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Voltic success story decentralized bottling in Ghana

bottled water producer faced a common prob-

Selecting the right partners & sharing cost

lem encountered by many beverage compa-

Franchisees are local entrepreneurs with the

nies in emerging markets. How to sell water to

ability to invest and grow the business. This

the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) with hundreds

includes bottling (including quality control) and

of informal vendors already selling sachets at

distribution. In this partnership, Voltic pays for

cut throat prices? The BoP water market held

just over half the capital cost, with the rest of

significant potential, but with low prices and

the costs covered by the entrepreneur. Voltic

little brand loyalty among consumers, it was

and the franchisees split the operating margin.

In the early 2000s, Voltic Ghana’s leading

viewed as a segment with high volume but with very low value. At the time, Voltic’s focus was concentrated on higher income Ghanaians

Branding & Pricing

servicing high-end outlets including hotels,

Voltic introduced a new brand called Cool Pac

bars and restaurants.

and priced it at a slight premium above the numerous informal competitors. In the BoP

Rethink the business strategy

segment where water functions more as a com-

The company clearly had to rethink its business

modity, Voltic changed all of that with a strong

strategy in order to compete. Voltic realized

emphasis on the brand and quality. Even

that

centralized

though Voltic outsourced bottling and distribu-

bottling facilities to the respective markets and

tion, the company maintains close control over

high traffic areas was costly. Furthermore, with

all brand building activities.

transporting

water

from

smaller package sizes the transportation cost per liter would increase, as sachets (or

Route-to-Market

pouches) are not really known for stowability.

The sachets are distributed using a network of

Poor infrastructure and transport utilization in

informal street hawkers. Sachets (500ml) are

emerging markets likely compounded the

sold to consumers for $0.03 per sachet on a

problem. So, Voltic took a radical step to

cash and carry basis. Today more than 10,000

decentralize its bottling through more than a

street hawkers sell nearly 480,000 Cool Pac

dozen franchisees and in the process, brought

sachets daily.

their water product closer to the market.

2009 Voltic was acquired by SABMiller.

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Following Voltic’s success, in


Voltic Ghana - decentralized bottliing