Small independent bakers in South Africa are getting a raw deal from big established milling companies, that hold a monopoly over the sector.
Sibongile is changing all that. She knows there’s strength in numbers. So she’s formed a network of small bakers. She then supplies and distributes their key ingredient (currently flour, though later she’ll widen her range). The network doesn’t guarantee cheaper prices, but it does give small bakers more buying influence and better service.
Ultimately, it gives smaller operators more power to make decisions in their interest rather than being at the mercy of the big millers.
The next stage for Kotulo Milling is to generate income through two sources - the network membership and the distribution of flour at a mark-up to the members. Members can agree to purchase a minimum quantity of flour to maintain their membership in the network and continue to reap the rewards.
Sibongile can set up storage facilities in the areas where she will be operating. Her suppliers will deliver to these facilities and from there she will distribute to her customers. Initially, she’ll use her own truck and other subcontractors for distribution but, within a year, she anticipates leasing trucks for the company and employing drivers and additional distribution staff.
She knows that delivering amazing customer service is key to winning and retaining business, so a call centre will also be established to look after her customers, the members of the network and the suppliers.