Such a fun topic! Casinos are definitely all about keeping the customers captive at the casino and ensuring an experience that makes customers want to come back. An operational enhancement that has been a recent focus for casinos is building out a data analytics department to manage revenues and to better market to customers. The key now is to use this data to attract and retain customers who have a high expected life-cycle value.
Perhaps Buffer’s operating model only works because it has a focus on smaller clients who are start ups and small businesses. I have a feeling Buffer’s operating model might not be suitable for interactions with larger companies, given the potential for Buffer’s message to be clouded when the scale of a customer requires multiple representatives from Buffer.
When people are not located on the same floor of a building, collaboration often decreases. The long-trial period hiring process and company retreats, of course, help to make sure the team will be compatible, but it likely still takes a lot of purposeful meetings to make sure workers are leveraging each other’s experience effectively. People are more effective when interacting in person. This leads me to two conclusions about the remote workforce model: (i) it only makes sense for a limited type of business models, and (ii) the model is likely not scalable to be effective when interacting with larger clients.
At the end of the day, Costco’s business success depends on membership loyalty, demonstrated through memberships and shopping frequency– as you point out this is definitely supported by their operating model. The business model of a club membership is smart because it psychologically makes the customer want to use the membership to make purchases or to help friends make purchases. Costco’s operating model focuses on enhancing a convenient shopping experience to keep retention levels high.
Once the operating model is up and running, and customers in the market have developed brand awareness, Costco has also been successful in new store growth. In looking at the placement of two of the new Milwaukee-area Costco sites (New Berlin and Menomonee Falls), you can see that Costco has strategically placed these stores along two other highway arteries that lead to MSA suburbs in the northwest and southwest, expanding their reach, while (as you mentioned) at the same time leveraging the existing supplier relationships that already support the existing stores along highways to the north and west.
The after-market parts segment of Blue Bird’s business is an area that Blue Bird is now focused on growing. In 2013, Blue Bird started ramping up on this initiative by hiring a VP of Service Parts and re-energizing its Dealer Parts Advisory Council.
There is no difference in expected useful lifetime, but overall lifetime cost for Blue Bird buses is lower on average. The average lifetime of a bus is 15 years, regardless of the manufacturer. Blue Bird is known for having the best TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) in the school bus industry.