Project Everest

Work Update

[Work Update]: Fuel Fiji - Scaling up and Project recap - February 2018

It has been a massive three weeks on project for Fiji Fuel with an even bigger week ahead of fulfilling orders, finalising our supply chain, drafting up our new designs of the Buka stove, among a myriad of other tasks.

 

For the Buka stove, we have made a few adjustments based on our last post whilst maintaining some aspects from the Buka Stove 2.0 design from January which included welding for the legs and inner zinc core. Our design that the team has agreed upon is in essence the 3.0 design, with spot welding of the inner zinc core to the outer rim of the refrigerant tank (2.0) and pop riveting the handles and legs, in addition to making the grate removable (3.0). Not only is this more cost effective and simpler to build given welding required certain tools and a level of skill that local handymen may not possess, these modifications also make it easier to replace parts of the stove under a warranty rather than needing to replace the entire stove every time something as minor as a broke handle occurs. Further detail is provided in our previous post.

 

Alongside redesigning the Buka stove, the February team has also been looking into establishing a supply chain in Suva (Fiji’s capital and industrial centre). At the moment, all raw materials can be sourced from Vinod Patel (local hardware store across Fiji) and refrigerant tanks from local companies. Currently, we are looking into various larger scale welders and getting quotes and advice and have found that since larger welders operate on a much higher profit margin that what we are willing to provide, it is likely that while they may provide us with an improved prototype for reference but will not be the companies that will carry out the welding and cutting in our supply chain. Instead, we will look back to local handymen who operate on a much smaller scale, with the required welding tools to carry out the cutting, welding and assembly of the Buka stove. Given the relative simplicity of the Buka stove design, minimal teaching and design sketches will be all that is required before such handymen are able to produce Buka stoves from raw materials.

 

Our customer segment began with women from rural, inland villages (main island). However, previous teams has visited coastal villages in Fiji and have found that even though coastal villages have access to electricity and other forms of cooking methods, many are still eager to purchase a Buka stove. This was only enhanced through the multiple EOIs we received when simply walking around Sigatoka town and Suva carrying a Buka stove. Therefore, our target customers have expanded and it will be up to following teams to identify additional modifications that will appeal to specific customer groups based on geographic location and socioeconomic status.

 

This brings us to distribution which is something we are unable to carry out alone. Further research will have to be done pertaining to acquiring a distribution partner in Fiji which will enable us to access the larger Fijian market, particularly on other islands (of which there are many). Whether such a distribution partner would share a portion of our revenue or profit, or become an equity holder is also something that will have to be investigated.

 

As final week approached, the February Fuel team has a jam packed week fulfilling a total of 25 orders for the Buka stove so fingers crossed for the weather (flooding bridges is a very real concern in the wet season). Further research into much of the above along with handover documentation will keep the team busy for the week.

 

In the meantime, any suggestions regarding the supply chain so far, acquiring a distribution partner and the design modifications for the Buka stove are welcome. Fiji Fuel Sustainability is at an exciting stage of business development but we need to make sure that the decisions we make in the early stage are based on solid foundations such that we are able to produce and fulfil orders at the scale we envision.

edited on 6th September 2018, 01:09 by Justin Hakeem

Wade Tink Jun 30, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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