SHLUMBERGER – (CIRCA 1993)
CONSUMER-DRIVEN SMART CARD APPLICATIONS
The Shlumberger Group in France is the world’s
largest manufacturer of smart cards. With shrinking profit margins for the cards
themselves in 1993, Shlumberger retained the Doultons to explore the feasibility of developing a real-time, interactive,
consumer-driven, closed-loop, operational management system for mass attractions.
The concept was to provide each guest with an interactive
smart card upon entry to an attraction so they may gain access to rides and attractions, as well as pay for merchandise and
food. Each transaction was recorded in real time by a mainframe computer, which
in turn reported the transaction to the appropriate department heads and management so they would know at any moment in real
time the live status of the park. Software would also be programmed to track
consumables automatically and place JIT orders, minimizing inventory and space requirements.
Stratigically located VDU's displaying axonometric "park
status" reports provided overview details as to ride and attraction status, length of lines and show times, restaurant waiting
times and other types of real-time information that empowered guests to make the most beneficial decisions. By providing guests with real-time information the decisions made would serve to automatically balance
the facilities demands , and thereby optimize, the park’s operational efficiency and overall guests’
Over time historic data would enable management to better
schedule employee hours and better anticipate demands based upon a series of integrated factors such as time of year, date
of week, hour of day, the weather and level of operational preparedness (number of rides and attractions out of operations,
The Doultons spent four months assessing all major U.S.-based
themed attractions (those attracting over one million visitors annually) and personally meeting with key operations executives
to asses their level of interest and get suggestions and comments. The report
concluded that considerable interest exists, but it would require considerable financial commitment on Shlumberger’s
behalf and on behalf of the operators of the attractions to execute.
The majority of the major operators exposed to the concept
were excited about the potential of having such a tool being made available and were predisposed to working with Shlumberger
in testing the program. Universal, Disney and other attractions have since
installed customer demand systems that employ smart cards, which supports the findings of our study.
The concept continues to evolve and the Doultons master
planned project for Las Vegas will employ this system in its most updated format.