By day, Ryan McGowan, GB’17, is an associate manager of operations logistics at Philip Morris USA. But after work? He’s an at home brewer, and he wanted to bring that talent to his MBA Capstone Project.

So he teamed up with Shine Craft Vessel Company, which sells growlers, barware, and other beer memorabilia in Richmond.

“The goal was to create a sales and inventory tool that would allow Shine Craft to better manage their inventory,” McGowan said.

He worked closely with Debbie Fisher, associate director of The Richmond MBA, to choose a project he was passionate about, as well as a company where he could make a difference.

“Ryan’s education and work expertise were perfect for this project, and it showed,” Fisher said. She then connected him with Jordan Childs, CEO of Shine Craft.

“When Ryan and I discussed Capstones, I didn’t have a Capstone application from Shine Craft, but Ryan was interested in the company,” Fisher said.  “I reached out to Childs, letting him know about Ryan’s background in global supply chain and operations management and his current position with Philip Morris in operations logistics, and asked if he had a strategic challenge that Ryan might work on for him.  An hour after I sent the email, Childs submitted an application, mentioning that he had been looking for a way to overhaul and optimize his company’s supply chain. So, Ryan was a good match.”

McGowan combined his skills from his current job, and with the tools he learned through The Richmond MBA, developed a strategic plan for the vessel company.

“A big part of the project used a lot of the same skills I use in my work at Phillip Morris,” McGowan said, “manufacturing, planning; a lot of the concepts were pretty familiar.”

After consulting with Childs and his faculty mentor, Adam Marquardt, associate professor of marketing, McGowan came up with a tool that first uses historical shipments to forecast sales for each product, and then forecasts inventories to give recommendations to Shine Craft on when to place orders.

“Ryan had a tremendous impact on our business,” Childs said. “He helped our company grow up and look at a serious business challenge from a completely different perspective. He leveraged his existing skillset and his developing abilities to completely reshape our process of supply chain management and forecasting. Ryan not only offered his professional expertise but developed a tangible tool that our company is now using to manage weeks-of-supply and forecasting. A tool like this would have cost an enormous sum to develop through any other consultant.”

McGowan presented this tool, as well as some other findings, to Shine Craft and a panel of members of The Richmond MBA faculty members on August 8 to complete the program.

“Ryan did a marvelous job,” Marquardt said of the project. “He will increase their revenue by at least 15 percent because of this tool.”

Marquardt also mentioned that even though McGowan was prepared to present the tool in May of 2017, he continued to search for ways to help the company expand, adding another two months of dedication to the project.

“Ryan’s confidence in his recommendations to Shine Craft was evident as soon as he started the presentation,” Fisher said.

McGowan says he gave Shine Craft four ways to grow their business: implement the forecast tool he created, focus sales on local and regional retailers, expand social media efforts, and create a Valentine’s Day design to increase first quarter sales.

“As I went through it, I kept finding things to investigate, so I just kept working on it,” McGowan said, “but I learned a lot about functionality, and what a small, growing company really needs to succeed.”