Cross collaboration sparks holistic innovation

Client Snapshot

An international coffee chain dedicated to constantly improving customer experience was seeing unpredictable wait times between locations, wreaking havoc on the flow of some cafés and frustrating customers who appreciated the consistency of the brand. These ongoing issues threatened the company’s ability to retain customers and meet its aggressive growth goals. Blueprint conducted a Project Definition Workshop (PDW) to develop solutions and a Proof of Concept (PoC) to demonstrate how the company’s own loss prevention cameras could be used to increase operational efficiency, which would in turn improve customer experience.

Work Summary

The problem

This global coffee company reached out to Blueprint to help it refocus on its customer-centric mission while continuing to innovate and grow. The company utilized modern technology to improve its customer experience but hadn’t considered the impact ad hoc changes would have at the individual café and customer levels. Customers lacked consistency between in-store experiences and often faced increased wait times compared to what they were accustomed to. At the corporate headquarters, different departments were siloed and lacked effective communication, and a culture of fear-based activity rather than bold experimentation had begun to emerge.

The Blueprint Way

Blueprint organized a PDW that brought together key stakeholders from multiple departments to brainstorm solutions and define the structure for an effective set of projects to address identified pain points. By facilitating the conversation around interdepartmental innovation and cross collaboration, Blueprint drove a timely and focused PDW that allowed all stakeholders to be heard, ideate, problem-solve and plan concretely. The company was able to leverage the PDW materials to successfully identify and complete projects that contributed to its strategic initiatives.

One of the projects identified involved improving behind-the-counter operations. Understanding the customer needed to be at the center of every decision, Blueprint recognized the company could direct more attention behind the counter to improve their experience. Customer experience is often looked at from a UX perspective – how customers interact with menus and mobile applications, for example. Blueprint, however, proposed using existing video footage from loss prevention cameras to upgrade the customer experience by improving operations behind the counter.

Setting out on a PoC, Blueprint’s data scientists created models to track all the tasks being done behind the counter, including an employee’s average time to prepare a beverage or bagel and the path taken to grab soy milk or restock cups. The model could also track customer behavior, such as where customers were looking, how long they were standing in line and where they were congregating. Using the power of Azure, video footage was processed quickly and piped into Power BI dashboards to provide near real-time feedback to the client.

“To make an impact, the processing had to happen quickly,” said Blueprint Managing Director of Innovation Gary Nakanelua. “Recommendations based on months-old activity weren’t going to do any good.”

This engagement set the stage for what became Blueprint’s video analytics product NASH. Read more about the product here and other use cases here.

Blueprint helps companies align business outcomes with a culture of intelligent experimentation when they know they’re facing a problem but need external facilitation and ideas to evaluate choices and make a concrete plan. Building for the future requires thinking differently, and Blueprint provides the structure needed to ensure an organization’s ongoing success. Whatever problem an organization is facing, Blueprint’s technology and industry experts will collaborate to identify the best path forward, develop a potential solution, program, product, feature or method and then prove the real-world applicability and feasibility of that idea.


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