Esoko, the leading firm in technology and field deployment solutions for agricultural value chains and data digitization, has chalked numerous successes in its quest to improve livelihoods in rural Africa.
This feat according to the company’s Operations Director Kwabena Frimpong, is due to strategic planning and systematic execution of carefully thought-out projects aimed at addressing specific problems with tailored tech services, mostly in remote settings in Africa. Planning and execution for the operations team involves training and deployment of field personnel; logistics mobilization; and timely evaluation and reporting to satisfy project deliverables.
Labeling the process as both intense and exciting, Kwabena explained that every project comes with something different, which always inspires commitment and dedication from the team. “My team love what they do, and we strive always to operate in line with our core values which are to ‘Give everyone a remarkable experience’, ‘Find opportunity in every challenge’, ‘Do the right thing’, ‘Think ahead’ and ‘Team Esoko first’. So there have been times where we have had to sleep in the office, working seven days a week and over fifteen hours a day. However, nobody complains due to the collective passion and determination of the team to execute projects to the utmost expectation of our clients. The ability and willingness to learn from our challenges and failures, also gives us the edge to keep improving our processes”. This according to Kwabena boosts the efficiency of the company’s operations resulting in high customer satisfaction.
Despite positive indicators of clients’ satisfaction, the Operations Director guaranteed that the team is not complacent but rather remains focused on identifying and improving loopholes within the operations system to deliver on their mandate.
Speaking on competitors, he was confident that the world-class quality of service rendered by Esoko will uninterruptedly put the company ahead of its competitors. “One thing that drives us as a company is our desire to be the market leader in what we do, and we strive to be second to none. To this end, we refuse to linger on our past glories. Rather, we frequently devise strategies to remain relevant to the needs of our customers and ahead of growing competition”
Touching on the rapport between Esoko and beneficiaries at the receiving end of client projects, Kwabena spoke on the importance of the local participation component of the company’s operations which makes it possible for residents in targeted communities to have a sense of ownership. “When we do field deployment in a region or community, we try as much as possible to recruit field agents locally to ensure a participatory approach. The advantage of this is that since they are from the locality, there are no issues with language barrier and beneficiaries are able to have that sense of belonging and ownership”. He also pointed out that, public sensitization on projects also accounts for successful acceptance of projects by target communities.
Bemoaning instances that impede the smooth execution of projects, Kwabena identified payment delays from clients which sometimes interrupts operations on the ground. With a smile, he revealed that the ripple effects usually go unnoticed due to preemptive measures the Operations team, supported by Finance, put on standby in mitigating the problem. “Field deployment comes with financial demands and one challenge has to do with delay in payment from clients. Because we use a large number of agents on the field, operations risk being stalled especially when payment is not forth coming, however we have devised other proactive ways to lessen the pressure”.
On Insyt, which is Esoko’s mobile and web data collection tool, Kwabena was very optimistic about the prospects for the App. “Besides using Insyt to collect data from the field for many social protection and agriculture projects, we also use the app within the department to track and monitor our internal activities. Not to sound biased, but it’s a very useful tool for us. Not only are we able to have real time information from the field, but most importantly we are able to manage and track performances of our field agents which improves efficiency of the team.”
Announcing some reforms which are in the offing, Kwabena indicated efforts to re-strategize the company’s call centre at a higher standard with state-of-the-art equipment, vigorous training and other capacity building exercises. He also stated that the Operations team intends strengthening its internal monitoring and evaluation systems to aid their impact assessment procedures for a more robust team.