Zimbabwean tech start-up helps keep local grocery store stocked-up

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How often do you walk into your local grocery store for your weekly shop, only to find that 20% of your shopping list is not on the shelves that day?  For many emerging African markets, this is commonplace: it is a bugbear for consumers, retailers and suppliers alike.
Grocery retailers refer to these situations as out of stock events and consider them to be the worst kind of event when it comes to their bottom line.

If calculated across the supply chain, it equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue per month – as well as many frustrated customers.

FigJam is a mobile software app created by a fast-growing African start-up based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Built from the ground up, and based on supplier input, the FigJam app is designed to improve productivity, efficiency and accountability in the highly dynamic and competitive business of distributing fast moving consumer goods (FMCG). Recognising that field agents – responsible for driving the order chain process – are critical to this process, the team at FigJam built an app that was simple to use, yet robust enough to deal with the challenges of doing business in the still relatively young ‘online Africa’.

Figjam operates on relatively inexpensive and universal Android-based devices. Syncing to the cloud, FigJam provides management teams with real-time information on a host of aspects in the supply chain, from stocking densities to streamlined order processing, whilst giving managers automated reporting on field agent productivity.

“This is a win win for management and field teams alike – it gives both the opportunity to do away with old ‘analogue’ processes involving pen and paper, and creates a fresh environment where they can use technology to improve the quality and quantity of their output”, says David Boaler, FigJam Co-Founder.

“We spend a lot of time out in the field gathering requirements and understanding what our customers’ needs are, with the end goal of ensuring tangible results for our customers” says other co-founder Winston Taylor. “My favourite example of what FigJam can do for your business comes from a large distributor in Zimbabwe. We worked with them for 18 months before finally onboarding them. They have since seen their average timeframe from order to delivery reduce by 50% (from 6 days to 3 days) and are seeing revenues increase to the tune of thousands of dollars per month.”

According to The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, the FMCG sector for Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa is set to to have the 3rd largest global growth forecasts after latin America and eastern Europe. Mobile technology app & web ecosystems like FigJam will  undoubtedly play a pivotal role in helping the sector attain these growth figures. More importantly it will also help ensure your local supermarket has all of your shopping list on its shelves on your next visit.

For more information log on: www.figjammobile.com

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Bontle Moeng is the Founder and Managing Director of BizNis Africa. Moeng has spent 15 years working in the digital and online media industry across Africa. She applied her trade at True Love magazine prior to discovering her passion for Investment news in key sectors across Africa. Moeng previously worked for ITWeb, Starfish Mobile Technologies, ITNewsAfrica, AVATAR Agency, eNitiate, Global Interface Consulting and Havas Johannesburg. Her primary focus is to provide solid and valuable content on investment opportunities for the ICT, Energy and Mining sectors across Africa. In addition, the online news publication assists global companies to expand their presence in Africa. Email: news@biznisafrica.co.za

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