Reducing Labor Costs and Increasing Revenue
After rounds of discussion, we decided to first of all mechanize the tea harvesting process. This was largely beneficial in two ways: first of all, Wang no longer had to spend as much time looking for workers who were willing to accept his salary range; secondly, tea leaves were harvested at a faster rate. This allowed the tea leaves to be processed at peak freshness. Consequently, not only did tea quantity increase, but so did its quality as well. This means that both the first and second objectives could finally be achieved.
As of early 2014, only some of Wang’s tea has been harvested using machines and he has plans for expansion. According to Wang, if all the tea leaves are harvested using machines, he would be able to save hundreds of thousands in costs.
Creating a New and Compelling Value Proposition
Although the initial results associated with mechanized harvesting were positive, there was still a significant issue – mechanized harvesting meant that there were more shredded tea leaves. While this issue also existed when tea was handpicked, it was not as serious and Wang was able to simply steep the tea leaves for himself or recycle them as compost. However, if Wang was to continue using this approach with the increased amount of tea shreds, it would be a blatant waste and would essentially negate his efforts in the past year. To solve this problem, we decided to create a new and compelling value proposition for the shredded tea leaves.
After further research, we unexpectedly discovered that the shredded tea leaves contain high concentrations of the antioxidant catechin, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health. The shredded tea further facilitates the dissolving of catechin, which we used this as our new value proposition. However, since the idea of consuming tea steeped with shredded tea leaves was not widely popular in the Taiwanese tea market, we had to modify the intended product to make it more appealing to the public. To better market this product, we worked with Wang to blend the shredded tea leaves with another tea. After months of repeated trials, we had finally nailed it – we decided to mix the shredded tea leaves with youju (油菊), a type of chrysanthemum grown atop Taiwan’s many peaks.