Last week, we heard from Adrian Ristow, an independent contractor now working
with Coca-cola in Africa, doing some on-the-ground research into what makes local distribution
models work. He’s now going to look at whether there is mileage in our idea to
distribute rehydration salts as part of his work, as the research in the field
gets underway. Here he explains the model that Coca-Cola is interested in, and
how the programme came about.
“Over the last year or so, Coca-Cola became interested in a model for local
distribution based on the work of Coca-Cola Sabco and some other bottlers in Africa. This model is known as the Manual Distribution Centre (MDC) model. Seeing that it had a lot of potential, Coca-Cola wanted to understand how it works, what makes it successful, and what promise it might offer. Our ultimate goal is to build an enhanced and replicable model that supports the commitment to the Business Call to Action.
Big ideas – but it all starts with small steps, some real understanding of what works locally, and lots of involvement from the people that really matter: the local communities, the local businesses, and their customers.
We’ve decided to research the model with a specific focus on its socio-economic impact. In other words, what difference is it really making to how people earn and live?
Tanzania was chosen as the research and pilot market, and I’ll be reporting to you from there shortly.
Through the past year we have been collecting information about the Manual Distribution
Centre system’s overall impact as well as focusing on Tanzania specifically. We have just entered into a partnership with the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (download PDF), as well as with the International Finance Corporation.
This will help us to complete a more structured research process and to bring in an independent perspective. As we speak the core data collection phase is taking place, and I will bring you more stories from the front line as I gain more insights.”