Project Everest

Work Update

[Work Update]: Fiji Fuel - Week 2 Update - July 2018

In the first two weeks, Fuel I have been able to make a solid start towards completing our monthly goal of having a functional supply chain and distribution channel. Kicking off the week with a trip to Suva, the metropolitan heart of Fiji, our team approached the head offices of several large retailers to gain EOI’s in potentially selling our Buka stoves. We also visited various engineering businesses to retrieve a range of quotes on stainless steel as a potential alternative metal to the refrigerant tanks for our 5.0 model, and approached 2 freight companies for quotes on transportation of

 

In the first two weeks, Fuel 1 has made a solid start towards completing our main monthly goals of having an autonomous and functional supply chain and distribution channel, as well as comprehensive stakeholder and competitor analysis’. Week 2 kicked off with a trip to Suva, the metropolitan heart of Fiji, our team approached the head offices of several large retailers to gain EOI’s in potentially selling out Buka stoves. Vinod Patel, RB Patel and Kasabias were all interested in our product and requested demonstrations of our current model. Half of our team will make the journey to Suva next week to conduct these demonstrations. We also visited engineering businesses to obtain a range of quotes on stainless steel, a potential replacement metal for our new prototype. We have also been looking at zincalume and galvanised steel, which appear to be more feasible at this stage. The remainder of our team in Suva met with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty, our only Fijian competitor, as well as 2 freight companies on the price of transportation of our stoves from Suva to Sigatoka.


With the assistance of Fiona Aaron, we further brainstormed and developed the distribution channels, along with outlining factors which we should be considering in each aspect.

Our project, broken down into its key elements, is listed below with what we've currently achieved and what we're currently working on.

Distribution:

Ten stores have been emailed about our rocket stove product and many are interested in potentially selling our product. Eight stores/franchise headquarters have been approached so far and all, aside from two, have expressed a level of interest in our rocket stove. All of these stores were met with within the Suva or Sigatoka area, however, all are chain stores with several stores throughout the Fiji Islands. Live demonstrations of the stove were requested and will be performed next week. The current forerunners, all of which are requesting exclusivity, are RB Patel, Vinod Patel and Kasabias. RB Patel is a supermarket chain which has a market share of around 15%. Vinod Patel is the largest hardware store in Fiji with a market share in excess of 40%. Kasabias is a hardware store of whose values align closely with Project Everest’s. We are still looking at more stores to approach, as well as potentially corporations. We plan to further branch out into selling to individuals in villages.

Transport:

Estimated quotes for transporting between Suva and Sigatoka have been gathered from several companies. These quotes are $100 FJD per tonne of material, $100 FJD per month for 25 stoves per week or $55 for one cubic metre, enough for roughly 27 stoves. Currently we are underway with finding more quotes from smaller transport services and looking for ways to get stoves to more remote villages.

Storage:

Places to store the build-stoves were looked into, however, appear to be rather limiting without spending significant amounts of money. Currently, we've looked into buying/renting plots of land, using shipping containers, local garages and potentially the town house dependent on the scale of our project. Ideally, for the next four months we would be able to store our product with the hardware store distributing it and then Summer teams can focus on storage for a larger production capacity.

Materials/Labour:

Currently quotes on material prices are being gathered from several businesses throughout Fiji, as well as looking at international sellers. Materials being investigated include stainless steel 304, galvanised steel (G250), mild steel and zincalume.  Mild steel is being considered as it is a decent price, however, requires corrosion painting. Galvanised steel and zincalume are both affordable and corrosion resistant options. Whilst stainless steel is much stronger, and both heat and corrosion resistant. Some quotes have been gathered already whilst emails have been sent to the remainder and are expecting pricing on the various materials of interest in sheet and cylindrical form soon. Galvanised steel and zincalume have been quoted at around $50 for a 1.8 metre x 1.2 metre sheet, whilst stainless steel 304 is roughly $330 for 2.4 metres x 1.2 metres. Other potential suppliers are being further contacted and we will continue to do so to ensure there is no wastage of funds. Currently, we plan on using stainless steel 304 for the inner chamber and either galvanised steel or zincalume for the outside.

Competitors:

A meeting with our only Fijian competitor, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty alleviation, was arranged. From this meeting many details around how they operate were gathered. The ministry is run and supported by the Fijian government with the aim of empowering rural women through running workshops on how to make rocket stoves. Unlike us, they have only one person designing the stoves and no additional academic support. Whilst we approached the meeting with the focus of cooperating, the ministry didn’t like that we were a for-profit organisation. Other overseas rocket stove producers were also contacted including a meeting with Potential Energy. Potential energy is a non-for-profit operating in Uganda, Kenya and India. In the meeting, they were more than willing to be cooperate and suggested collaboration between our businesses. Models of competitor stoves were assessed and how they've gone about gathering funding, how they distribute the stoves, and the scale of which they work on were also assessed. We are continuing to further look into any other competitors which have yet be be found.

 

edited on 6th September 2018, 00:09 by Justin Hakeem

Larissa Steele Jul 16, 2018

Amazing progress so far! Really excited to hear about the interest from potential retail outlets.

In terms of the stove demonstrations, I would strongly advise testing and practicing lighting up the stove as it isn't as easy as it looks and you want to make sure the demonstration really showcases the stove. Lighting a fire and maintaining it, especially at for cooking purposes is something that I find we tend not to be so good at since most rarely -if ever- are working with fire on any sort of basis. A minor speed-bump for the Feb team was the trouble we had in lighting the stoves when we were showing to the villages (most the time, they we lighting it up themselves anyway). Definitely worth some time practicing before hand, making sure the fuel is dry and having plenty of fuel, matches and newspaper to get started.

For the stainless steel, Feb team did not look too thoroughly into that alternative since stainless steel may be a bit pricey. However, if you are able to make that work for the margins, that is amazing.

For transportation which is calculated based on volume, there is even more reason to be really looking into stove flat packs, much like what IKEA does with their furniture. In the long term, this really would reduce those storage and transportation costs. Obviously, this will need some serious prototyping as making a stove is one thing, making a flat pack equivalent which works just as well is another.

All the best and don't hesitate to reach out if you need to bounce ideas off.

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Alexander Teicher Jul 18, 2018

Think we are going to need an update for this!! :D

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Justin Hakeem Aug 16, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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