Alden Products Inc. - European Manufacturing
The case speaks about a manufacturing company which undergoes expansion of plant to manufacture in order to meet the growing demand. The company comes across various phases where it has to take strategic decisions to centralize or distribute, localize or standardize, and integrate or separate to attain operational efficiency and build on its competitive strategies.
Alden Products Inc. (API) a company headquartered in Illinois, United States majorly ventured in personal care products and traded worldwide. Having said that, the company sells over 1500 products in more than 50 countries. Skin creams, lotions, soaps and shampoos, toiletries and deodorants were a few products around which their business was concentrated. Majority of sales were done in Europe continent. API
s target segment were customers who preferred high end products which were unique, high quality and innovative. The company is known for its excellent marketing strategies through innovative advertisements and other promotions. Also, they priced their products about 15% more than their competitors. Initially there were two plants, one in Peoria located in United States and the other in Buxbridge in United Kingdom. In 1962, the company decided to build a new plant to consolidate the entire production into two plants. One was the existing plant in Buxbridge which would responsible for United Kingdom region and other was a new Uniplant in Holland which would meet the production demands of entire European region including its subsidiaries.
Why did the company go for a new UNIPLANT?
The decision to build a Uniplant was majorly influenced by the below listed two factors or trends observed in the European market.
Firstly, the sales in European market grew at a rate of over 40% and was expected to quadruple in next 3 years. The existing facility in Europe could not meet this demand as most of them were inefficient and operated at maximum capacity. However the option of expanding the existing facility was ruled out keeping the cost and investment factor
Meetup: A Usability Case Study
Meetup is one of the world’s largest network of self-organized clubs and community groups. It helps people connect face-to-face with other people who have similar interests and hobbies.
Being a passionate Meetup attendee myself, I wanted to answer these three questions:
#1. How are people currently using the Meetup app?
#2. Are users facing any usability issues while using the app?
#3. If yes, what can I do to help solve these issues through design?
This is a UX case study that explores those various questions.
Note: I do not work for nor am affiliated with Meetup. This is a passion project, enjoy!
I divided my game plan into 5 distinct phases, cheers to IDEO’s human-centered design thinking process.
Redesign the app to solve for current pain points.
1. Empathize with Users
There are two types of Meetup members. Those who want to host their own group and those who want to attend. In my case study, I wanted to capture both sides.
Understanding the User
In order to get me thinking about all the different possibilities of why someone would use Meetup, I created a list of possible users, situations, motivations, and outcomes (aka. the Jobs To Be Done framework).
This would help me understand the mindset and background of the user’s behavior, needs, and goals to help formulate the various tasks I would be asking them to complete.
Based on the exercise above, I crafted two provisional personas. These personas are purely based off of my assumptions and serve to inform my design decisions during the initial phase of design & research. I’ll be validating or invalidating my assumptions during user research & testing.
Persona #1: “I have awesome things to share and want to host my own Meetup.”
Persona #2: “I’m here to meet people who love music as much as I do.”
Guerrilla Usability Testing
Usability testing is a very quick way to understand obstacles faced in an application from a user’s perspective. In order to improve the app, I first had to gain insights by observing people using the app while recording their interactions.
I wanted to target a location that Meetup users would likely be hanging out at. While keeping Jane & Aaron’s personas in mind, I headed over to Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco.
Performing a usability test with 5 people will help you uncover 93% of what is possible to discover, so I found 7 brave participants who would be willing to participate in my experiment.
I came up with scenarios that tested for the following topics:
- Group creation
- Scheduling an event
- Finding a group and/or event
- Joining + RSVP’ing to a group and/or event
All of the users I tested were from the ages of 26–35 and considered themselves tech savvy iPhone users who have never used the app before.
2. Defining the Problem
After I had completed my initial round of usability testing, I reviewed the footage and wrote down any obstacles they came across on post-it notes.
Through affinity mapping and analysis, I focused on addressing the top 4 issues that were most painful for the user.Here is what I came up with: