Mentored Graduate Project Case Study

Sarah SpencerAbout the Graduate

Sarah joined me as a year 2 Geography undergraduate. She readily took on responsibility to manage & deliver the elements of the client’s project and developed a good rapport with the staff.

About the Client

Yamato Scale Dataweigh (UK) Ltd in Leeds is a £6m engineering subsidiary assembling, repairing & selling capital equipment and providing after sales service, spares and training. It supplies weighing equipment primarily to the food manufacturing industry.

Scope of the Project

Initially Sarah asked to shadow me for 2 weeks over the Christmas period and used her Excel skills to help prepare overhead budgets. I invited her back to work through the summer period on marketing and business intelligence projects.

Yamato had recently re-launched their website and asked me to manage the marketing campaigns around their after sales services. This involved coordinating activity with the marketing agency, Olsen Partnership and the PR agency, Storm Communications. The objective was to generate additional orders to exceed the cost of the marketing activity.

How did we deliver the project?

I set Sarah off to identify the primary keywords that website visitors would most likely use to find the website. This involved discussion with all staff to understand the services and products that customers ask for in their words. She also discussed with the engineers what the most pressing issues customers have to prompt them to contact Yamato, and the various solutions available.

This provided us with the knowledge of the customer issues around which we built the marketing campaigns.

We used Basecamp as the project management tool to coordinate tasks and timelines for each broadcast between Yamato staff, Olsen & Storm. I oversaw this whilst Sarah managed it on a day to day basis in conjunction with the Yamato commercial operations manager.

What was the outcome?

Several new orders for regular service packages and requests for training which more than covered the cost of the campaign.

Quantify the lasting benefits for the client

The focus on customer needs prompted Yamato to use the service manager in a more consultative role on the customer shop floor where he had a much greater understanding of the customer problems than they had themselves. From this point he could offer short term repair fixes or longer term operator training support.

Feedback by the Graduate

During my time at Yamato, the scope of my work has included several projects which have necessitated coordination between internal members of staff and external companies, particularly Olsen Partnership, a digital marketing and communications firm.

Much of my focus has been upon the website aiming to increase the amount and the impact of marketing material uploaded. It was recognised that there was a need for more valuable web-content, the solution to which, devised between Martyn, Yamato and I, involved the production of ‘Tip Sheets’ and instructional ‘How tos’, made available both as web articles and downloadable documents.

These, whilst providing customers with useful information boosting Yamato’s customer service image and adding value to the website, also created opportunities for other services such as spare parts and training packages to be promoted.

Several tools are employed by Martyn and Yamato so as to manage differing projects, the most effective of which is the web-based project management application, Basecamp. Basecamp allows the effective management of numerous projects by allowing each project to be separated into smaller ‘To-dos’ to which differing members of staff can be assigned along with a due date.

Within Yamato this tool has proven particularly useful as it has not only effectively increased communication between the internal members of staff avoiding long and confusing email trains, it has also facilitated easy communication and file-sharing with external organisations, such as Olsen.

Martyn has exercised a high level of control and support throughout my time at Yamato, managing each project through Basecamp by setting tasks and relevant due dates and revising these accordingly. His business expertise and knowledge has proven particularly useful in providing direction on the appropriate tone and focus of web content in order to maximise the value and impact of the material uploaded.

Although the majority of the content produced for the website was initially drafted by Olsen, Martyn provided invaluable instruction on how to make content an effective marketing tool, increasing my knowledge and skills in this area amongst others and subsequently, I now feel confident in writing valuable entries aimed for the website and other publications.

The results of each project have been rewarding. The content on the website has been further streamlined in order to fully promote Yamato’s products and services and I, along with Martyn’s supervision and the help of Yamato staff, have written several articles and ‘Tip-sheets’ for the website which provide helpful information for customers, adding value to the site and increasing Yamato’s presence on the internet.

Another successful project includes the development and coordination of a discount offer focused upon spare parts after it was recognised that spare parts sales had dipped. In order to fully promote this, an email mail shot outlining the details of the offer was utilised as well as the inclusion of offer leaflets within each package which left Yamato.

Martyn’s expertise proved incredibly useful for this project with Martyn suggesting the optimisation of the website for the promotion of spare parts. Consequently, Martyn, Olsen and I developed a spare parts catalogue allowing customers to browse parts and add these to a virtual shopping basket which is thus emailed to Yamato staff so that the customer can be contacted and a quote can be provided, significantly increasing sales opportunities.

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