Engineering a Ready-to-Serve Experience

Gehl Foods

Reinventing an Existing Product for the 21st Century

Agile Engineering Agile Development Innovative Engineering Hardware & Electronics Prototyping Prototyping Engineering UXD User Experience Gehl Foods

When you already have a leading market position like Gehl Foods, is it really worth the risk to reinvent your most successful product? Utilizing user experience design to drive technical innovations, this became the perfect case study on how to successfully take a leading product and capture substantial new market share.

Leaner and Faster through Agile Development

User studies revealed a number of pain points when the dispenser was behind a counter, at movie theaters, or used by customers in convenience stores. Safety, reliability, efficiency, and usability all left room for improvement.

Starting with the internal configuration of the dispenser, we looked at optimizing its overall structure and evolving its heating technique. Through agile user-focused testing, our engineering team was able to quickly develop a number of functioning electronic mockups, giving our team a strong proof-of-concept at an early development stage. Advancing the dispenser’s user-friendliness factor was a matter of reducing the interaction complexity and the number of overall parts – a core pillar of the projects objectives. 

Advancing the Heating Technology

The original Gehl Foods dispenser used a hot air convection heater for melting cheese. Our tests established in the agile development phase affirmed that heat conduction through metal plates surrounding the cheese pouch is a more efficient, powerful and energy saving method, also providing a quieter atmosphere.

Concluding a full scope engineering process using SolidWorks, 15 functioning prototypes were built for extensive field tests. These provided great insights and allowed us to fix any remaining issues in the final production data.

The Connection Between UXD and Agile Engineering Creates a Game-Changer

The geometry of the dispenser pan was determined through testing the best evacuation of the cheese with the bag sitting at a perfect content release angle, also eliminating any product waste. Exchanging bags for new ones became a lot more intuitive - and faster, too. The thinner dispenser’s profile enables the proprietor to maximize counter space and increase sales, while offering multiple flavors next to each other.

Gehl Foods is already raking in the praise – even on its launch day it was awarded the number one “Cool New Product” out of 290,000 products evaluated by The Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

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