How will the sleeve get sold?

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The sleeve is a fast-cycling consumer good. This means the sleeve will last less longer than the hockey stick, and will be sold more often. To get a sleeve, first a hockey stick is needed. An online configurator will give the opportunity to customise your own design. This could be a name on the stick, of favourite colours. Also some standard models are available at the store.

The store will be a central point in this model. When someone has ordered the sleeve online, it can be retrieved in the store. The store worker will be able to attach the sleeve to the stick, this can also be done by the people themselves, but needs some concentration. After the sleeve is attached it can be used, this will be until the sleeve is damaged of wearage too much. Once a new sleeve is wanted, it can be again ordered online via the configurator or a standard model can be bought in the store. This loop can be continued every time a new sleeve is wanted.

The product will be introduced to junior hockey players on big yearly activities. This will for example be the first match of the season, or on the end of the season on tournaments. On these activities sleeves can be sold, and also attached, but also advertisement will be done for later purchase.

Sleeve

How will the leasing system work?

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When a person wants to lease a stick, the first decision will be what class the person wants. The classes stand for a gradation list on the status of the hockey stick. A hockey stick that will take part in the leasing system will be bought new. The stick starts in the gold circle. When it is damaged too much, it will continue in the silver circle. This continues until the hockey stick is on the end of its technical life. Twice a year a service van will come buy to change the sticks stock, help with any maintenance or problems. Market introduction will start at the hockey clubs, and with mouth to mouth commercials at the hockey club.

Lease
Leasing service

Combining the concepts

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I approached the two concepts separated from each other. They could also together be one concept. The sleeve can be used within the leasing model. Sticks will have a longer technical life, which is a benefit for the leasing club, as they can sell their sticks more often. Sleeves will be a product used by the leasing clubs. When looking at the price estimation this will mean per use of a stick a maximum of €4,- is added to the cost price, this taken with the assumption that one sleeve will last one season. When someone leases a hockey stick this will mean that the person gets the hockey stick with a new sleeve every season.

A financial model has been made for the leasing model. Next to the depreciation of the stick each season, costs need to be added for every new use of a sleeve. Sticks can be used for a longer period so the depreciation costs will be lower. Gradation system is deleted, as all the sticks look if they are in the same state. One loop is made as can be seen in the figure beneath. The price of leasing a stick with sleeve will be €11,95 per season.

LeaseSleave-02
Leasing system with sleeve

Lease

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Kids grow in their youth. This is a big reason why kids need a few new hockey sticks during their playing time as a kid. On average three to four new sticks are bought when kids overgrew their old ones. This over a span of six years. Nowadays all these sticks are bought for the kids, and when they are not necessary anymore they often end up near the cloak hanger. These sticks are often still in a good state to play with.

With a leasing model, no sticks will be owned by the people themselves. The club will own all the hockey sticks, and players can ‘lease’ them for a certain period. Providers of the leasing system in this case are the club representatives. Contracts are drafted per season, and can be extend after each season. Other options after the contract are ending the leasing or buying of the used stick. In the contract will be written about improper usage of the stick. Damage by improper usage will give a penalty. The leasing service will cost €13,95 for gold, €9,95 for silver or €7,95 for bronze, according to what class people want to buy. The profit margin for the club is on average €3,- per leasing contract. The amount of money payed each season after six years will be less then buying all sticks new. Each class stands for the degradation of the product.

  • Gold: new sticks
  • Silver: paint damaged and small scratches, grip is not damaged
  • Bronze: hook is damaged and worn off to a maximum of 3 mm lost of material
leasesticks
Gradations of the hockey stick, from top to bottom gold, silver and bronze

Benefits of the leasing model are that no unnecessary sticks will stay at the cloak hanger, kids can get a new stick with a different length when they overgrew their old stick and a full service can be provided for hassle free use of the hockey sticks.

In the first weeks of the project circular design strategies were discussed. These strategies are also incorporated in the final concepts. With the leasing system no new design for the stick is made and therefore I found it difficult to relate strategies back to the leasing service. The sticks do get back to one place, and have the chance to be repaired whenever small damage is found. The strategy ease of maintenance & repair is in line with this.

Time to market can be really fast, as no new products has to be produced. The big investment to start leasing hockey sticks for clubs is getting a good amount of hockey sticks at the club to lease. Marketing could help get extra used sticks when starting. For example, people who give their old sticks to the club when they start leasing could get discount on their leasing contract. This could also lead more people to leasing hockey sticks. Competitors in this case are the stick fabricants. Because the hockey sticks get reused more often, less hockey sticks will be sold in general. Cannibalisation of sticks will take place.

The leasing service helps in a circular economy as sticks get reused to their full technical life. Also will the sticks end up at one central point. If there will be a possibility to recycle the hockey sticks, they can easily be collected.

Sleeve

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The main reason why kids want new hockey sticks is not because they sticks are too damaged to play with or because the stick got too small. They want new sticks because they like new colours, and new patterns. Having the ability for kids to change the looks of their hockey stick quicker, without having to change the complete stick could help in getting attached to the stick. The possibility to change a product is also in line with the circular design strategy design for adaptability and upgradability. The stick will not get damaged any longer on the stick itself, but first on the sleeve. This will ease the maintenance of the stick.

As mentioned earlier, the sleeve has two main advantages. Not only are the kids able to quickly get new looks on their stick, the stick also gets extra protection against wearage.

The business model that will be used with the sleeve is a hybrid business model. The hockey stick is not involved in this model. That will be a product that still needs to be bought, but will not wear off quickly anymore, so no new rebuy is necessary. The hope is that the sleeve will protect the hockey stick completely, so no new stick is needed to buy at all if the size stays right. Normally in a hybrid business model will the durable product be made cheaper, but as the hockey stick is not sold from the same company as the sleeve, this will not count for this version of the business model.

The sleeves will be the fast-cycling consumer good. That will last until it got too damaged due to wearage, or if the kid wants a new colour. The price of the sleeve is estimated around €12,95. This price is based on costs, store margin, packaging, investments, what people might be willing to pay for it and prices of junior hockey sticks. Investments that have to be made to start producing this product are the sleeve material, hook shaper to get the material around the curve and if necessary a printer. The time to market of this product could be relatively low, as there already could get started with standard models, and customisation can come later.

 

Reefer
Standard sleeves

 

Customisation gives multiple opportunities. The sticks could be customised for kids on trends and fun. Teams and clubs could make their ‘team-stick’ or companies could sponsor sticks. Other functional opportunities could be by putting a kid their name on the stick, so when the stick gets lost it can be returned to the owner.

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Customisation with the sleeves

 

The wraps could be made of a material that is similar to Krimpkous. Krimpkous is a material made from PVC with a mixture of polyesters that will shrink if you heat it. When reheated PVC is not the best material to use, therefore for this product will be looked at a material that has the same characteristics as krimpkous but is better for the environment.

Due to the sleeve, the hockey stick can be used for a longer technical and usage life. The stick will not get damaged, only the sacrifice material of the sleeve will. This material will be collected at the store, as people will come back to the store to remove their old sleeve and get a new one.

New design challenge

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After having worked with the design strategies and business models several ideas popped up. With these ideas also came a clearer goal. Primarily my design challenge was: ‘How can the differences of usage life and technical life of hockey sticks be brought closer towards each other?’.
This challenge aimed at all the people who use a hockey stick. A clear difference was already found in the beginning in this target group; the juniors and the seniors. With almost 250.000 players in the Netherlands in total are the juniors the bigger group with 165.000 players. 85.000 players represent the seniors group.

For the circular design challenge is decided to focus on juniors. This group is bigger, and has big opportunity, as kids often need a new stick because they overgrew their old one. With this new decision added will the design challenge change in :’How can the differences of usage life and technical life of hockey sticks for juniors be brought closer towards each other?’

 

Blog process

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This final blog will discuss my process on the blog, it will say how I proceeded on different aspects, what got me stuck and other findings during last ten weeks.

Circular examples

To get a better understanding of the concept circularity, examples of circular products are looked for. Those concepts were discussed on three aspects; circular design strategies, business model and product life cycle. It was interesting to see examples of how products could be designed, but also to get an idea of the current situation of the market. I found out that many products are Cradle 2 cradle, so they used renewable materials. Difficult for these products was to find a right strategy and business model, because these products are not completely circular.

Product analysis

To get a proper product analysis I went to some hockey stores, and called more of them. Also did I ask questions to field hockey players, and looked at my own experience. Quite soon I found out that making the material of the hockey stick circular would be very difficult. So I started looking at other possibilities. An interesting analysis method was by looking at reasons to buy, methods of using and reasons for a new stick. During the analysis I also bumped into things and needed to do new analysis. The question about the focus group, if it would be juniors, seniors or both came up often. This decision was very important for the possible concepts, as these target groups have different needs. When continuing with analysis about both groups and brainstorm sessions the decision was made to focus only on juniors. Also with the concept extend some changes were made due to further analysis. The business model for example changed from classic long-life to hybrid.

Circular Design Challenge

Formulating the design challenge was different then I was used to, as we first did multiple analyses before the challenge was stated. This led for me to some fuzziness and unclarity. Normally is the design challenge formulated in the beginning, and a start to design from. During this process the challenge was formulated in a later stage what might delayed the process a bit. During the process my design challenge changed a bit, this was mainly due to the changing focus group. I started with every field hockey player in the Netherlands, and ended with only the juniors. This due to the big differences between the junior and senior players.

Circular Design Strategies

During sessions the six circular design strategies were discussed. This helped as an inspiration and as a guideline on where to get ideas from. Some strategies were easier to grasp than others. For example the strategies ease of maintenance, upgradability & adaptability and dis- and reassembly looked a bit the same. Coming up with different ideas for them was therefore harder. Interesting was to get back to the strategies after having worked with the business models and the concepts. More strategies than I had expected came back in concepts, for example the concept Extend, where four different strategies were found.

Business Model archetypes

For my design challenge it was very clear what business model fit with what concept. The only problem is, not every business model could be integrated with a concept. A business model that did not fit that well was for example the gap-exploiter model. On the other hand did the business models also gave the opportunity for new ideas. For example the leasing model, a service that enabled reusing hockey sticks.

Combining the business models with the design strategies was hard sometimes. For example with the leasing model, where no new stick is designed and therefore in my first opinion no design strategy has been used. Other strategies and business models were easier to fit together, as with the sleeve model combining attachment with the hybrid model. The concepts changed a bit for the business model. Different ways to put a product to the market were thought off and finally a financial model was made to show the feasibility. Because not a lot of numbers were known it was difficult to make an estimation for the price.

Final Concept Design

After every session a few concepts were chosen to further develop. These decisions were often made based on the feasibility of the concepts and own capabilities. For example when I started session three I had three different concepts. During the session it became apparent that one concept needed a lot of technical detailing. This could not be given by me in time and therefore the decision was made to continue thinking out the business model and strategies, but not the total concept. I did decide to keep multiple concepts, and not focus on only one. This because I like the variety and the possibility to show that there are more possibilities to redesign a product for circularity.

One concept I had was about sensoring with the product. I saw multiple opportunities, as the Australian team for example was already measuring data with GPS underneath their shirts. But this concept did not have a clear link with circularity. The concept could still be included in other concepts, to make other concepts more valuable. But for a concepts on itself it was too far away from helping hockey sticks get more circular.