Project Everest

Work Update

[Work Update]: Fuel Fiji - Potential Distribution Partners - July 2018

For new readers and a reminder for old ones, one of Fuel I’s main goals this month is to establish a supply chain and distribution network for the current Buka Stove 4.0 and the freshly produced Buka 5.0.

In recent news, on the 19/07/2018 three members of the Fuel I team and Lucy Noble travelled to Suva to perform demonstrations for two potential distributors and to collect quotes from various supplier and manufacturer businesses. The first demonstration was in the morning with the hardware store Kasabias. The outcome of the meeting was overall positive but they wanted some time to evaluate our product. This will have to be chased up once we are back at it in December.

The second demonstration was at Rb Patel. We lit up the stove in the car park and the overall feedback was extremely positive! The Rb Patel staff were super excited about our product and keen to supply it. Even whilst we were demonstrating the stove in the car park there was interest from people, with one lady asking where she could buy the stove! Rb Patel gave us the green light on putting our stoves on their shelves. Key questions asked by the Rb patel personnel were how our Buka 4.0 works, what materials it is made of and how was it designed and manufactured. RB Patel also requested an official safety and operation manual, which our team is currently finalising. We made sure to stress that we are a start up business and that this would be a one off supply of stoves as a test, and RB Patel is keen to put 5-10 of our 4.0s in stores in Lautoka and Sigatoka, and potentially Suva as well! Currently the amount of stoves and pricing is being negotiated and will be finalised before the team leaves the country. We are super excited about it and can’t wait for the feedback from our clients.

Great strides were made for our supply chain team in Suva too. The team obtained a very promising quote from the Lincoln Refrigeration company from which we have been obtaining our refrigerator tanks to produce our Buka 4.0 and all previous models. They requested FJD$40 to produce our 4.0 and FJD$65 for our new prototype.They currently have both models in their possession to make mock ups. If their labourers are able to produce it efficiently with no issues,t the manager thinks that the cost could be reduced. Although we currently pay less for the 4.0 model to be manufactured in Sigatoka, having Lincoln produce our stoves adds a layer of professionalism, reliability and safety as the workmanship is much better here. Another benefit is that they also supply us with the refrigerant tanks, so we are killing two birds with one stone and eliminating transportation costs required to get our refrigerator tanks to be manufactured.

With all these promising outcomes it will be possible for the Fuel project to become an independent business in the near future and we as FUEL I are really excited about the potential of this project. Stay tuned.

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

Lucy Preiss Jul 23, 2018

Check it out!

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Larissa Steele Jul 23, 2018

That is amazing news!

Just curious about the contract side of things and whether you guys are negotiating with further stock to sell or if you are just focusing on a one off to gauge interest in terms of sales.

Definitely worth looking in to drafting contracts (even if they are not being signed now) so that you can secure shelf space as well as brainstorming how to spread the word in terms of generating interest so people know they can buy these stoves from these shops (relying on people stumbling upon them may take a while to catch on, as well as not wanting the stoves to be positioned in some back corner of the store where no one sees them).

Also to clarify, is the intention to sell both models of the stove? How are the price points looking as the margins as the price quote is a bit higher than if they are being produced in Sigatoka (not taking into account transportation).

Keep up the amazing work!

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Alexander Teicher Jul 23, 2018

Hey Larissa,
Most of these things are being sorted as Lucy and her team are in Suva today hopefully signing contracts and then also sorting prices/margins etc. This information will be posted shortly so stay tuned! The intention so far is to have a semi-autonomous system where our manufacturer will be notified by RB Patel if they want more stoves and we can facilitate those payments ideally from Australia.

Currently only the 4.0 will be on the shelves, as the 5.0 needs more work in terms of design and also testing, both internally and externally with customers.

As far as advertising goes, that is something we have not really considered a whole lot but have been telling people that the stoves will be in RB Patel soon where they can buy them. Pamphlets or similar would be a good idea though! We are also considering a FB group for warranty/product registration purpose and this could act as a marketing channel too perhaps.

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Alex McGinn Jul 23, 2018

No interrobang‽‽‽‽‽‽‽

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Amber Johnston Jul 24, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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Vassiliy Zelenskiy Jul 25, 2018

Its gonna be a big one re!

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Tim Tsiflidis Jul 25, 2018

For suuuuure dude

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Thomas Hasler Jul 25, 2018

This post is amazing !!

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John Schinella Jul 26, 2018


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Wade Tink Jul 26, 2018

Great outcome here. Would be great to see a post on "Key Partners" specifically outlining the suppliers and distributors (in this case) that are 'key' to the Rocket Stoves success in Fiji. Outlining details of the reach of this partner across the region would be great.

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Mallory Dobner Jul 27, 2018

Do you have a current system for the collection of feedback from customers so that you are able to monitor the progress of customers whilst you are out of country? Gaining feedback in a standardised way so that you are able to hit the ground running with fleshed out plans in December, rather than needing to gather feedback at the beginning of the month would be a huge time saver.

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Lucy Preiss Jul 31, 2018

Hi Mal, thanks for the comment!
We are in the process of standardising feedback and will be collecting some initial feedback through the use of a google form link provided with stoves purchased in store. This does come with some limitations obviously (ability and access to use google forms), however the store is also collecting some basic contact information from customers so we can get in touch with them over Summer.
We also have two customers filling out a case study booklet between now and December. It would be so handy to get them to send some of that information through WhatsApp or Facebook so we have access to it before we return to country. Great idea! Thoughts, Teich?

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Alexander Teicher Jul 31, 2018

I like it! WhatsApp/Viber/Messenger was not something we even considered, and could be extremely useful. I will look into whether we can get this up and running in the next week!

Please also see Luke and my post about the two case studies

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