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Weekly Question: Week 3

Leave your response as a comment on this post by the beginning of class next week as well as your comments on your peer’s responsesRemember, you need to average four posts a week for a B. For these weekly questions, I’m mainly interested in your experiences and opinions, not so much particular “facts” from the class!

Answer one of the following:

  1. What do you think Wawa’s next move should be? Which of the options mentioned in the case would best serve their strategic goals of making their customer’s lives easier while improving their supply chain?
  2. In your experience (work or otherwise), describe a process that you interact with frequently but don’t know how it works. How do you interact with that process? What complications arise?

108 Responses to Weekly Question: Week 3

  • WAWA should consider alcoholic beverages as one of the next moves. With their WBC (WAWA Beverage Company) they could continue with their own branding and it would allow them to branch out into a whole know beverage industry of craft beers. It would require more investment but they already have the supply chain process in place.

    Where I like the mention of the “drive thru” idea, I agree that it would remove that “Cheers” atmosphere they have tried so hard to incorporate into their business. I think this would also create another area the general manager would need to understand since this is not like a drug store where you are just picking up medications. WAWA has multiple products and they would need to determine what the drive thru is really for. I suspect if they go this route and they only supply a limited amount of items thru the “drive thru” then consumers will eventually abandon the concept and it will fall on the “failed” shelf with Dunkin Donuts, Taco, etc. But at the same time it does define the term “convenient”.

    • Hi Stanley, I agree that adding alcoholic beverages to the product mix would help Wawa branch out and still maintain the image of a convenience store. Presently Wawa has no fee Atm’s installed in their stores, touch screen to order food, self service hot and cold beverages and their own brands of packaged food. Some even have parking space and a gas station. Wawa even has a mobile app that allows one to check in, pay by phone and use reward points. It is a one stop shop for someone who wants to just get in and get out. As an extension of the mobile app, it would make customers lives easier if they could order food and other items a few miles away, and could just walk in, pay for their purchase and collect the items. I think Wawa should also have some benches inside/ outside their store for people to eat the food they purchased. This would encourage customers to get out of their cars and help the staff maintain a cheer.

    • Hi Stan, I think I would have to disagree with you on that point. I have had several friends who have explored brewing as a start up. In Pennsylvania the beer brewing and distribution laws are quite complicated. From what I understand and have found (http://www.keystoneedge.com/features/howtobrewerypa011614.aspx) once you own a brewery you must then find a distributor. The distributor has the exclusive rights to distribute your beer, which can be sold by to other companies. Furthermore, if you are dissatisfied with your distributor you have to hope that they’ll be willing to sell the rights back to you. Not to mention that if you want to sell beer in the state of Pennsylvania you will have to obtain a license for each store that wishes to stock beer on its shelves. I can also safely say that if you did manage to procure these licenses and managed to carry a Wawa brand beer in your own store you would see a drop off in family visits. Few families want to take their children to a any places that offers driver through beer sales. That is not a family environment.

      • John,

        Certainly true in Pennsylvania but WAWA is in NJ, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia also. My daughter lives in New Orleans, they have drive through daiquiri bars there.

      • I agree with you John in terms of not going ahead with the alcohol option but I will suggest that WAWA should try to bring much healthier drinks in the market. As per the case, during the time 2007-08 beverages were becoming very popular and if WAWA can get the right mix of flavors and provide it in a much healthier package then it might get an edge. Moreover, to identify the right flavors, WAWA can go with trial basis with certain drinks and the ones which become popular out of the lot can be continued for production and rest can be stopped.

        • Hi Rishabh, are you suggesting carrying prepackaged healthy drink options or juice bar style drinks? Juice bar style might add some unwanted logistics and equipment/training needs that a lot of stores may not want.

        • I was happy/sad to see the immediate recommendation of adding alcoholic beverages to Wawa’s offerings. Unfortunately, some would argue, industries are too quick to resort to gambling and/or alcohol to achieve earnings. I agree that profitable companies should be bale to be more creative. Yet, I am guilty of immediately going there too until I pondered more so then read your posts. I too considered the regulations and the liability but more so the company’s values. After so many successful years, I doubt selling alcohol would be necessary for Wawa to maintain competitive advantage.They should focus on learning how to be nimble and flexible given the subtleties of consumer needs and wants. Alcohol sales is too much of a knee jerk reaction at this stage for Wawa:.too many State-by-State regulations; increased distribution costs to supply chain management; increased liability.

      • As Rich stated Wawa is not just in PA and it is expanding. These same issues have come up in states such as CA especially the “family” argument and that was quickly found to be untrue especially when alcohol, liqueurs and beer, are basically sold in any store and I think we are beginning to see that now in this area with places like Wegmans. Distribution wise I’m sure if Wawa were ever to go down this route they would find a means to maintain their rights and have a proper working partnership similar to what they have with McLane.

    • Hi Stanley, thanks for your nice perspective on Wawa’s craft brews, the idea is a truly innovative point of entry for convenience store model.
      I have to agree with your point of introducing drive thru’s where space permits. Starbuck’s has introduced drive thru’s to some of their new locations, I have tried it and believe its a great concept for Wawa. For the idea to be successful, Wawa would have offer only beverages, foods and salads on their drive thru menu. If the customer would like to pickup a short list of groceries or meds an placing an order to pick up at the store makes more sense.

    • I agree that selling alcoholic beverages would definitely be a good move, however as others said the laws for selling alcohol in PA are stricter than other states. It may be worth looking into in the other states they operate in though. I actually was reading about Sheetz the other day which is a store similar to Wawa. They petitioned to change PA laws to allow them to sell alcohol but had difficulty. I believe there were able to get it only in a few stores and this was because these stores larger than their normal stores and were considered a “restaurant”. Kind of a loophole they had to go through.

      • One of WAWA’s biggest tenants over the years is to maintain their Quaker values. While Quakers are not explicitly forbidden to drink, I do not believe adding alcohol to their products would fit into their family friendly persona. They could explore adding small. secondary buildings on larger properties that offer Beer and cigarettes, but the cost would be extensive. However, placing cigarettes in another location may aid in efficiency for those consumers who go to WAWA for just cigarettes. But again, this may deter these customers from making last minute purchases and affect sales.
        Ultimately, I don’t foresee WAWA entering the beer market, as it does not fit into their traditions, or goal of FIQUE. On top of the legal and acquisition costs, it doesn’t make sense for them to compete in this market and it doesn’t add value to their product.

    • One of WAWA’s biggest tenants over the years is to maintain their Quaker values. While Quakers are not explicitly forbidden to drink, I do not believe adding alcohol to their products would fit into their family friendly persona. They could explore adding small. secondary buildings on larger properties that offer Beer and cigarettes, but the cost would be extensive. However, placing cigarettes in another location may aid in efficiency for those consumers who go to WAWA for just cigarettes. But again, this may deter these customers from making last minute purchases and affect sales.
      Ultimately, I don’t foresee WAWA entering the beer market, as it does not fit into their traditions, or goal of FIQUE. On top of the legal and acquisition costs, it doesn’t make sense for them to compete in this market and it doesn’t add value to their product.

    • I don’t know Stan, while it may be good for business, our community and society has a big alcohol abuse problem. I would hate to make it so convenient for them. I see so many young adults in their 20’s; in the hospital, who are intoxicated and get assaulted, stabbed, shot, and involved in car accidents. There are so many wawa’s popping up very close to each other; that I feel that we are making it more convenient for alcoholics to get their drinks easier. Meanwhile, I would not go there. It may actually decrease valued customer shopping. People go there for a quick, chips, juice, soda, coffee, milk, So a drive through for quick items would be great for business as the wawa could handle more customers in the store.

    • Hi Stanley, I agree with your opinion on the Drive-through idea and how effective or feasible would it be for Wawa to adopt this model. While convenience would certainly be one of the major benefits, Wawa would definitely have to cut down its range of products in order to adopt to this.
      Research shows that about 71% of total sales of convenience stores comes from motor fuels but it accounts for only 36% of the store’s profit. Among 35% of the customers who went to the stores to purchase fuel, most of them made some other purchase from the store. Considering these points, this model could be beneficial to Wawa if they include drive-through option as it would encourage more number of people to make a purchase.

  • The environment upgrade process is interesting. Each team develops their new software code incrementally and it is tested on the teams testing environment. At certain points during the development cycle, each team has the opportunity to apply their tested code to the source code which is then tested on an official testing environment to make sure the new code has not negatively affected any of the existing feature code. In order to get the new code on an official testing environment an official request to the environment team must be made. I perform this official request process for the upgrade all the time but the environment team’s actual process for upgrading each official testing environment is a mystery to me.

    Sometimes the upgrade takes hours and sometimes it takes days. We assume that it is based the time of request but then sometimes priority but that is not always true. As a result, this causes incremental delays with development and timelines within the product life cycle need to be adjusted so delivery dates are not missed. Also in many instances what will happen is that the actual upgraded code you’re looking to test is mistakenly not added to the new build version of the code and another request needs to be made which is then given high priority since it was a mistaken and it is done within hours.

  • In my opinion Wawa should start minimizing floor space in high volume areas. Their philosophy of Frequent immediate Quick and Easy, would be better suited to a system where the customer orders ahead of time and is able to pick up their items, with little to no in store time. This model would not be ideal for every area, but certainly for high volume urban areas. It would also have the added benefit of allowing deliveries to take place at any time eliminating the need for such strictly choreographed deliveries. First they would need to design an app that allowed the customer to browse “stores” (pick up centers) in the area. The app system would need to be free and marketed heavily. The added benefit of such an app would be that you would be able to steer customer desires with in app banner advertisements, which would also be outsourced. I felt as though they were on the right track in the article when they said ” Own the software.”

    • Having thought about it a little more I envision Wawa utilizing a 3 model system for its future stores. Model A would be a grab and go Style of store, largely utilize for high customer, or dense urban areas. In this model items would be solely ordered online, and picked up. There would be minimal store space and minimal interaction. Almost like a warehouse store hybrid. The only exception being that employees in charge of making or preparing food be present in front of house. This ensures that customer always sees who is making and what is going into their food. Model B would be the suburban style store, which would largely be the same as it is now. Some changes could be made to enable it to fulfill online orders, but the style would largely remain the same. Model C would be a hybrid store, and would incorporate some of the suggestions Swetha made in her post. It would be more like a personalized auto-mat. When a customer places an order they receive a code that opens a clear plastic locker where their items are stored. Customers would also be able to track orders via the Wawa app or receive text message/e-mail notifications as their order progresses. In these stores there would also be sitting areas with free WiFi, the food prep counter would be up front and a Beverage station, which would sell hot beverages and small break style snacks, think danish, donuts etc.

      • John, Looks like they already have an app! All of your suggestions are viable and of course would need to be coupled with a cost/benefit analysis. Personally, I don’t mind going into the store the few times that I do. Although my teenage sons are experts at utilizing the in-store kiosk, certainly they would embrace the app. Yet, I have witnessed the “touch points” of their JOURNEY as they and their friends enter the store, order, pay, await and then receive their food!!! It is a ritual. Richardson would argue that this is an excellent example of an “unboxing” experience that is worthwhile mapping before implementing major changes to various touch points.

      • Hi John, I like Model C because it reinforces e-commerce which provides real time perspective of whats going on in each store. This model is the most forward thinking because it targets millennials. Model A & B are very similar and would be a great if when ordering online they could order from the existing inventory of the store they are shopping from. However, I would not change how Wawa sells their food right now because preparing food on demand increases waste and inventory that expires and this can be costly for say 500 stores.

      • I’m not so sure a 3 model store system would work for Wawa. Remember, they moved away from essentially a two model system to these “super” Wawas with gasoline and more services to allow for more expansion and it has worked. I remember when they were struggling with going to this structure and as a customer, it was quickly identified that people in general did not want these smaller stores. They liked the idea of this larger format where they had all the options and it still had a “neighborhood” feel. I also remember the days when delivery persons were always there and in the way so I can see why they went with a more scheduled approach.

      • Wawa recently opened a location in Center City which kind of goes along with your urban style Wawa. That store has indoor seating and I would imagine also has WiFi. Because of the indoor seating I read that there is also a possibility to get a liquor license. This is a new model for them but seems to be successful so far. I’m not sure it would work on a large scale since a large part of Wawa’s business is selling gas, but having a few stores in this format located in downtown areas definitely has potential.

    • I also thought about updating their app to improve in-store efficiency. I conceived it a little differently, simply offering the ability to create and pre-order food through the app, to be picked up in store utilizing the same ID number and Bar-code system they are currently using. Much like the Domino’s app, and the in-store interface, you could create your item on the app, pay for it, and receive a virtual receipt with bar-code for in store pick up. This would help keep register lines down, aid in inventory management, and keep the face-to-face family feel of entering the store. It would also be a seemingly easy integration for WAWA employees, given not much would change (perhaps needing monitoring for outgoing app purchases- but employees should be doing this anyway).

  • I think Wawa should try to sell it’s own brand items, which you buy with the coffee usually like croissants, donuts, other pastry and bagels. They can try producing other products which are using coffee as well, like Frappuccino for example. They may try to get some customer feedback, from their website or offer free coupons for feedback. Based on the entry from the site, customer location and demographics they can optimize their warehousing in most of the areas they operate.

  • I’m personally having sometimes difficulties with Amazon, when I want to cancel an order which was placed to a different Vendor but the other hasn’t been shipped. When I purchased I didn’t see any option for express shipment and it just placed the order with a method of shipment which didn’t work for me. Immediately I sent an email not to get shipped and the order to be cancelled, but it was already to late the vendor just said we can’t do much about it it’s already on the workflow and pipeline. You can return after they deliver it to you by denying to sign for it. So I wasn’t able to understand why Amazon had an option to cancel the order, even it was going to ship to you anyways and you were going to incur some expenses.

  • 2.In your experience (work or otherwise), describe a process that you interact with frequently but don’t know how it works. How do you interact with that process? What complications arise?

    In my previous position, I worked on the interface side of a healthcare EMR. My hiring manager knew I had no knowledge and minimal experience on this side of the application. All the interfaces were actively functioning by the time I joined the team. I was eager to learn the processes and functions, but the training was insufficient. I’d never know of HL7 prior to this employment so there was a distinct language barrier when it came to discussing workflows and processes in the system. Fields are separated by segments called pipes (|), up carrots (^) are spaces between wording, fields in one area can be used as a translation for sending or receiving information, etc.

    My initial interaction with the Epic Bridges Interface was by directions given by my senior co-worker. I was provided explanation of particular fields to perform error checks in the system and resolve specific daily reoccurring issues. I would describe my interaction with the interfaces as a linear process when interfaces are built to suite the particular workflow it was created for. Some complications that I encountered were when I tried searching one interface the same as another (i.e. LabCorp interface vs Quest interface). Their segments did not hold their procedure ids in the same area due to different system functionalities. Other interfaces processed their demographic information in additional “Z” segments due to space limitation. I found myself getting very frustrated in trying to learn how the different interfaces communicated, what specialized filters were set in place, and additional guidelines that needed to be in place in order to properly function. I’d ask questions as they presented themselves, but when you are just scratching the surface of very complex communication rules things become very over whelming.

    • Hi Brinn – I can totally relate to your experience especially with HL7 language and transactions. When I first started as an implementation consultant for a different EHR vendor I was asked to monitor the interface queue for a LIVE event. Not only was that process new and foreign to me but I also didn’t have any resources to help since it was a night shift situation. As you can imagine if any transaction failed I had no way to really troubleshoot the transaction and correct the issue. I was forced to wake up the lead consultant and ask her the basics of what I need to know. She proceeded to have me the basics on transaction segments, what to look for, how to correct them and how to restart the interface engine. Luckily, that first night was relatively quiet and the few failed transactions I had, they were basic enough that I was able to fix them.

      • Hi Stanely,

        Was there some point were the HL7 communication process made complete sense to you? If so what educational process did you take to gain the knowledge and understanding of this? I paid for the HL7 class offered online by HL7 International. I found some of it to be a bit helpful, but the over all functionality of using this type of interface confusing when you don’t know/understand the interconnected pieces.

    • Brinn, I had similar frustrations when I started working at a publishing company several years ago. My superiors offered no real training on the processes behind creating two of a major moneymakers: the daily newsletter and the annual buyer’s guide. I was taught how to enter data, but not how that data would be translated into the printed buyer’s guide. There were many issues with both systems, but everyone accepted them and did not probe further to figure them out. I had one manager who was passionate about everyone learning the systems so he taught me the ins and outs for converting collected data into a printed buyer’s guide and how to build and deploy the newsletter. He wrote very specific instructions for using both systems and that helped me (and my coworkers) figure out the systems and find ways to fix pain points in them.
      I think it is good that you asked questions, even if the systems seemed overwhelming. It was the only way you could learn about them. I was surprised that so many of my coworkers were comfortable not understanding the systems.

  • In my personal experience, I find it very fascinating the way the navigation app Waze works. Waze was an Israel based company, which integrated the social component with navigation. The app works pretty much like Google Maps, but has an added layer to it which lets users of the app add important elements to the maps, which make it easier for navigation. Users can add things like how much the traffic is on a specific route, if there are any cops on the route, any accidents, etc. It is a process which is crowd-sourced, and Google has been able to integrate a few elements of this into their own Google Maps. And I forgot to mention that Google acquired Waze in 2013. The part which I do not know how it works is when users add for instance “a cop car” in the map; how does Waze/ Google verify it? Does Google add the cop car instantly? Or is there a minimum number of entries after which Google verifies it? Is this verified manually, or is it automated? Although the speed of traffic can be recorded by tracking user speeds on a specific highway, the way these incidents are recorded fascinates me. On the other hand, users who use the app use these elements like “a cop car”, “accident”, etc. to decide on the routes that they take. Although most times these are accurate, in some instances these do not really exist, and there are possibilities that users might choose a longer route just to avoid getting stuck in traffic. Surprisingly, even companies like Uber and Lyft have given their drivers an option to use Waze instead of Google Maps. Although Waze seems to be a more informative app than Google Maps, human error (while inputting these incidents) is a factor that needs to be considered.

    • I have wondered these same things! Another specific detail I am curious about is how many users need to report traffic in order to make a difference within the app. For instance, users can indicate levels of traffic and “heavy” or “light” and roads with heavy traffic appear red and roads with light traffic appear yellow on the app. How many users need to report heavy traffic in order for the app to change a road to red? The app prides itself on finding users the fastest routes but if a highly trafficked road does not have many (or any) waze users on it then the traffic will not be reported.

      • Yes, Lauren. Great point. I think Google tracks location from Android/ Apple and all other devices. So for instance, if you use an iPhone, and you have given location access to Google Maps or Gmail or any other Google product, Google will keep tracking your location, irrespective of the Google product you are using. Maybe, that is how they figure the traffic data. I am sure many of you know about this, but Google has been tracking our location for years now. I have been an Android user since 2008, and I can see wherever I have been on Google Maps, for years now. Some find it creepy, but I find it interesting.
        You can find your location history too at http://www.google.com/maps/timeline 🙂
        Let me know what you think. Haha! I am not very positive if Google actually tracks traffic data with this information, but this is my best guess.

        • As far as the reported accidents, cop cars, hazards, etc. go I believe they are posted as soon as they are reported. Then, based on the responses from other uses (who can either ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ if a hazard exists) they mitigate the information. For example, if a cop car is not recognized by other uses within a given time, or if enough user give it a thumbs down, waze removes it. I don’t know how much information they receive from sources outside the users. I think the concept behind it restricts it mostly to user driven data.

          • I believe you are right that information is added immediately. Since the app relies on users reporting traffic, accidents, etc., I have found that there are often gaps in information in areas where there may be fewer users. For example, I used Waze on a trip to and from rural New Hampshire for a wedding. We got lost because one road Waze told us to take was actually closed. Google Maps has this issue as well, especially if a road is closed for a block party or something else that would not be reported. Active users are an important part of the Waze process so without them, the app is not effective.

        • According to the attached article google maps does use crowd sourcing from tracking the location of android users to gather information about traffic patterns. I always wondered this as well because they give such specific detail of where along your route you will experience heavy, moderate, and light traffic. I use the app often but, have never been asked for any input.

          https://www.ncta.com/platform/broadband-internet/how-google-tracks-traffic/

    • Hello Siddesh, I read that these apps also get information from chatter in social media that are reported by local authorities responding to traffic incidents. I believe the app is built using the concept of epidemiology. The app probably relies on system local authorities monitor traffic flow through the city. i always wondered how these apps monitored traffic as well. I read an article on 3D GIS technology.

      • As far as the reported accidents, cop cars, hazards, etc. go I believe they are posted as soon as they are reported. Then, based on the responses from other uses (who can either ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ if a hazard exists) they mitigate the information. For example, if a cop car is not recognized by other uses within a given time, or if enough user give it a thumbs down, waze removes it. I don’t know how much information they receive from sources outside the users. I think the concept behind it restricts it mostly to user driven data.

        • Wow! Thanks Margaret. That is helpful. I wasn’t aware of that. Great way of going social and making it completely crowdsourced. Also, Rogelio, thanks for that.

  • I have always been amazed by the United States Postal Service and its efficiency. I am curious what the routes and hubs are and how a piece of mail gets sorted and delivered to the correct address in such a quick manner. The process is especially impressive when mail is going from one small town to another and not to a major metropolitan city. Is the USPS system consistent throughout the country or are there major changes with operations depending on local populations? Additionally, how do postal workers correctly interpret peoples’ messy handwriting? Who reads the handwriting, who sorts the mail, how do they sort it and who figures out what routes are best?

    • Lauren, as someone who comes from India, the first thing I noticed as I came to the US was that the streets and houses here are way well-organized. If there is 6th Street, it will run through most of the city or a town. Also, most houses build are also in a numerical order. Back in India, that was not the case. I come from Bombay, and streets there are in no order. So aren’t most apartment buildings. I believe that naming and numbering streets and apartments in a correct order helps people not only find them easier, but also make the process more efficient. An article I had read a couple of years back might just complement what I am trying to say here. If you aren’t aware of this, UPS trucks don’t turn left. http://priceonomics.com/why-ups-trucks-dont-turn-left/
      Something like this clearly not possible because of the way the infrastructure is laid out, and the lack of organization. Hope this helps.
      And about how the staff interprets people’s handwriting, and how they figure what are the best routes, God only knows. 🙂

    • Siddesh & Lauren,

      I’ve wondered too so I did some searching on the topic. Take a look at http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/how-does-google-maps-predict-traffic.htm if you haven’t already

      • The article pretty much summed up our entire discussion, Prof. Flanagan. Haha! There is something that it does not touch upon. What happens if there are no users using Maps at all on a specific road? I somehow feel strongly that our devices are anyway transmitting data in the background and sending it to Google. I could be wrong though. Thank you for sharing, Prof.

    • Hi Lauren, after reading your post I also became curious about this and found a nice youtube video that explains it all (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB7dhE_TW9g). Basically, they have some really nice software that enables a computerized sorting system to read handwriting and assign bar codes to mail. These codes contain a tons of details, including which local route it is assigned to. Apparently they utilize these sorting centers across the country. I think it’s pretty impressive stuff, I’d also be curious as to how they manage their physical logistics on a large scale. Large truck and air routes.

      • Thanks, John! This video is really interesting, and I am quite impressed with the machinery in it. It’s also pretty incredible that the USPS can go through 30,000 pieces of mail an hour. It makes me wonder how they did things before sophisticated technology, and how long the whole process (from mailbox to mailbox) took. It will also be interesting to see how this process changes in the future as people send less and less mail.

    • I also think it’s pretty impressive how such large amounts of mail are delivered so quickly with very little error. I think now with a lot of labels being automated and computerized they are able to scan the letters or packages which can help sort them much quicker. I know there is also technology where a computer can read human handwriting. I’ve seen this at ATMs when depositing checks and my guess would be the postal service uses a similar technology. I’m sure there are cases in which addresses need to be hand sorted due to sloppy handwriting though. I’ve always wondered how they use the additional 4 digits on the ZIP code when sorting. I noticed when I track packages that there are 6 to 8 nation wide zones and that it first it makes it’s way to the destination zone, then to a large regional mail facility, then to the local post office nearest to the ZIP code you’re mailing, and then they deliver it to the destination address from there.

  • 1.What do you think Wawa’s next move should be? Which of the options mentioned in the case would best serve their strategic goals of making their customers’ lives easier while improving their supply chain?
    In my opinion, expanding direct store delivery by cooperating with some e-commerce vendors and providing curbside service can be good options for Wawa’s next move.
    Expanding direct store delivery by cooperating with some e-commerce vendors. Online shopping has already become parts of people’s life, especially for young generation. However, one of the pain points of customers is the uncertainty for package delivery. Wawa owns over 550 stores that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, making it the wonderful package stops for customers to pick up the products they ordered anytime. By providing the service like this, Wawa are able to make their customers’ lives easier, gain more potential revenues while those customers picking up their packages and charge service fee from vendors. If certain seasonal items from particular vendors are often ordered and distributed based on data gathered, Wawa then can consider to hold “pre-order” campaign and merge these items to NJDC system.
    Curbside service is also a good options because Wawa can minimize their changing in supply chain by just redesigning the layout of store. However, before providing curbside service, Wawa may want to evaluate how many customers the services brings, how much money that average person spends and customer cannibalization issues.

    • I agree with both your thoughts. Online shopping is increasing amongst people and by having the option to deliver packages to Wawa and picking the items there would be very convenient to many customers purchasing the products. Lots of people seem very fond of Wawa and go there often, thus I think this could have potential to be successful. Curbside is another great service that you mention that would appeal to many customers in my opinion too. Many times I find my family and myself saying how we wish Wawa or some other small store would have curbside service because in many situations it would be very convenient and may attract some customers that are not willing to go inside the store, but with the option of curbside would go, thus Wawa would not lose those customers

    • I agree with the idea of curbside service in order to keep up with competition but also think there are drawbacks to it. Wawa already uses an electronic system for ordering deli items so it would not be a big leap to create a curbside app, complete with beverages and packaged items. Customers are already accustomed to using the deli ordering system and could easily punch in their orders on their mobile phones before arriving to the store and indicate a pick up time. However, this certainly would take away from impulse purchases customers make in-store and would also require increased labor. I remember when I realized that I could pay for my items before picking up my hoagie or mac n cheese (my personal favorite!) from the deli counter. At the time it was such a novel, fantastic and efficient concept to me! Implementing curbside service would certainly be a big step up from this.

      • Curbside service sounds appealing, but as Lauren said impulse purchases would plummet- and WAWA is prime for impulse purchases. Also, if anyone has experienced WAWA during peak hours- at which I’m sure the curbside orders would mimic- the parking lot is an obstacle course. Between people coming in to get gas, or maneuvering through their smaller parking lots, it is always a struggle. Addidng to the congestion by designating curbside service spots would only seem to exacerbate the problem. It does not seem like it would add an value to the services they already provide. I am more inclined to suggest a drive through window, that would remove some of the parking congestion. But again, this would deter from impulse purchases and require an entirely new system be put into place.

      • Hi Lauren,
        I agree with you that creating a situation where the customers are not entering the store minimizes those impulse purchases. Even when waiting for an item to be made behind the deli gives customers an opportunity to browse the store and select more items to purchase. Plus, going into the store allows customers to see the new products they carry. For example, I didn’t know Wawa sold their own K-Cups for coffee, if I had just ordered by coffee at a drive thru I would have missed that.

  • During the initial days of my career with Tata Consultancy Services (IT Consulting firm) in India, I was working on a project which had the on-site/off-shore model. So there were some team members which were in India location (off-shore) and some were based out of client location (on-site). As part of my job, I use to interact with the team members at onsite location on regular basis and exchanged information/provided update to them. On the other side, the off-shore location which was India was always screened off from the brunt of the client. In the sense, that if anything went wrong at the off-shore location which impacted the client in wrong manner, the on-site team use to sort it up. Although, I was part of this whole process but I had no clue of what actually use to happen at the client location. What aspects were really bothering client, whether the picture portrayed by our team members at client location was actually true or that was just false image that was created to make sure the process set-up in India kept on going. So there was this hidden area of my job with which I interacted on daily basis but had no clue off it, unit I got an opportunity to work at a client location later in my career. I understood that it was not only about doing the daily work at client location but it was also about maintaining relationships with clients, vendors, and other teams, understanding the systems, coordinating with the offshore team, and collaborating with everyone to deliver exceptional services to the client.

    • Hi Rishabh,

      So are you saying that the missing process was understanding all the complexities the other team had to complete daily? If so, was there a way management could’ve explained this process so the full workflow could have been understood and no fault placed on other groups? It seems like the organizational structure was understood but the processes connecting each group was never described.

      • Hi Brinn,
        Yes, there was some disconnect in terms of process of connection but also the broader picture which existed at the onsite side was never outlined clearly. And also like I said the aspects which were close to the client were filtered and shared to the offshore team. So there was definitely some grey area existed within that model.

    • With my company we also have the off-shore / on-shore model. The team I’m on now has some off-shore people that we work directly with. We work with Tata and Cognizant. We have a similar set up in that the off-shore teams don’t directly interact with customers/clients. When I started with the company I was on a different team and the off-shore team did level 2 support and would then hand it off to us who would interact with the customer. In this case I didn’t know how their end of the process worked and they didn’t know how our end of the process worked so at times there was some miscommunication. Now that I’m working directly with the offshore teams I have a better insight on both sides of the process. I think it’s good to try to get a high level idea of any processes you interact with even if you don’t know all details. This way you’ll have better communication with the other teams involved.

    • I started my career as fresher at Accenture in India. And I was working in a similar on-site/off-shore model and can totally relate to your point. During one of the projects, there was once an issue with the production database which was due to an error. Though it could have been easily corrected, we just had to wait for the onshore team to sort it out.
      We used to communicate regularly with the onshore team but as you mentioned the exact picture of what’s exactly going on in there and how the interactions take place was not known to us. This reminds me of “Encapsulation” concept of Object Oriented Programming that hides the internal functioning from view outside.
      I agree with Jonathan that a high level idea of the entire process would help in having a better coordination with the several teams involved.

  • In your experience (work or otherwise), describe a process that you interact with frequently but don’t know how it works. How do you interact with that process? What complications arise?

    As an international student who travel in long distance, I book my flight tickets by utilizing airfare compare site Skiplagged. (https://skiplagged.com/) The website helps travelers get cheaper tickets by buying tickets that have layover at actual destination. The users with the ticket can just abandon the last leg of the flight and actually save more than booking the tickets directly to the destination. The website interface looks like a normal airfare comparing website, which is easy for me to adopt. After I pick the one I need, Skiplagged will offer the order guide for me to book the flight on the official website of the selected airline. They even give the tips for checking bags and related fees. I am really curious about how Skiplagged is able to gather, compare and provide the information including prices and travelling time. Furthermore, the service provider needs to integrate all the related issues such as fee for abandoning the last trip and baggage check-in with airline companies’ policies on time. After the judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by United Airlines against Skiplagged, what further actions that airline companies may take to decrease the profit impact from Skiplagged and how Skiplagged react to maintain its service will be an interesting topic to track.

    • I am so happy to know this site exists! A few summers ago I went to Scotland to visit a friend who was working abroad for the year and figured out how to do a “jawbone” flight. I found a flight that departed from Laguardia and then had a layover in Philly before going to Scotland. It was incredibly strange (and felt like a huge waste of time) to take public transportation up to New York only to immediately fly back to Philly. However, on the return flight I was able to have a direct flight back to Philly because I abandoned the last leg of the journey from Philly to Laguardia. At that time, a direct flight out of Philly was $2,000 which I was not willing to spend. My flight was much less expensive and definitely worth the extra effort on the front end.

    • Hi Pei Yen, as Lauren said, I wasn’t aware of this site as well and glad to know its existence. The way Skiplagged works is that it gets data from APIs (Application Program Interface) from various airline websites. APIs are huge building blocks of the internet, and are provided by most major players like Google, Amazon, etc. What Skiplagged does is that it uses APIs from various websites to build a database, and then sort it according to flying time. With some amazing permutation and combination, the website is also able to give priority to the layover time to ensure that passengers are not stranded during their layovers. Most weather sites also work with the help of APIs. For instance, Yahoo Weather does not have data of its own. It gets data from other data providers like weather.com. There are only a few providers of weather data, who source it to other websites. I hope I at least partially was able to answer your question.

      • I don’t know Stan, while it may be good for business, our community and society has a big alcohol abuse problem. I would hate to make it so convenient for them. I see so many young adults in their 20’s; in the hospital, who are intoxicated and get assaulted, stabbed, shot, and involved in car accidents. There are so many wawa’s popping up very close to each other; that I feel that we are making it more convenient for alcoholics to get their drinks easier. Meanwhile, I would not go there. It may actually decrease valued customer shopping. People go there for a quick, chips, juice, soda, coffee, milk, So a drive through for quick items would be great for business as the wawa could handle more customers in the store.

      • APIs are now being used by almost all small companies and startups who are in mobile and app development business. So did skip lagged. It took the API which is freely available in the internet, built its code over it that took all the possibilities of the airports and putting conditions to give the cheapest airfare if the start and end points were present in the chain of airport combinations. With this site, there was one drawback that it failed to give the shortest or the fastest route. I was wondering if there could be any possible way that the developers can incorporate this feature, then it would be a boom for the travelers.
        Coming across this site: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barry-choi/why-hidden-city-ticketing_b_7883384.html, i would like to highlight few of the negatives that it brings with one positive (less money charged for the flight):
        Negatives –
        – No checked bags are allowed
        – Cannot book round trips. If you miss any part of your trip, the rest of the ticket is cancelled
        – If the stopover destination changes, there’s nothing you can do about it
        – Violates rules of the carrier
        It makes us think that are we ready to take all these risks just for sparing few dollars. Its more or less like gambling.

    • Hi Pei Yen. Even I’ve been curious how Skiplagged is able to gather such information and provide best options to its users. I was fascinated to know how Skiplagged is able to manage to provide cheapest flight by using the “hidden city” concept that you talked about i.e by providing the users with flights that have a layover instead of a direct flight which is way too expensive.
      http://flymiler.boardingarea.com/2014/12/skiplagged-a-website-that-finds-you-the-cheapest-flights/
      As mentioned by Sid, Skiplagged is able to gather information from various sources and navigate the users to the official website through APIs. Similar websites such as Expedia use the APIs concept to direct the customer to the official site. The best part of this is that they don’t have to deal with the payment and related complaints themselves.

    • Pei Yen, I am also interested in how sites like MakeMyTrip.com and Hotels.com work. The app Hotel Tonight is particularly interesting to me. Users can type in the date they need a hotel (usually that night or a night in the near future) and the app will come back with a list of nearby hotels at a range of prices. The process involves being able to geolocate the user, identify which hotels are closest and know which opens have availability. I am curious to learn how the app maintains real-time information on hotel vacancy. I wonder if the free app has partnerships with some or all of the hotels it posts so the hotels are willing to give the vacancy information in exchange for priority placement on the search.

      • I don’t know Stan, while it may be good for business, our community and society has a big alcohol abuse problem. I would hate to make it so convenient for them. I see so many young adults in their 20’s; in the hospital, who are intoxicated and get assaulted, stabbed, shot, and involved in car accidents. There are so many wawa’s popping up very close to each other; that I feel that we are making it more convenient for alcoholics to get their drinks easier. Meanwhile, I would not go there. It may actually decrease valued customer shopping. People go there for a quick, chips, juice, soda, coffee, milk, So a drive through for quick items would be great for business as the wawa could handle more customers in the store.

        • I could not have said it any better Susan! I really agree with where you are coming from! I do not think Wawa should invest in bringing alcohol into their store either. It would change the image of the store and would not be known for the same items it is currently known for. For the betterment of society and health wise too I do not think alcohol is the answer. Without alcohol they are doing great and are very successful, thus they should focus on how to improve their current items or by incorporating the drive through option and etc. I agree Susan if Wawa did add alcohol I would stop going there too and I am sure there would plenty of others that would feel the same.

  • What do you think Wawa’s next move should be? Which of the options mentioned in the case would best serve their strategic goals of making their customer’s lives easier while improving their supply chain?
    Wawa’s Next steps:
    Option 1: Building on the Cheers Concept:
    Reaching to capture the Millennials with online ordering, offer free WiFi for customers to use while picking up their orders and a place to sit & music would enhance the customer experience. This approach builds on e-commerce of Wawa App, provides valuable customer data and build a younger customer base.
    Option 2:The Convenience Factor:
    Drive through will improve business because during inclement weather you won’t have to get out of the comfort of your vehicle to indulge on your Wawa’s favorite beverage. For example, now Starbucks has added drive throughs where facilities permit. Where is the convenience you may ask, not having to get out of your car when its raining or during heavy snow storms. In NJ we don’t pump gas, it’s done for us, this service is most convenient when it’s raining or snowing or simply frigid cold out side.

    • I think that if deciding to employ some of these strategies, business modeling would be really useful. Both of these options add to the service and general appeal of Wawa, but at the same time increase costs. Adding WiFi and seating areas increases the utility cost and required size of the Wawa. Adding drive through service and attendants to pump gas increases the payroll costs. By utilizing business modeling and examining these factors we would be able to determine if these options would increase traffic and sales enough to offset the additional costs.

  • In the real beginning when I started working, I had no idea how any of the process worked, such as the programs PACS and RIS. After training I got familiar with them both, however before that I would often need assistance of other workers who were familiar with it. In terms of finding out specific details of various x-rays, MRIs, CTs, and other radiology studies I often got stuck because I did not know how to work out all the functions of these programs. Even now after I have a few months of experience and I use these programs on a daily basis, I can still say especially with PACS I am not aware of every detail about it, how other employees besides my area work with it, and as a whole how it works or how it came to be.

    • Hi Faryal

      I worked with PACs in the sense of interfacing the system to an EHR. I would have to agree with you that it is not the easiest system to learn and the process of integrating it with another system is not easy. Usually there are no instructions and you have to figure things out as you learn on the fly which is what I had to do. Being able to pull radiology exams into the EHR one at a time was not so hard to figure out but trying to apply before/after exams such as x-rays was more difficult to do and the process to do that was not defined but luckily I was able to figure it out but it is definitely a system that is not easy to become an “expert” at. I know people who spend their careers on that system.

    • Hi Faryal,

      Did you have any experience with any of the technical or clinical processes related to this position prior to your employment? I feel like knowing a piece of a process can sometimes help other work related processes click with a better understanding. I know I still found it very difficult trying to learn the back end interface processes in my old position. I was (at times) very difficult trying to get through the technical language barrier

      • Hi Brinn,
        I actually had no experience at all in this area. In fact I am quite new to the job market in general and this is my first job in a healthcare setting. I agree with you and now that I have some experience with some of the software programs I use at work I feel as I move along in various jobs I can take what I have learned from these programs and apply it. Both the pros and cons of the programs could be applied if needed in other jobs. I agree it can be difficult.

        • I agree with Brinn. Understanding the system as a whole, particularly the “why” and “for what reason or purpose”, in developing a software system. In my old position, the people creating the EHR system had no connection with those who would be using it. They then lacked the insight into what would be user friendly, what would produce the desired results, what was most important. This is why its development took so long. The system they piloted failed because the healthcare staff didn’t understand how to use it and it didn’t help them do their jobs, it just made it more difficult. I think it’s important for technology to keep in mind the user and the purpose, otherwise if it can’t be used to improve a system, then what’s the point?

  • I think if Wawa makes a café inside their store it could be successful. Wawa sells lots of prepared food items such as hoagies and much more. I think if a café is incorporated with free Wi-Fi then it could attract more customers. Sometimes the customers that are getting food items are found eating in their cars, so if an area inside is designated for eating than that could be another reason why people come. If the food items that Wawa offers becomes incredibly popular and liked amongst the people then catering services could be another move.

    • Also, Wawa could consider delivering food items an option as well, especially in terms of prepared foods like their hoagies. The delivery could just be limited to the prepared food items because maybe if they decided to deliver every item sold in the store it could get hectic and would be difficult to do.

    • I agree about providing a cafe inside Wawa. This provides an alternative to customers having to eat in their cars or even wait until they get to their destination, which by the time they arrive their otherwise hot food would be cold. The Wawa on Broad has a counter top for customers to use and it’s very popular. Especially in the city, you are sometimes just stopping in for a quick bite but don’t have anywhere to go. I see people (road/construction workers for example) sitting there during their lunch breaks. I think it’s a very accommodating addition and a cafe would also serve to provide that.

    • I started in my new role as a Clinical Document Improvement specialist about a year ago. There was no orientation to this type of a job. I learned the flow of my duties each day and then had to figure out the language that my boss and colleagues were speaking. I new and understood the documentation in the patient charts that I was reading but I did not know what to do after I read and understood the notes. I was supposed to figure out, whether the notes met coding criteria for diagnoses. I had no training on coding, ICD 9 at the time, or the specific types of diagnosis the coders needed.
      There were only two things I was confident about: that I knew critical care, trauma and cardiology and that I could learn and do my job well. It was a very slow process. Almost like nothing was making sense. No one understood, what I did not know. They kept assuming that I knew their language. I kept asking dumb questions and looking up things on google and other learning sites. I am very visual so I needed someone to show me a few times and observe me. There were so many different applications I had to look at but I felt very lost. I am still looking for CD’s, classes, in-services etc because education is advertised as priority but the organization does not want to spend the time and especially not the money for appropriate training.

    • I also agree that Wawa should provide cafe as well as other related snacks. Take 7-eleven in Taiwan as a good example. Since they redesigned their layout to offer more seats for clients and starts to provide freshly brewed coffee.Their revenue grew fast in past 5 years. Now the convinent stores in Taiwan even provide frshly cooked meal and officailly compete with food vendors in breakfast and lunch time. The data reveals that the longer a store can keep their clients stay, the more consumption they can gernerate from customers. However, providing freshly cooked food means that Wawa needs to expand their Fresh channel with maybe more suppliers as well as giving extra employee training, which increase the complexity of the supply chain.

  • Wawa has a highly collaborative relationship with McLane, which is a main reason of their success in supply chain management. Wawa has a dedicated warehouse with McLane, which no other client has. The article was written in 2011 and mentions that their distribution center is nearing full capacity and now five years later as Wawa continues to grow quickly it may help to work with McLane to open another distribution center to keep up with their growth. Wawa has begun expanding outside of the Mid Atlantic area by opening stores in Florida. Having another distribution center in the Mid Atlantic area will allow them to cover more stores and have products reach there even faster. They’ve partly done this with their Commissary which is a central kitchen that prepares pre-made items.

    One thing they did to make customer’s lives easier while improving their supply chain was to streamline their product selection. By having fewer overall items, it simplifies their supply chain and makes it more efficient since it would cost more to have more SKUs. At the same time customers didn’t seem to mind the more limited selection because they go to Wawa for speed and convenience. They normally aren’t doing full grocery shopping but just need to pick up a few items and don’t want to spend time deciding on what brand of product to get. This goes along with their strategy of FIQE (Frequent, Immediate, Quick, and Easy.) Having a drive-thru option would also fit their FIQE model. It would combine the convenience of fast food drive-thrus with their deli and of stores like Swiss Farms that have drive-thru groceries.

    • I think the drive through option and it could be viable, but you would really need to work out a way to make the ordering process simple and streamlined. Wawa may not carry a lot of SKUs, but they still have a large amount, more than could fit on any style of drive through menu board. I think if you were going to start doing drive through for Wawa you’d probably want to limit it to the deli and beverage side, both prepackaged and fountain. If you don’t you’ll have an absolute mess trying to run through the store grabbing a half dozen random items.

  • This Wawa question has really made me think of this article I read about McDonalds, and what they are trying to do to adapt to a changing landscape. I have to say they look a lot more appealing in their new form than their old. (http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/retail/the-mcdonalds-of-the-future-has-opened-in-hong-kong/news-story/5f6cb9174ba236759fd17e7f27f23cfa)

  • I suggest WAWA focus on the quality of their deli and pre-made items going into the future. They have begun to offer healthier prepackaged items, but many contain preservatives, and they have no organic options. Given they originated as a high-quality brand, offering “doctor approved milk,” returning to these higher quality standards would be in line with their original strategic design. This would require opening distributions channels with different vendors, and implementing systems in their deli department that could require slightly more preparation (i.e. cutting vegetables, cooking food (as opposed to reheating frozen items), etc.). Costs would also increase, but WAWA could offer these higher quality products for a slightly higher price while still having their lower cost items available.
    As parents grow more wary of the food choices they make for themselves and their children, positioning themselves as a high quality option convenience store would not only be in align with their traditions, but place them in a niche that their competitors have yet to breach. They will be better prepared for changes in food trends going into the future.

    • Hello Margaret, you bring up a good point which is healthy alternatives. I believe that offering such as Organic options like fruits and vegetables, antibiotic free milk and reduce the sugar in their smoothies would align Wawa with current trends that even Mc Donald’s is adopting. These changes would mean that supply chain for these items would have to get worked into the work flow but in the long run will pay off.

    • I agree that offering healthier food without preservatives could be a good route to go but also wonder how this would affect pricing and the distribution system. Taking preservatives out of food would require speeding up the distribution so that food does not spoil and would also probably result in shorter shelf life and more frequent deliveries to stores ($$). Given that Wawa stores are all located within a small(ish) vicinity I think that the changes in distribution could be done but I don’t think it would it worth it financially until competitors begin to offer more healthy options and Wawa is forced to make changes.

      • Lauren, it is good to consider the extra cost of stocking foods without preservatives. Perhaps Wawa could begin by adding healthier options in certain stores. Stores in center city Philadelphia could serve as the pilot stores for healthy options because many healthy food eateries exist in this area. Wawa could provide an inexpensive and convenient spot for office workers trying to grab a quick, healthy lunch. Customers who usually stop in for coffee, but not for lunch, would see the healthy options on their coffee run and come back for a healthy option at lunch. If the healthy food is successful in this area, Wawa could begin to expand to other stores.

        • I agree that offering healthier food with less preservatives would be a good option for them as this seems to be where the market is heading. Their are few successful large scale retailers that I can think of that tap into this market (the exception being Whole Foods and on a more local level Honey Grow). A convenience store offering healthy alternatives would truly set themselves apart in the market. I think that the fact we haven’t seen this to date is that the supply chain management involving several different local suppliers and food that in general is more rapidly perishable would be extremely difficult to set up.

    • I agree that Wawa could benefit from offering healthier options, but what that means is different depending on who you ask. Bringing in organic is a healthier option, but this could mean organic cereal, organic pet food, organic gummy bears, etc. Wawa could include more “organic” or “natural” products that still have a reasonable shelf life so you can cater to the “health aware” customer without needing to worry about spoilage. Another option is offering fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices behind the counter. This provides a product for the “health conscious” customer and most, if not all, of the produce they already stock for other items can be used.

    • I agree Margaret, I think that Wawa should invest in expanding their area of healthier food items instead of maybe turning to different items, like explained above with the alcohol drinks. I think Wawa would be more successful if they focus on why people keep coming back to their store. Their hoagies and bread items are always complimented on and people continue to come back for more. If they invest money and time to improve the areas that are popular than that would be of great benefit for the store. I think you point out great areas that the store can focus on. This way Wawa’s competitors will have a lot to compete against with all of the food items being prepared better, being healthier, and of better quality. I think that it is better for them to work with what they currently have and improve it because that is why Wawa is successful and there isn’t need for items such as alcohol drinks to improve the store. Overall, I think that would create a different image of the store and maybe parents or family orientated people would not want to go there because of that.

    • I agree to your point Margaret about bringing the healthier products. With the Obesity rates being nearly doubled from 13.4% to 35.7% since 1960s to 2010, the healthier offerings by WAWA would have definitely given then an edge in the market and would have also increased their revenues overtime.

      http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx

  • A “system” that I know little about involves IT Security. Part of HR’s responsibility is to request access to HR data for appropriate end users. We do this after reviewing the end-user’s role (i.e. Supervisor, Manager, Director, Delegate, etc) and then complete and submit an IT “Security request” form in accordance with guidance provided therein. Sometimes, we select the option to “Mimic ____________” because we are told that will make the new user’s set-up easier for the IT analyst (i.e. they simply copy from one to another). Yet, oftentimes, new end-users are NOT set up correctly from a security standpoint and we learn of this after the user attempts to access data. For example, certain bookmarks may be missing or they are unable to access Occupational Medicine or other compliance data for their staff. This is frustrating for HR who acts as the front-end support to end-user but liaison to IT Security (of course we don’t say “IT Security did it wrong”). Further infuriating is that we take strides to notate almost every aspect of a security algorithm of sorts – our own version of a reference guide (if they are A & B, they get S2; if they are A, B & 33, they get S1, etc). Despite our attempt to be educated, we sometimes hear from IT Security “oh we found one piece missing” !

  • When I worked as an editor at a publishing company, a process I did not understand was the graphic design process. The management team thought it was important to keep editorial and graphic design systems separate. This meant I did not know how to use the art system, InDesign. This caused many frustrations. Here was the editing and designing process: Editor writes content and enters it into InCopy (an editor-only system that can view graphic design, but not adjust it); Editor “routes” the content to an art director to create a design for the content; art director designs in InDesign and routes the designed pages back to the editor; the editor reviews and them and sends edits to the art director. This sounds relatively simple, but often the changes would be minimal (such as moving an image slightly). Editors could not make them because they did not have access to InDesign so art directors had to take time to make simple changes instead of creating new designs. InDesign is a much more complex system than InCopy so teaching all editors how to use it would take time and money. Plus, the president of the company confided in me that most editors were not “trusted” with the system. So even though InDesign was a necessary part of the editorial process, editors were barred from using it. I worked closely with my team’s graphic designer to learn some components of InDesign to aid with my frustration. My knowledge now is rudimentary, but it did help me use the system to make minor edits. Having a more formal training would have helped immensely.

  • In regards to Wawa moving forward, I have to start by saying, I love Wawa! They have high quality products, 24 access is incredibly convenient, and even though they have lots of variety when it comes to snack, lunch, drink options, it’s not too overwhelming so I can get in and get out. In the article they emphasized their value of being very focused on customer need. They wanted to be a friendly place that simplified their customers’ daily lives. They have a loyal customer base and a reliable brand. Moving forward, they could keep this in mind so they can stay true to themselves while moving forward. Mentioned in the article was the concept of convenience. There is no drive through to pick up eggs or call ahead for a sandwich from their deli. Since Frequent, Immediate, Quick and Easy are strong values to their customers, they should focus on improving convenience. Things to consider are cost. Putting in a drive through is very costly and some Wawas, particularly in urban areas do not have the space capacity for that. Call ahead is something that I believe is very practical. It contributes to reducing the time a customer would have to spend in the store. Another option would be self check out. During the busiest hours, there is typically a very long line and the wait is considerable. For customers who are not trying to purchase items behind the counter (i.e. cigarettes) have self check out be made available. I understand it is not reasonable to have 4 or 5 employees behind the cash register, especially since they need to be restocking or behind the deli or coffee station, so self check out may help reduce wait times in the store making it a quick and easy experience for the customer.

    • Rikki, #1. I love Wawa too. I went there for lunch yesterday. #2. I love the idea of call-ahead or online ordering. An online system would be helpful because you could select which location to use based on its product availability. When I went to Wawa yesterday, the store (which is at a busy location) was out of many items because the snow impacted deliveries. Being able to see what a store had available would help a customer get exactly what he/she wants, rather than realizing that Wawa is out of a certain item when he/she arrives.

  • Last year, Amazon announced that it will start delivery by drones in another 4 – 5 years. I’ve been trying to understand how this would work. Jeff Bezos claimed that these drones, known as “Octopoter”, will deliver packages within 30 minutes. It has got me thinking how this can go wrong. Will the drones transport packages in case of rain/snow? What if someone has to cancel the order after the drone is on its way? There is the added cost of returning the package. The video shows that the drone requires a landing patch to drop the delivery, but not every home will have that, what about in apartments? On the other hand, if drones really do take off, it could potentially disrupt the package delivery process. Another practical application is delivering during/after a natural calamity, such as a snow storm. With risky snow covered roads, drones can deliver emergency supplies, basic necessities and much more.

    • I have also wondered how Amazon’s use of drones will work logistically. It seems like a very lofty goal and I think that is why they have set the timeline so far out. Another consideration is how will manage the air traffic control patterns of all of these drones. They would need an extremely complex system, especially if the service takes off and becomes popular (which I would imagine it would). I’m sure that their are going to be many barriers to the entry of drones into the market including government regulations, but if the concept takes it would certainly be a disruptive technology.

    • I don’t know Stan, while it may be good for business, our community and society has a big alcohol abuse problem. I would hate to make it so convenient for them. I see so many young adults in their 20’s; in the hospital, who are intoxicated and get assaulted, stabbed, shot, and involved in car accidents. There are so many wawa’s popping up very close to each other; that I feel that we are making it more convenient for alcoholics to get their drinks easier. Meanwhile, I would not go there. It may actually decrease valued customer shopping. People go there for a quick, chips, juice, soda, coffee, milk, So a drive through for quick items would be great for business as the wawa could handle more customers in the store.

    • This sounds very out-of-this-worldish, no? Especially given that Amazon is now just (1) using their own delivery fleet and (2) fulfilling orders same day! Going beyond the drone is the concept of perhaps delivering an order “REAL TIME” via 3D printing capability. Last Spring’s MIS5402 really delved into this technology as a very real deliverable in the near future that would likely cause even more intense disruption to not only courier services, but warehousing and production. It is also a great example of a system whereby most participants would not have a deep understanding of its workings. It is evident from many of these posts that we all participant in such systems – some caring to understand more than others.

    • The idea of drone delivery is quite perplexing to me too. Once up and running, I wonder if drones will also be able to pick up return packages from homes. I watched a youtube video about a similar idea – how drones will be able to deliver packages to Audi (and probably additional types of cars when partnerships are formed) trunks. When the drones are in close proximity the trunk will unlock and the drone will be able to put the package inside the trunk. I imagine Amazon is looking into this sort of idea to combat any issues with delivering to yards. I would think the main issue with drone delivery to yards would be the recipient needing to be home so that s/he can retrieve the package quickly, assuming that the recipient has a yard.

      • Good one Swetha. And spot on Lauren. Drone delivery is something which in my opinion is still a distant dream, not just due to logistics, but safety. It is sure shot that the customer will have to be home while the package is being delivered, and that it is going to be an expensive proposition. What kicks my curiosity is that if a specific drone will be able to deliver more than one package at a time. How will it carry multiple packages? And if it is able to, how will Amazon ensure that no packages go missing or are stolen. And returns are something which I believe Amazon will expect the customers to do it by themselves, unless they charge a very high premium. How this business model works out for Amazon, only time will tell.

    • Its very interesting to see that how a seemingly science fiction idea is now turning into a reality. Obviously there are many questions that arise when thinking of this process, as you have already mentioned them, Swetha. But knowing that its amazon, i can guess and hope that it will be immensely huge, layered and detailed business plan. When reading through few of the articles, i learned that for the safety of the drones and the packages, they will be incorporating “sense and avoid” technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more. But my question here is that how will they guarantee the safe delivery of the package and that its not stolen in its way. And how will they manage the traffic of the drones, keeping in mind that one will be able to carry a maximum of 55 pounds.
      Here is a link that discussed few of the myths associated with the Amazon Prime Air model (a food for thought):
      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-myths-about-amazon-prime-air-and-drone-delivery-debunked-2015-12-02

  • For Wawa’s next step I would map out business processes on two levels, the macro level of all of their stores and all of their suppliers, as well as a customer journey map. Mapping out the relationship between all of their suppliers would help them develop their next steps in business strategy. They became very successful by simplifying the inventory and structure within their store, I think that the less reliance they have on their multiple suppliers outside of the company the more seamless their business operations will become. Creating a detailed journey map of the typical customer experience will help them identify ways to better meet the needs of their current customers in a changing landscape. I see an increase in customers looking to shop small and local for fresh, healthy, and organic goods. Wawa on the other hand has been expanding and (whether true or not) have earned lost some of their reputation for freshness and quality. Another threat they are facing is the difficulty of maintaining culture, values, and quality in expansion. As companies expand often the level of service falls as accountability and communication across the organization becomes more difficult.
    After reading the article I can see how some of Wawa’s more recent moves fit into their business model. They introduced automated lottery machines so that customers won’t be slowed down in periods of high demand for lottery tickets. Also, the decision to bake their own bread in house was a very smart move, now the Fresh Channel won’t need to make daily stops at the Uptown Bakery which was making their system much less efficient.

  • I started in my new role as a Clinical Document Improvement specialist about a year ago. There was no orientation to this type of a job. I learned the flow of my duties each day and then had to figure out the language that my boss and colleagues were speaking. I new and understood the documentation in the patient charts that I was reading but I did not know what to do after I read and understood the notes. I was supposed to figure out, whether the notes met coding criteria for diagnoses. I had no training on coding, ICD 9 at the time, or the specific types of diagnosis the coders needed.
    There were only two things I was confident about: that I knew critical care, trauma and cardiology and that I could learn and do my job well. It was a very slow process. Almost like nothing was making sense. No one understood, what I did not know. They kept assuming that I knew their language. I kept asking dumb questions and looking up things on google and other learning sites. I am very visual so I needed someone to show me a few times and observe me. There were so many different applications I had to look at but I felt very lost. I am still looking for CD’s, classes, in-services etc because education is advertised as priority but the organization does not want to spend the time and especially not the money for appropriate training.

  • People go there for a quick, chips, juice, soda, coffee, milk, So a drive through for quick items would be great for business as the wawa could handle more customers in the store.

    You know, I would love to have a eat in wawa, like the dunkin donuts or barnes and noble; it would have to have sofas, wifis, a separate comfortable area. I think it would be very difficult to manage all that in the current build of the wawa.

    You all know so much about all these different websites out there. I am sooooo clueless. How can i learn this stuff. The drone topic is very interesting.

    I have been getting network error since yesterday. Anyone else having this issue?

  • Online streaming and online movie download has tremendous popularity. Data suggests that online media streaming is rising by 388 percent year-on-year. Currently, Netflix is the most popular movie streaming service, dominating the video streaming business. Since Netflix is not present in India, I had little idea on how this model works. Few things that I wanted to understand are to what extent does the speed of internet affect the quality of videos, how does the time or day on which I wish to see the movie affect its quality, how does Netflix provide recommendations that seems to be so accurate.
    Last semester, in my data analytics class, I learnt how Netflix is able to make algorithm for recommendations that is so effective . I was very much fascinated to learn how this model works and also that its not as simple as it appears. I found this interesting article that provides more details on the recommendation engine of Netflix.
    http://www.wired.com/2013/08/qq_netflix-algorithm/

    • Good news Sadhana, Netflix is now in India. Yay!!
      For accessing any kind of content, be it video or audio, internet connectivity is the most crucial factor. Lower internet speeds means lower quality video or audio. Although the internet speed in most developing countries is not something to boast of, India still ranks fairly well. With 4G finally making its way into the market, the market in India seems to have great potential. To answer your question, there is another technology called “Adaptive Streaming” which adapts the quality of video based on the quality of your internet connection. For instance, when you play a YouTube video, the first few seconds are usually hazy and then the video becomes clearer. YouTube takes this time to avoid buffer time, and adapt to your internet speed. Thus, the “Auto” quality button on the right of YouTube player. So in short, adaptive streaming means lower internet speeds= lower quality videos, and higher internet speeds= higher quality videos.

      • Wow Snigdha pretty much nailed it. To add on to that, I wonder why everyone makes such a huge deal about Netflix. YouTube has been doing that for years. Metatags or metadata are one of the most important factors in how recommendations work. I am sure there is a programming team in Netflix which decides what shows you will be recommended based on what time of the day it is. Except time, most recommendations work on metadata. Every video that is uploaded on YouTube/ Netflix has a metadata. It works just like tags work for websites. With the help of complex algorithms, YouTube or Netflix can decide what should be given more priority- the actor name, director, genre, or just plain viewing pattern. Also, ratings in case of Netflix and “Vote Up” on YouTube count towards that. If you notice, YouTube automatically creates a playlist on your YouTube homepage based on similar kind of videos that you have been watching. Hope this helps Sadhana. I am happy to discuss this more in detail in person. Cheers! 🙂

    • Sadhana, Online streaming reminded me of downloading movies and music on torrent back in India. I always wondered how the system managed so many video and audio files. The more people who stream the data, faster it gets downloaded.

  • I have always been curious about how airlines tend to overbook flights sometimes. I am aware of the fact that the systems that enable booking of tickets are very complex and sophisticated. And that they are capable of handling large number of transactions and bookings. I am also confident that the system is centralized, and that if a ticket is booked in New York, the system will reflect the booking in Istanbul. So how do flights overbook sometimes? While coming to New York from New Delhi a few weeks ago, the Emirates flight that I was to take was overbooked. A passenger was requested to get onto the next flight. But the passenger’s inconvenience was inappropriate, and uncalled for. Is there no way that this can be avoided? He wasn’t informed about this situation beforehand and was notified while checking in. This could have effected his schedule and other plans. This definitely led to an unhappy customer, which is so crucial in the flying industry. Why the flights are allowed to be overbooked initially and if it is then how it is guaranteed that the next flight won’t be?

    • Hahah! My sister works for an airline, and she has told me 10s of times that their airline overbooked, and passengers had to suffer or they had to release a jump-seat. Wonder how that happens too.

    • That’s a nice area to unwrap. I believe the airlines make additional bookings in order to avoid any passenger absent-ism. While operating in the industry for a while, airlines can roughly predict about how many people might show up for a particular flight. These predictions might be due to the weather related factors, a particular season of travel or so on. However, no matter what they do they are situations when more passengers show up then their is availability or sometimes less people show up or even the appropriate number of passengers come for the flight. To that point even the compensations have increased over the years which is a reason that such incidents have started to decrease. Overall there is an impact on the customer service with such overbookings, so airlines must take this issue seriously as the world moves towards more customer experience space.
      http://crankyflier.com/2014/01/21/how-does-overbooking-work-ask-cranky/

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