In 2018, business consultants from Challenges Zambia were engaged by Kachema Meat Supplies Ltd, one of the country’s leading integrated meat companies to undergo an in-depth enterprise analysis.
This was part of the business linkages programme, a DFID-funded project in partnership with Private Enterprise Programme Zambia (PEPZ), to support growth enterprises in Zambia.
The 360–enterprise diagnostic involved a robust investigation and assessment of Kachema Meat’s business operations, sales and marketing, and financials. This was achieved by using a range of Challenges diagnostic tools including questionnaires, interviews, observations and feedback from consumers and retailers.
Building on a legacy of sustained growth and a turnover of $(US) 10 million a year, Kachema management clearly understood the importance of product quality and branding, and had a history of investing in these areas.
Launched as a meat wholesaler in 2000 catering to retailers in the Copperbelt, in 2003 Kachema Meat Supplies moved to Lusaka and began opening retail outlets selling direct to the public. With a staff of about 120, it now has some 14 retail outlets, contributing significantly to the growth on the business over the past three years.
Engaging Challenges, Kachema sought an external assessment of its product quality and branding, as well as an evaluation of:
- Distribution packaging, packaging systems, and audit producer
- Preservation packaging, including thermoformed packaging to improve shelf life
- And the branding/communication messaging on the packaging
Challenges was also invited to develop proposals for enhanced product appearance in relation to the cost of packaging.
With a wide network of business associates built up over its 20 years of global operations, Challenges also engaged one of its consultants with a background in the meat processing industry.
Implementing Challenges Recommendation
Combined with the Zambia team’s findings, the consultant’s final report made recommendations that, upon implementation by Kachema, were seen to coincide with the growth of sales of pre-packed and vacuumed items into new retail channels, such as Shoprite, the largest retail store in Zambia.
The recommendations also resulted in the adaptation of communication packaging, as well as increasing knowledge about vacuum packing cold meats and leakage checks. The latter has resulted in the reduction of “blown offs” (vacuum packed units that were not properly sealed). In addition, a number of operational bottlenecks were identified and addressed.
Upon completion of the analysis of Kachema, Challenges Zambia subsequently followed up with an evaluation of the business. It found that both Kachema’s margins and profit had increased as a result of implementations recommended following Challenges’ analysis. It also found that sales volumes of Kachema’s processed meats increased by 124%, while the cost of damaged or spoiled products fell from 8% to 5%. Overall, the products’ shelf life increased by 3%.
Challenges intervention also coincided with increased job creation as production was stepped up to meet demand due to increased sales, particularly sales of processed meats in supermarkets.