During my MBA, Crayola Canada approached us with a problem and¬†project they wanted us to tackle. Merchandisers at Crayola’s largest retailers were not able to keep the shelves stocked during the back-to-school period and the resulting out-of-stock events hurt sales. They wanted us to look into how this issue could be mitigated and if their idea of a Summer Student Program (SSP) was viable.

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In our initial work, we researched and came up with a methodology to determine what key indicators in sales patterns indicated an out-of-stock event had occurred, with a small set of representative sales data from stores the problem occurred in. We also did substantial research to determine not only the cause of the out-of-stock events, but also how to quantify the cost of such events. We found that they were more costly than anticipated and that a solution aimed at solely supporting merchandising was insufficient to solve the problem.

With research in hand, we developed a program and a business plan for an intrapreneurial company within Crayola Canada that included recruitment, compensation, training, management structure, performance measurement, location analysis, route optimization, and financial modeling.

With this plan in-hand, the program was greenlit for a test rollout in summer 2015 with a full rollout in summer 2016.