Curating chaos

It’s all very well sitting in an office and planning something to within an inch of its life – which is what we did – but you need to try things out to really learn and plan properly. In theory the value chain we have created works like this:

  1. We create a desirable product – an anti-diarrhoea kit – the Kit Yamoyo
  2. We price it at a level that people can afford
  3. We engage promoters to raise awareness and market it like mad 
  4. We give vouchers to promoters, they activate them and give them to mothers
  5. Mothers take activated vouchers to our trained retailers and exchange them for a Kit Yamoyo so that they can try it for the first time at no cost
  6. Retailers are trained and primed so they buy kits from wholesalers in anticipation of demand
  7. Retailers sell the kits for cash, or exchange them for vouchers
  8. Retailers redeem the vouchers they collect on their phone
  9. Retailers’ stocks run low so they go to the district town to buy more supplies
  10. When in the district town they can withdraw the cash they have earned through the redemption of vouchers and use this to buy more supplies for their shop
  11. They buy more kits from the wholesaler

In practice it’s more like this:

  1. We create a desirable product – an anti-diarrhoea kit – the Kit Yamoyo
  2. We price it at a level that people can afford
  3. We engage promoters to raise awareness and market it like mad 
  4. So far, so good
  5. We give vouchers to promoters; some of them have difficulty using the activation system. They may have lost their phone or forgotten their ID or password. Or they may have simply forgotten how to use the system. There may have been a delay in getting them onto the system, so significant numbers of promoters ask others to activate their vouchers for them or distribute non-activated vouchers. Bang goes the idea of being able to accurately track the effectiveness of different promoters.
  6. All promoters (most of whom are allied to a Health Centre) are not necessarily around when the vouchers are distributed. So the arrangement is that we leave them at the rural health centre for them to collect. We let them know each time we do this. In one situation the health centre got desperate – they hadn’t had any ORS or Zinc for 6 months – and so they have a brain wave: take the promoters’ vouchers directly to the retailer and exchange them for kits, put the kits in the health centre store room and give them out free to mother visiting the health centre (Oh no! That’s not the model we’re testing! But see my next blog post).
  7. Retailers collaborate. So when one goes to the district town he or she will often buy on behalf of others – bang goes the idea of being able to accurately track purchases by each individual retailer
  8. I could go on!

However. Despite all this Real World Chaos, wholesalers and retailers are buying, and kits are getting out to the mothers and care-givers who really need them. In short, our fundamental hypothesis seems to be working:

“You can get a product or service to anywhere in the world if you can create and sustain a demand for it and make it profitable to fulfil that demand” more

…as demonstrated by the latest analysis of sales:

Distribution figures for 15/2/13

Note that we are still just 5 months into the project and we have reached our target of assembling 40,000 kits. We’ve just ordered the components for 20,000 more.

Comments

  1. Via email says:

    This is fantastic!
    Well done.
    All the best to you and your project
    R