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Mars Introduces the M&M’s Halloween Rescue Squad

Too many trick-or-treaters knocking on the door? Or, maybe you ate more of the Halloween candy than you intended?

Mars went on a mission to save your Halloween!

In spite of spending a projected $3.6 Billion on Halloween candy, many people fear running out of treats on Halloween.

This is where the M&M’s Halloween Rescue Squad came into play.

After 3:00 pm on Halloween, the Rescue Squad offered to deliver Mars candy to homes, free, through a partnership with Gopuff, a delivery service. Only areas served by Gopuff could be saved by the Rescue Squad, but for those in the delivery area, delivery was free—and so was the candy.

Video Spotlight:  

This post is based on the CNBC article, Halloween Is Candy’s Biggest Holiday. Here’s How Snickers Maker Mars Prepares for Trick-Or-Treaters, by Amelia Lucas, October 14, 2023, and the YouTube video in the spotlight.  Image source: Kisler Creations/Alamy Stock Photo

Discussion Questions:

1. What’s the best location for Mars to locate the candy for the Halloween Rescue Squad?

Guidance: As this candy needed to be distributed quickly, locations close to customers work best. Gopuff maintains inventory for delivery, and stocks Mars candy already. Their micro-fulfillment center was a likely location for the inventory.

2. How could Mars determine how much candy to stock at each location?

Guidance: Since this was for a one-time, one-day event without the possibility of restocking, the single-period inventory model would be most appropriate to use in determining how much to stock.

An interesting aspect of using this model is the cost of carrying excess inventory. Since Gopuff stocks Mars candy for normal deliveries, the candy inventory might be carried over into their normal inventory—reducing the cost of excess inventory.

3. Besides inventory decisions, what operational issues would have been faced by the M&Ms Halloween Rescue Squad?

Guidance: Gopuff needed to determine how many drivers were needed on Halloween. As it is a delivery service that uses gig workers, they may have needed to promote the need for shifts well in advance.

The event also would have needed good forecasting Unfortunately, there was no historical information available for forecasting—making forecasting more difficult.

Additionally, the popularity of the service was heavily influenced by how much and how effectively Mars promoted the M&M’s Halloween Rescue Squad, another consideration in the forecasting.

4. Do any issues arise from the partnership between Mars and Gopuff?

Guidance: Obviously, substantial coordination was needed. One area for coordination was the transfer of orders between the two companies. It appears that orders went through the M&M’s Halloween Rescue Squad’s website.  Therefore, they needed to quickly and effectively transfer orders to Gopuff.

Another area of coordination was where and how much Halloween candy to stock. Did this require different methods of buying inventory for Gopuff, versus its normal operations? Also, Mars would have needed to work with Gopuff in regards to the demand forecast.

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