Case Study

Standardizing Workflows and Streamlining Operations

The Client

Standardized workflows are a key component in creating predictable, measurable output for organizations of any size. The goal is to enable businesses to scale quickly and efficiently, without alienating team members, by creating repeatable, easily adaptable processes.

The Challenge

Too often, good process fails due to aggressive roll-out and cultural mismatch.

Example: Daimler-Benz Chrysler Merger

Implementing new processes and workflows can have exponential impacts on your business. However, if done improperly, changes can also cost companies billions. A perfect example is Daimler-Benz Chrysler. After a $38 Billion merger in 1998, Daimler-Benz sold 80% of its shares in Chrysler at a loss of ~$31 Billion just 9 years later. The failure boiled down to a distinct cultural mismatch and an inability for the two companies to find operational common ground. Daimler-Benz’s structured, standardized protocols didn’t align with the looser, individualized processes favored by Chrysler. The inability to align on execution eventually led to a drop in productivity and increased employee turnover — both early warning signs that something is amiss.

Example: W.H.O. Checklists

“The key to making the global standard effective was to ensure engagement by the people who had to implement it.”
— Steve New, Harvard Business Review

When it comes to process, one size does not fit all. More than a decade ago, after several investigations demonstrated the power of checklists in helping to avoid medical errors and improve patient safety, the W.H.O. developed a standardized procedural checklist for medical professionals and organizations. Despite the mandatory nature of these checklists, doctors discovered that the list items didn’t necessarily align to the needs of a given procedure. Oxford Professor Steve New found that by allowing doctors to customize the checklist for their own use, the completion rate — and patient safety — dramatically improved.

The Plan

At Apollo 21, we understand that process is complex, abstract, and unique to every team. What works (or doesn’t) depends on culture, management style, company size/structure, and more. And the success of new process implementation is as much about how it’s deployed as why. For this reason, we approach every client engagement from the beginning. Starting with Discovery, we work with key stakeholders to identify problems, opportunities, and to deeply understand current operations. Our goal is to define processes that can be implemented via technology with little disruption. We’ve used this methodology to help teams grow by 3-5x while growing KPIs and target health metrics.

We have implemented this approach with a variety of clients, including: Teton Ridge, Orbital Kitchens, and more.

The Solution

Intensive client collaboration and a deep understanding of process and workflow development + Mission Control, Apollo 21’s foundational technology.

Example: Confidential Financial Services

When a financial services firm approached us to help streamline their organizational workflows, they had no documented process. All communications were handled via email which inevitably led to missed communications and unhappy clients. During Discovery, we interviewed key stakeholders from various departments to piece together their workflow. We then worked with the client to create a workflow and communications management platform utilizing Mission Control that ensured adherence to process through multiple layers of review to support thousands of daily transactions and requests.

Example: Orbital Kitchens

Orbital Kitchens operates ~30 delivery-only restaurant brands fulfilling more than 2,000 meals, weekly — all out of a single kitchen in New York City operated by ~20 people per shift. Nothing is more important to the OK team than operational efficiency. 

The Apollo 21 team partnered with Orbital Kitchens to evaluate operational workflows and inject technology everywhere possible to streamline operations in support of future growth. Our initial efforts focused on in-kitchen task assignment to minimize cognitive load for cooks. We accomplished this by creating technology to evaluate inbound tasks, break them down by specific type, and distribute sub-tasks to pinpointed staff across the kitchen.

The Outcomes

Results for past clients include:

In Their Own Words

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