Bidhaa Sasa Partnered with CCA to Support the Digitization of Last Mile Operations
Bidhaa Sasa, a last-mile finance and distribution company headquartered in Kenya, aims to provide families with clean energy appliances such as solar home systems and modern cooking technology. Their customer base consists of rural households, 50 percent of which are low-income and live below the poverty line. Since the company’s founding in 2015, it has launched 12 branches in Western Kenya and a branch in Uganda, with sales surmounting more than 100,000 products.
Last-mile distributors are key players in the clean cooking value chain, ensuring households in areas that are challenging to service profitably still have access to clean and modern cooking solutions. To optimize efficiency and revenue, Bidhaa Sasa focused on creating a data-driven culture and ensuring its employees can do their work easily in these remote environments using a smartphone. This digitization approach allows for more consistent and transparent customer management across the company.
Throughout the pandemic, the Clean Cooking Alliance’s (CCA) Venture Catalyst program worked with Bidhaa Sasa to further digitize their business operations and integrate their information technology (IT) and data systems into one online platform. Over the course of a year, CCA and third-party consultants helped Bidhaa Sasa to:
- Customize key performance indicators and user dashboards to optimize Salesforce data collection
- Implement training and onboarding programs for Bidhaa Sasa’s team members to their new platform
- Identify improvements for data collection, manipulation, and storage
- Optimize business processes based on data analytics to reduce operational costs
This project provided valuable insights on digitization processes, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, that can be used to support Bidhaa Sasa as they scale and better inform other last-mile distribution business models. Some of Bidhaa Sasa’s key lessons learned during this project included poor connectivity and lack of face-to-face interaction still hamper training despite a remote work environment, the need for a dedicated Information and Communications Technology resource to ensure an aligned roadmap and its delivery, and the importance of managing of the amount of change happening at once to not overwhelm employees.
Bidhaa Sasa and CCA have taken these lessons learned to further partner to help standardize the company’s operations processes and address remaining gaps in digitalization preparing the company for scale through expansion to additional Kenyan and Ugandan branches.
“The support from the CCA has been crucial for strengthening our internal data and IT capacity to fully digitize our business in preparation for scaling. Having most business functions in one place and making them accessible via a smartphone anywhere and by anyone was a challenge but it resulted in a cutting-edge ERP that will allow the business to grow in multiple geographies.”
– Rocío Pérez Ochoa, Co-founder, Bidhaa Sasa