projecteverest

Project Summary

[Project Summary]: Fuel Fiji July 2018

Fuel in Fiji this July was split into two teams, roughly separated as 1) Supply and Distribution and 2) Prototyping and Sales. Both teams made huge strides forward for the project, with an outline of their achievements this month set out below.

 

Fuel I set out goals for the month of July with the main goal in sight of establishing a supply and distribution chain for the production of the rocket stoves within Fiji. We are so excited and proud to announce today that Fuel I has made major steps in the completion of these goals.

Our team has looked into numerous methods to produce the Buka 4.0 as well as the 5.0 within Fiji. Through this research, we have determined multiple production method options for the fuel team going forward. Currently, the Buka 4.0s have been constructed by Mr. Sharma in Sigatoka, however, through our trips to Suva we have determined that Lincoln Refrigeration would be the best options in terms of manufacturing the Buka 4.0 as they have a reliable supply of refrigerant tanks going forward. As for the Buka 5.0, Lincoln also has the necessary tools and machinery to properly cut and drill the sheet metal as required. Lincoln has provided us with a quote of $40 FJD for the 4.0 while the cost of the 5.0 is $65 FJD, both of these include all materials. These cost figures are preliminary and are subject to change in the future. Although, in the short term, this will decrease the profit margin derived from the 4.0, we believe that this is offset by the increased quantities of 4.0s which will be able to be produced by Lincoln, as well as the increase in quality of the stoves produced. Along with the primary manufacturer, Fuel I has looked into alternatives to produce the rocket stoves as precautionary measures should Lincoln lose interest in the production of the stoves.

The major breakthrough made in the distribution channels by Fuel I in July has been super exciting to partake in over these past 4 weeks. We have engaged with numerous country wide distributors in the form of Kasabias, Vinod Patel and most importantly RB Patel. RB Patel have agreed to stock 15 of our Buka 4.0 stoves in Labasa, Sigatoka and Nausori (5 stoves on shelves in each location)! Prices have been agreed upon, RB Patel is happy to purchase the stoves from us for $60 FJD and these will then be sold in their store at a retail price of $79.95 FJD. This will provide a useful insight into the Indo-Fijians’ appetite for the rocket stoves, as well as show the demand for the rocket stoves as a whole while at a higher sale price, which is one of the primary concerns surrounding the sale of the Buka 5.0 into the future. This has the potential to lead to further wholesale distribution of the rocket stoves into the future if there are sufficient retail sales of the stoves while PEV is out of the country.

Preliminary relationships have been established with Vinod Patel and Kasabias providing foundations for future groups to come through. Vinod Patel has shown a  particular interest due to the fact that they have outreach programs with the rural villages surrounding Sigatoka. If Vinod Patel decides to stock our stoves these outreach programs will provide Project Everest to have a greater impact and reach the  rural areas surrounding Sigatoka.

Fuel I have also spent their time analysing competition in Fiji and globally in the realm of clean cookstoves. In doing so we have identified numerous companies which can be learnt from and potentially collaborated with in the future. We have determined that PEV is in a relatively strong position competitively within Fiji and has room to scale in the near future and is well tailored to the current Fijian Market. Finally Fuel I looked into numerous marketing strategies which would help to aid the rocket stove initiative into the future. Consisting of word of mouth channels as well as SMS marketing and radio as these forms of media are still prevalent in Fiji. A successful marketing strategy will allow for greater exposure of the rocket stove, increasing sales going forward.




Fuel II this month had the monthly goals of developing a new prototype and testing it with customers, selling 10 stoves and gathering feedback from existing customers, and building two payment plans.

Straight away in week one the team got working towards a new prototype, with the aim of removing the reliance on the refrigerant tanks of previous Buka stoves, and also eliminating welding from the design. After a design was solidified, some sheet metal was bought and the first prototype built. For more on this process see https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/574652.  The onus for manufacturing was then passed to Fuel I as mentioned above. Three 5.0 stoves were constructed by Fuel II by the end of July, with one being tested in a case study.

Many village visits were conducted throughout the month to speak with existing customers and develop new relationships too. The majority of feedback from customers was very positive, with durability not presenting to be as much of an issue as we expected. Through this empathising with new customers, one common objection to the stove was the size of it. This is discussed in detail here: https://projecteverest.crowdicity.com/post/573923. Further testing was also conducted to begin standardising wood consumption tests for the Buka stoves. Two stoves, both a 5.0 made by Lincoln Refrigeration and the latest 4.0 model have been brought back to Australia for more controlled testing around emissions and particulate matter. This testing will allow us to be confident that the stove provides the health benefits we have been assuming it does.

During these village visits, more stoves were sold to demonstrate continued product-market fit, with demand often outpacing supply this month as we initially put little emphasis on producing more 4.0 stoves but rather on gaining feedback and iterating. After walking by chance through the Sigatoka Markets, it was observed how much demand there was for the stoves with 5 informal EOIs (exchange of contact details and willingness to put down a deposit) received in one instance alone. There is future potential to use marketplaces as a distribution channel in the future.

In addressing the goal of payment plans, the Social Consulting I team had the brilliant idea to use the Buka stoves as a form of micro-credit. This worked favourably for both teams, with SoCon gaining information on their customer segments and risk profiles and Fuel II being able to sell stoves on a payment plan, increasing the availability of the stoves. At the end of the month two customers were on an mPaisa (mobile money) payment plan. In the future a similar method, through SoCon or within Fuel only can provide a viable and non resource intensive payment alternative.

 

In conclusion, both Fuel teams in Fiji have laid the groundwork for summer projects to succeed, with a new prototype, manufacturing and distribution options all ready to go. Lucy Preiss and I are extremely proud of our teams and the work they have done to get the project to this point. Stay tuned, with big things to come from Fuel in Fiji over summer!

 

edited on 18th October 2018, 09:10 by Rhys O'Brien

Alexander Teicher 6 months ago

Project Summary (Crowdicity is not liking me uploading attachments, EDIT; lets you attach when editing a post)

Reply 0

Alex Winiarski 6 months ago

For Fuel Team One moving forward - we've also established a relationship with Director of Marketing (if I remember correctly) at 'Courts' which is the equivalent of Harvey Norman in Australia. He showed quite a bit of interest back in January to stock some Buka Stoves, so potential channel to explore for next team !

Users tagged:

Reply 1

Alexander Teicher 6 months ago

Awesome! Having a slightly different market through that distribution channel as more of a consumer goods product would be interesting to compare how it fares against the hardware stores. Thanks for the heads up and im sure December will suss that out.

Reply 0

Andrew Vild 6 months ago

Status label added: Project Summary

Reply 0

Share