and food and beverage enhancers under 60 brand names.
ILTM students were asked to evaluate strategic partnership opportunities for Hershey's Gifts in order to drive organic growth. They performed a thorough evaluation of potential partnership models within the direct-to-consumer space and provided a detailed assessment of the viability of options. The team researched potential partnerships such as merchandising, marketing, product design, product manufacturing, fulfillment, customer service, and purchasing, licensing, franchising, and other business arrangements, identifying the key characteristics of each type. They then found companies utilizing each model and described how the use of models affected each company's level of success. After evaluating each option to fit with the Hershey's Gifts business objectives, the team identified potential partners for Hershey's Gifts and provided a vision for the strategic partnership, including scope of relationship, roles, responsibilities, and goals and objectives.
The Oliver Sprinkler Company, headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, was founded in 1957 by Leland Oliver. A family-owned company, it is currently owned by David Oliver, Stephen Oliver, and Russell Walters. The company designs, installs, services, and inspects fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems in commercial buildings. Although the depressed economy stunted commercial construction, newly passed building codes requiring additional sprinklerfitting will create additional demand for the company.
In order to facilitate more efficient inspection, the Oliver Sprinkler Company asked ILTM students to assess the feasibility of using new technologies, specifically hand-held devices. ILTM students analyzed a spectrum of devices available, estimated the costs of roll-out and implementation, and performed a rate of return analysis.
The Vanguard Group
Vanguard is a client-owned investment management company managing over $1 trillion in assets. The firm offers mutual funds and other financial products and services to individual and institutional investors in the United States and abroad. With its main corporate campus located in Valley Forge, PA, The Vanguard Group was founded in 1975 by John Bogle, who created the first indexed mutual fund. The company is dedicated to helping clients reach their financial goals by being the world's highest-value provider of investment products and services. With that in mind, Vanguard practices ethical investing to build long-term client and company loyalty.
The Vanguard ILTM team dealt primarily with the Wealth Transfer Services department, within the Retail Investor Group of Vanguard. This department specializes in assisting surviving owners, successor trustees, executors, and other authorized parties with the legal and company-specific requirements to transfer or reregister assets at Vanguard.
To streamline the Wealth Transfer Services customer service model, the student team performed a SWOT analysis of the department. After extensive research, the members provided a comparative analysis of peer financial institutions' transfer-due-to-death policies. Finally, based on this analysis, the group made suggestions for the improvement of the customer service model and provided a revision of the various required transfer forms.
The Hershey Company (HSY) manufactures chocolate and other sugar confections, including snack products, refreshments, beverages, and baking ingredients. With five geographic locations and other international locations, HSY has a global presence. In 2007, the Hershey Company entered a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Godrej Beverages and Foods, Ltd. in India and a manufacturing agreement with Lotte Confectionery Co., LTD., in China.
ILTM students were asked to develop a plan of metric tracking and communication to assist the Hershey Company in monitoring the performance and execution of a new strategic plan. ILTM students were expected to determine the appropriate metrics such as sales revenue, operating income, waste levels, and return on invested capital. They were also expected to develop appropriate performance targets and create scorecards for metric tracking. In creating the scorecards, students considered format, frequency, and method of generation. ILTM students then developed a rollout plan for the communication of the determined key performance indicators and analyzed the reporting processes.
Geisinger Health System serves 2.5 million Pennsylvanians. Comprised of physician group practices, including 42 ambulatory clinics, a 200,000 member health plan, three hospitals, and other ambulatory facilities, Geisinger uses a sophisticated electronic health record platform to link its many components. The company has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Modern Healthcare.
ILTM students assisted Geisinger with market research, survey interviews, and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis for two to four of Geisinger’s devices. Students had the opportunity to become familiar with the emergency medicine environment and discover how new devices go from concepts and prototypes to the market. Students also used the data they collected to design a plan for commercialization, focusing on both business and engineering aspects. They prepared a business plan and a prototype design as well.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. was founded by Martha Stewart in 1996. Its businesses include publishing, Internet, broadcasting, and merchandising. The company provides consumers with “how-to” information, ranging from decorating to gardening to entertainment. In 2007, the company re-launched marthastewart.com –a website that features MSLO’s vault of recipes, video clips, articles, ideas and projects. The site incorporates content from Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Martha Stewart Show, Everyday Food TV, and Martha Stewart Living Radio, which airs on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Blogs and MSLO’s floral business are also available on the site.
Interested in potential for further website growth, MSLO asked ILTM students to investigate the user engagement tools and social networking capabilities. The MSLO student team was also asked to evaluate the benefits of such user engagement tools using metrics in the areas of site traffic, user behavior and utility, and revenue generation. Students then used data to forecast trends in social networking features and develop recommendations and a rollout plan for the company.
Medco Health Solutions, Inc. manages prescription drug benefit programs, moderating the cost of prescription drugs and improving the quality of pharmacy health care. Among the company’s clients are BlueCross/BlueShield, insurance carriers, and state and local government agencies. Employing more than 200,000 people across the nation, Medco provides services to approximately 1 in 5 Americans. Medco also includes a mail-order business and a pharmacy benefit management Web site (www.medco.com). It has nine mail-order pharmacies and six call center pharmacies. The Medco Medicare Prescription Plan and the Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers are also components of Medco Health solutions. The company’s subsidiaries include Accredo Health and Liberty Medical, the leader in diabetes care.
Hershey Foods (HSY), a North American chocolate and confections producer, is seeking to expand its presence globally. To accomplish this end, Hershey has established joint ventures facilities in China with Lotte Confections of Korea and Japan and in India with Godrej. In addition, Hershey has relationships with regional co-manufacturers and co-packers. In Asia, Hershey’s primary business model is an import model, in which goods produced in the United States are marketed and distributed to countries in Asia through independent distributors. With the emergence of the joint ventures facilities in Asia, Hershey would like to create a more flexible hybrid sourcing model to take advantage of co-manufacturers in order to reduce costs and improve service quality. The company hopes to accomplish this by reducing the length of the supply chain while supporting the ability to grow and innovate. Hershey’s primary goal is to create the most efficient and reliable network of supply chain contractors and operators. Currently, Hershey is assessing the possibility of consolidating its manufacturing and service providers in certain areas because of advantages that may emerge from labor cost, duties and tariffs, transport costs, and other factors. Other assessments that Hershey wishes to implement include the analysis of the broader supply chain network that supports operations in Asia, of the current duties and tax regimes in the region as applied to the company’s product base, of the timing and likelihood of bi- and multi-lateral trade agreements, and of supply chain partnerships that might be available on a global, regional, or more localized basis.
The ILTM team was to analyze and provide recommendations regarding Hershey Distribution and Supply Chain Operations in support of the business units in Asia, specifically about the locations that would be most advantaged to provide the necessary manufacturing, co-packing, logistics and consolidation services in the area. In addition, ILTM students researched and assessed the potential opportunities and risks associated with co-packing and consolidation efforts. They analyzed capacity and supply chain practices locally, regionally, and globally. Lastly, by analyzing the emerging trade agreements and structures, the ILTM group suggested the most cost effective locations and major trends that may impact the future locations of facilities and service providers.
Forest Homes (FH), a division of Lancaster Redevelopment Corporation, supplies all portions of a house excluding the concrete or masonry foundation, mechanicals, and finish flooring. Some of the products that FH provides are engineered lumber components (floor trusses and I-joists), panelized walls, and roof trusses. Due to these prefabricated components, the construction of houses is made more efficient than construction of houses built piece by piece on site. In addition, these prefabricated components bring consistency to the finished product that can be hard to obtain using traditional sawn lumber.
The Forest Homes headquarters in Selinsgrove, PA currently maintains seventy-five employees. The plant ships approximately 250 homes throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas, as well as to Michigan and Ohio. A plant that will be established in South Carolina will ship products throughout the southeast. Revenues for Forest Homes were approximately $15 million in 2005.
The objectives of the ILTM group were to create a written business plan including an analysis of the potential market for franchises, a description of the characteristics of the firms most likely to become franchisees, a marketing plan for each type of customer, a concept design of the IT system needed to support franchisees, a franchise business rollout schedule, and pro-formal financial analyses, including FH’s cash needs.
Geisinger Health System: In the summer of 2007, ILTM students learned about new medical devices that were designed to help save lives in the hectic environment of Emergency Medicine (EM) through the help of Geisinger Health System. By being exposed to this environment, the students gained insight on how new devices progress from prototypes to market goods. The students observed and participated in a focus group with clinicians to analyze the new devices. In addition, students were exposed to Geisinger Ventures’ involvement with business development and capital fundraising activities.
ILTM students were asked to examine market data including surveys and research to formulate a strategy for developing and creating new products. This included the analysis of two to four devices of high interest. They had to take into account the real challenges of optimizing return with limited resources. In addition, ILTM students were to assist with the construction of designs of new products and test devices in simulated settings and dummy units. Students also observed a real-life ER setting, designed a plan for commercialization that satisfied both business and engineering aspects, and assisted with the preparation of a business plan and prototype design.
Playworld Systems, Inc. introduced its own brand of commercial playground products in 1971. It had previously been known as the QE Manufacturing Company. In 1999, Playworld Systems headquarters moved to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Over the years, Playworld Systems has become one of the leaders in the playground and recreational product industry.
Recently, Playworld Systems has undertaken a Green Initiative. ITLM students were asked to research the effects that such an initiative would have on the international and domestic markets of playground products. In addition, ILTM students discussed the definition of desired material while considering how Playworld could improve their market position in the area of the Green Initiative. Students considered both the short and long term and considered a “global Green standard” as well as recent improvements in Green technology, such as the current carbon footprint and the current ecological impact. Finally, ILTM students made recommendations in the form of a presentation and written report to Playworld Systems about the proposed Green Initiative.
Geisinger Health Center
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