Quiet Logistics (A)
This two-part case focuses on how to identify and manage strategic uncertainties in an innovative, entrepreneurial start-up company. In the (A) case, students learn about Quiet Logistics, an e-commerce fulfillment company working with high-end apparel retailers such as Bonobos, Gilt Groupe, and Zara. What distinguishes the company from its rivals is its use of Kiva robots which collect customer items within the warehouse and bring them to the appropriate work station for employees to package and prepare for shipment. Processing up to 8,000 orders per day, the robots help make Quiet Logistics a highly-efficient firm and free its workers to complete additional value-added services such as handwritten thank-you notes. The company has also developed proprietary software to collect data on productivity measures, resulting in 99.99% accuracy in its inventory system and completing orders on-time. At the end of the (A) case, students are asked to list the strategic uncertainties that should be keeping the two co-founders awake at night as they consider growth opportunities for their company. The one-page (B) case reveals a surprising strategic twist that throws their plans into disarray. Students are asked to figure out how to respond.