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Susan Connell
EDTEC 540 - Prof. Marshall
Spring 2003

Needs Assessment and Goal Analysis
for a New Product Implementation

Introduction

Opportunity

A startup company is developing a new energy management product for the hotel industry that is designed to save as much as 30% on utility costs which are one of a hotel's largest single expenses. The manufacturer will install the equipment, but a variety of individuals at the hotel will interface with the product on several levels.  The system is relatively simple to operate and monitor, but test installations have shown that hotel/motel staff have not always used it, even though instruction sheets were provided. As a result the product has not always provided the energy-saving benefits guaranteed by the manufacturer because the hotel staff does not necessarily use it and if they do, they sometimes use it incorrectly resulting in higher than necessary electric bills.

Audience

The product consists of a thermostat and sensor installed in each room that communicate with a management console which can be viewed by the hotel's facilities/operations staff as well as front desk personnel. The console can also provide reports of specific and aggregate energy usage data gathered by the system. As a result, it is actually used on several levels by people ranging from hotel guests to operations to management. The audience ranges from predominantly non-English-speaking housekeepers to college-educated managers.

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Sources and Data Collection

Sources used to gather information about this situation include:

  • Interviews with Hotel Managers who view reports produced by the system
  • Interviews with Facilities Managers who oversee the management console
  • Interviews with Housekeeping Management to ascertain room cleaning and maintenance procedures and how a new task might be incorporated into procedures
  • Surveys of Front Desk Staff who interface with guests regarding their experiences with customer problems with room temperature
  • Interview manufacturer's service technicians/engineers to find out what type of questions and problems they hear about.
  • Extant data such as utility bills, room occupancy data and site surveys by the company's Field Service Technicians

In a perfect world it would also be ideal to interview guests and housekeeping staff, but hotel management was hesitant to involve these groups.

Ideal State/Optimals

Hotel Management wants to ensure that the equipment achieves expected savings of about 30% on energy costs.

Front Desk Staff would like to receive minimal requests for assistance or complaints about unsatisfactory room temperature.

Housekeeping Management does not want to add another burden to their staff.

Service Technicians want to minimize service calls.

Current State/Actuals

During beta testing, company Technicians discovered that virtually no one at any of the hotels had read the instruction sheet that came with the system. Fortunately, the system is simple enough that default settings enabled hotels to achieve some savings  (evidenced by lower utility bills) even though many staff members weren't aware of how it worked or even why it was installed.

However, interviews uncovered several issues:

  • Front Desk did not know how to assist guests when the temperature or lighting did not return to their desired settings.
  • During extended tests, site surveys by the manufacturer's Service Technicians discovered that many systems had become non-functional due to depleted batteries or vandalism, but no one had reported or fixed the problem.
  • Front Desk Staff occasionally received complaints from guests who thought that they did not have control of the thermostat.
  • Facilities Managers were not aware that they could use the management console to further optimize energy management by fine-tuning thermostat adjustments and software defaults.
  • Facilities Managers were not aware of all reporting capabilities of the system's software so they tended not to share with Hotel Management the extent of cost savings that they were achieving largely because they only noticed gross savings on the utility bills and overlooked other data that would establish return on investment for the systems.

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Recommendations

Hindrance Factors

Barriers

Recommendations

Skills & Knowledge

Organizational Support

Front Desk Staff did not know how to assist guests because no one had provided them with the information

Include information about how the system works and how it can improve the customer experience while saving money and the environment in employee orientation and ongoing training.

Add a help module about the system to the hotel's online or written (varies with property) reference guide

Motivation

Skills & Knowledge

Housekeepers did not report broken equipment, because they were not aware of how the system works, they were neither rewarded nor reprimanded for observing the system (or not)

Add job aid information about the equipment to the housekeeping staff checklist so that they know what to look for.

Develop an incentive mechanism that will motivate housekeepers to report problems.

Skills & Knowledge

Complaints from guests about a perceived problem

Create a card to be mounted next to the thermostat briefly describing what the system does and how it conserves energy (similar to signage used by some hotels to encourage guests to not change linens every day)

Motivation

Skills & Knowledge

Environment

Organizational Support

Facilities Mangers not achieving maximum energy savings because they did not have the time or incentive to study the instruction sheet to learn about the system's advanced features

Have a training meeting that gives a more comprehensive look at the system including a discussion of the benefits. Include a nice breakfast or lunch to encourage attendance.

In addition to the instruction sheet, provide Facilities Managers with a Quick Reference Card to show how to get to the system's advanced features

Motivation

Organizational Support

Hotel management not getting complete reporting about savings and ROI because Facilities personnel did not know it was available, were satisfied with basic reports and did not care about cost justifications

Suggest that hotel management implement an incentive plan for Facilities Managers based on increased energy savings.

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Instructional Goal Analysis

Sub Goal

Behaviors

Performance Type

Familiarize Front Desk Staff with System Function

Know that the system exists and what it is supposed to do

Remember concept

Know where to find help if guest is having problems

Apply a process

Use reference materials to help guest solve problem

Apply a procedure

Familiarize Housekeeping Staff with Maintenance Requirements

Use job aid check list to verify correct operation

Apply procedure

Know where to find system components in each room

Remember fact

Report problems

Apply principles

Acquaint Facilities Managers with Detailed System Capabilities

Optimize system operation to achieve maximum energy savings

Apply process

Provide management with ongoing reports detailing cost savings

Apply procedure

Service Technicians Analyze Results

Review system reports to determine effectiveness

Apply process

Communicate results to customer and manufacturer

Apply procedure

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© 2003, Susan Connell, Educational Technology Student at San Diego State University