August 2, 2016

doing business in tanzania

like burma, where companies are reluctant to invest because of 'business regulation' aka corruption, tanzania also has it's challenges.  in the case of our business which involves vanilla and extracts, there isn't any other company doing what we are doing.  this means there are no existing standards for our products.  another company developing the local honey market spent 2 years trying to get the tanzanian board of standards to approve their product. 

another significant supply chain challenge is packaging - like these boxes called banana boxes because they are made from the leaves of the banana tree.  we try to use local sustainable packaging whenever possible and strive to eliminate any type of plastic packaging.   there just isn't any packaging manufactured in Africa.  the 30ml [4oz] bottles we use come from China.  that's a three month ship time and a one month allocated for trying to get through customs at the port in Dar.  the port authorities decided on the last shipment that we would have to pay duty on the PALLET the boxes were shipped in on.

in most countries when you need labels or business cards you just run by a kinkos.  here getting labels printed took 5 months and 3 trips to Nairobi.

these small but significant obstacles to doing business will really screw up your supply chain.  this month it's the 30ml bottles.  while the GM was in europe for a month no one was monitoring the business and inventories weren't stocked.  so although the sales and marketing team was exponentially increasing the sales, sadly august will become the month we had no bottle to fill our orders.

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