Summary of information gained from visits to MDCs on 27/11/08 and 28/11/08

On 27/11/08 I was lucky enough to be able to accompany Benito Xaverly, one of Coca-Cola Kwanza’s Area Sales Managers as he visited 7 of the 17 MDCs he looks after. The main purpose of the visits was to agree the month’s sales targets and discuss any issues the MDCs may have.

However, I took along the ‘ColaLife Pods’, the tube and the wedge, to test reactions to the overall concept of putting ‘social products’ into Coca-Cola crates and get opinions on the different ways of doing it.

Here’s a summary of what we found. There is an insightful video of the conversation at Freeman MDC here. Click on the images to see them in more detail on Flickr.

Mwenge South MDC Freeman MDC Unloading at Kisima MDC

1 Mwenge South

2 Freeman

3 Kisimi*

On the tube
“Ah, no.”
“But what happens to the [spare] bottle?”
On the tube
“People would think we are reducing their profit margin”
.
No discussion (lorry waiting to be unloaded)
.
.
On the wedge
“That is beautiful . . . colalife.”
“We would find space” [to store the wedges for insertion at the MDC]
On the wedge
“We would find space” [to store the wedges for insertion at the MDC]
.

Other
Please see the video of the conversation here.
“It would need to be waterproof”
“It’s a good idea”
“Coca-Cola is distributed aggressively and gets everywhere but medicines don’t”
“It’s social responsibility”
“It would be good we would be doing something to help with people’s health”

DD Shop MDC Agreeing targets at Asma MDC IMG_2015

4 DD Shop

5 Asma*

6 Grace*

On the tube
“But now there are only 23” [bottles – disapproval]
.
.
.
.
.
Discussion in 100% Swahili and a truck was being unloaded while we were there.
Again the wedge was the preferred option with insertion of the wedge at the MDC the suggestion.
I have a poor quality video of the conversation.
.
.
On the tube
“Ah, no!”
.
.
.
.
.
On the wedge
“I have the space [to store the wedges] just give me the instructions”
On the wedge
“It’s a good idea”
.
.
Other
“Is it free?”
.
.

Other
Insertion of the wedges at the MDC was thought to be best.
See text below also.

* owned by women

Everyone at the MDCs thought that the wedges were the best solution and everyone thought they should be put in at the MDC (not at the bottling plant). Although space at all of the MDCs seemed to be at a premium, everyone said that they would find space to store the wedges.

Payment for insertion of the wedges was not talked about at MDCs 1 to 5 but MDCs would incur costs in doing this (eg storage, handling and insertion) and a payment would seem to be justified. I did discuss the possibility of payment at the Grace MDC (MDC 6 above) and that was greeted with enthusiasm: “When would we get paid? The same day?”. I said that I thought that payment would come when there was proof of delivery to the outlets.

When I went to Grace MDC I was unaccompanied and made it clear that I did not work for Coca-Cola but was there at Coca-Cola’s invitation. This made the conversation much more cautious and the initial reaction to the idea was totally negative. “It’s a bad idea. The only thing that should go in the crates is Coca-Cola”. However, when I explained that this would be done with the sanction of Coca-Cola (or not at all) and that the wedges would arrive on the Coca-Cola lorry the attitude changed completely. “No, this is a good idea”. So although the wedges would not be branded ‘Coca-Cola’ it would appear that the sanction of Coca-Cola is absolutely essential.

Other background information

  1. Benito looks after 17 MDCs
  2. Six of these are owned by women
  3. Mwenge South (which was tiny and had crates filled high everywhere) was shifting 230 crates a day.
  4. Generally speaking an MDC takes a whole truck load of crates. I a minority of deliveries is the delivery shared between two or more MDCs.
  5. Truck capacities are: 390, 520, 780 or 910 crates.
  6. All the deliveries I saw were in the full-depth crates although I did see ‘Ian Bishop’ crates in the MDCs

Thanks to Coca-Cola Kwanza for allowing me to accompany Benito and to Benito for being such great company.

Trackbacks

  1. Simon Berry says:

    Report on reactions to the ColaLife Pods – http://is.gd/9B6q

  2. LeanBrains says:

    RT @worldofblues: Thanks RT @DaveGrossBlues #Blues Songs in #Grammy Hall of Fame: Call It Stormy Monday, T-Bone Walker http://is.gd/9B6q