14 week individual project, 2017
Role: Trend+Market research, User research,
System design, UX+ID design
Penske PUMP is a home logistics service to smartly tidy up what we own and circulate what we no longer use to others or recycling facilities.
While we are seeking solutions to live more simply and downsize, the way we manage our household goods has hardly changed. 
This project proposed a future strategy for Penske Truck Rental to help their users adapt to compact living spaces. Leveraging the company's strength in fleet management, this project propose a new circular system to organize and declutter our home.
* This project does not reflect the view of Penske.
Design Challenge

How Can Penske Become the Leading Company in the Consumer Truck Rental Business?

Research
Research Process
To understand the needs of users and the future of this industry, I synthesized research from field studies, macro trend, and market analysis.
_User research: seven on-site interviews and one immersion study to shadow the self-moving journey. User journey map
_Macro trend: STEEPX method. Researching trends across society, technology, economy, ecology and politics.
_Market analysis: SWOT analysis, brand positioning, competitor research
Penske's Challenge
A Weak Brand Recognition
Penske is one of the leading companies in the truck rental industry. However, the company has a hard time to connect with their consumer base and step in the DIY truck rental business.
“I’ve always used U-Haul. Honestly, I don’t know there are other brands out there.”  
– Shane (household truck rental user)
Penske has been expanding their rental locations for consumer use, however, the company still struggles to grow in that sector.
User Research
Most pain points of DIY moving are rooted in users' daily habits of managing their goods. 
The moving event forces DIY-movers to categorize, pack, and discard household items within a limited time. This process develops a lot of stress for self-moving users, as they are facing the messiness that was built up daily.
 Key Insights
01   Keeping track of household inventory is hard.
As inventory item grows and being used, it becomes challenging to keeping track of the condition and location of an item. 
" Moving is good if you want to clean up your stuff. I don’t even remember I have all these things." – Sophie (24, self-moving user)
" Sometimes I found similar things in multiple random places.." – Martin (21, self-moving user)

02  Purchasing items is sometimes more accessible than finding the old ones.

Shopping has become more accessible. Without a systematic way to find things, it is sometimes easier for people to purchase the item again.
“It’s so frustrating when I can’t find the thing I need. It just easier to buy it again.” – Frances (29, self-moving user)

03  Mechanisms to handle reusable/recyclable possessions are missing.

Finding a secondhand buyer for unwanted items is time-consuming. The following process from packing to transporting is often more costly than its worth. It's a norm to toss those usable items in dumpsters or leave bulky items on the street.
“I hate to throw things away, but it takes me forever to sell them online or give them away.” – Iris (30, self-moving user)
Macro Trends
The future of the self-moving industry is impacted by urban growth, personal wellbeing, and the progression of AI and automation.
To have the foresight to understand this industry. I connected user's needs with emerging trends across society, technology, economy, environment, and politics.
The future of the self-moving industry is impacted by urban growth, personal wellbeing, and the progression of AI and advanced automation. How can Penske provide products that align with these future changes?
Desire to function with few things
The Architecture Of Future Living
Ubiquitous Connectivity vs. Privacy
The Digital Transformation of Trucking
Studies have shown a direct link between a cluttered lifestyle and poor mental health. Decluttering has become a movement for modern society with enormous consumption.
With urban space in high demand and the stress of energy cost, there’s an urgent need to rightsize your portfolio at the right time, reducing wasted space, energy and maintenance.
A.I. and IoT are integrating into everyday objects. As privacy concern rises among consumers, companies are seeking solutions to develop smart devices without compromising personal privacy.
As the trucking industry is facing growing shortage of drivers and aging fleet, technologies such as self-driving and smart tracking are stepping in to transform the trucking business.
Opportunities
The Stress of Future Living
In the next few years, the greatest challenge of urban growth will be the high cost of rent and building energy. To continue to live in the urban area, users will need to rightsize their portfolio, reducing wasted spaces, energy and maintenance.
"By 2025, buildings worldwide will be the largest consumer of global energy costs, more than the transportation and industry sectors combined."  – National Science and Technology Council
Megacities such as Tokyo have shown the challenges of future living 
Photo: World Economic Forum

As demand in urban space continues to skyrocket,

how might Penske help their self-moving users adapt to the challenges of future living?

Key Concept
A Circular Ecosystem to Managing Household Possessions
User Flow

Using the life cycle of an item, I laid out the flow to understand how users can interface with this inventory system and circulate their goods. Goals for this digital experience are: 
1) enable item searching, 2) notify misplaced, 3) notify duplicated purchase, 4) provide declutter service.

Lo-fi Prototype

Sketching out initial UIs and build a paper mockup to test the flow.

Development
Ideations
Defining Design Principles and Generating Ideas
The scope of the initial ideation is broad, expanding from the self-moving journey to day-to-day living. Leveraging the company's expertise, I generated ideas that explored the opportunities where Penske can align with the industry trends and user's needs.
Based on metrics of key attributes, ideas were then boiled down to a few directions with elaborated details.
Design
The PUMP System: Make Room For Life
PUMP includes an unobtrusive hub and a service that helps consumers manage their personal/household goods.
Like our heart which pumps blood through vessels to remove metabolic waste, this circulatory service assists consumers to handle their goods and tidy up their living environment.
The Ecosystem
Key Features
1. An Automated Assistant for Inventorying
Personal inventory is updated through the PUMP hub in real-time. Using computer vision and sensor fusion, the hub unobtrusively logs in any newly purchased item. This hub will then follow up on the location after the user stores the item in the house.
2. Intervene Purchasing and Organizing Habits.
The PUMP service notifies users when they are purchasing stuff they already have, and gives suggestions when users are putting their stuff in a random place.
3. Notify User to Declutter
When stuff started to accumulate, the PUMP service notifies users to schedule with Penske Truck and clean out items they no longer used. Penske will then manage these items for either resell or recycle.
Persona
I distilled the interviews, research, and key insights into this persona of a young couple, Christian and Kyra, who live in a compact house.
The PUMP Hub
Training the system on data of objects and their relationship with respective rooms, this hub enables PUMP to build a personalized inventory of household and personal goods, and keep track of their locations and status.

physical prototype of the PUMP hub

The PUMP Declutter Service
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All works © 2019 by Shu Ou