Sopa Supplies, a milling company based in Kenya, recently added a new processing facility to increase its production capacity and sales. Due to low market penetration and distribution, Sopa Supplies was not getting enough orders to utilize their new facility and reach full production capacity. That’s when they realized they needed assistance in developing a marketing strategy that aligned with their updated business plan. Mukul Aggarwal, a corporate strategist at Cargill, was looking for an opportunity to use his knowledge and business skills to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) when he discovered the PFS volunteer opportunity with Sopa Supplies. “I chose to volunteer on the marketing strategy project because SMEs are typically resource and cash-constrained in emerging nations and I wanted to help them achieve their business goals and make a meaningful impact,” Mukul said. “Moreover, Sopa Supplies is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and I wanted to learn more about the country and continent given its growing prominence in the food industry.”
One of the most interesting things Mukul learned while working with Sopa Supplies was that the challenges the company faced were analogous to the challenges most other food and agricultural companies, like Cargill, experience. “Obstacles such as increasing market share, improving/maintaining food quality, and remaining price competitive transcend geographies or the size of an organization,” he said. On the other hand, there was a lot more emphasis on the short- term (0-2 years) strategy for Sopa Supplies. Typically, at Cargill, we take a long-term (5+ year) view and look at the changes that are expected to unfold in the future to determine the best positioning for sustainable growth. With that shorter-term timing in mind, some of the areas we focused on were creating a website, changing pricing strategy, and hiring the right sales talent.”
Pauline Njeri, managing director of Sopa Supplies, worked with Mukul and the PFS team to collaborate on and develop the marketing strategy. “PFS really guided us through the entire process, ensuring that we came up with a marketing strategy that will help us have a larger market presence and help us restore our declining sales and margins,” she said. “Mukul’s involvement in this project brought in the right expertise that helped us come up with a plan that is comparable to the best practices. His leadership in this project ensured that we were on track and therefore saving a lot of time.”
Pauline is looking forward to putting the market strategy PFS volunteers helped develop into place and seeing its positive impact on sale volumes, margins, and new markets.