Slicing up our Lettuce research

Have you ever heard of “service slices”? We hadn’t either. Gerald, Cristina, and I have been working with Lettuce, a local meal delivery company, for the past six weeks with the goal of identifying key opportunity areas for the company. This process began with in-depth behavioral interviews with staff and customers alike and we’ve since been analyzing the research data that we collected through various lenses. We sifted through the data to identify a few key emerging themes and then refocused to start mapping out some of the behaviors that we observed during our research.
An overview of Lettuce operations from plant to porch
For the purposes of this assignment, our team would like to offer you a glimpse of how Lettuce operates from plant to porch. We mapped out a few of the key operations processes that culminate in the delivery of a Lettuce bag to the client: sourcing, assembly, and delivery. We examined several hours of our research data by creating what are called “service slices” in which we mapped out behavioral and informational interactions, inferred relationships of power and influence, and sketched out the location and objects involved in these interactions.

Lettuce strives to create a sustainable and hyper-local food ecosystem. In order to do this, Lettuce partners with a number of local farms and purveyors to source the ingredients that go into their weekly meal deliveries. By creating service slices examining this sourcing process through various lenses, we were able to identify a few bits of “low-hanging fruit” insofar as opportunities for Lettuce to streamline and make more dependable the sourcing process.

Once the ingredients have been sourced and delivered to Lettuce’s warehouse, they are ready to be assembled for delivery. During assembly, the packers are supervised by managers to ensure that all of the meal boxes are packed correctly into each delivery bag. We used the service slices to note a few key areas of frustration on the staff side during assembly. One manager noted that while Lettuce is striving to offer a variety of product lines for its customers and is ever-increasing the available meal options, this has a compounding effect on the efficiency of the assembly line.

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After assembly, packers transition into the role of drivers for delivery. The delivery bags get divvied out amongst the drivers and routes assigned, and the drivers set out to make their deliveries. Similar to assembly, when things are running late or a driver calls in sick, this affects everyone’s delivery route. By mapping our data using these various service slice lens, we also noticed some really positive interactions between the operations staff which lend themselves to strong team cohesion.

Creating these service slices helped us to examine the operations side of Lettuce from a few different perspectives and glean observations which we hope will prove useful in the next step of our research process. We look forward to synthesizing insights and working towards providing Lettuce with areas of opportunity to enhance the services that they provide to the Central Texas area and beyond.