If you’re one of the millions who have been following my blog, Facebook updates, emails, and, yes, the Twitter, you have seen that I am very excited that we recently completed construction of our central egg storage facility. You will also have seen that I am JUST as excited to be able to equip that egg storage facility with brand new egg carts. These new additions to the Kwakiliga Project, in complement with other investments that were made before my time here, have created a interconnected campus of chicken and egg infrastructure that can now be governed by a warehouse management system. The system will ensure that our eggs are stored properly, are sent out according to a FIFO system (first eggs in the storage facility are the first ones we send out in orders), and are precisely tracked so that distribution of profits are as accurate as possible. It goes a long way toward achieving a competitive level of professionalism for the Project and ensuring that the Partners have everything they need to manage this business without external assistance.
Since it would be difficult to get all you out to Kwakiliga to see our system in-person, allow me to take you on a pictorial tour to show you how our operation functions.
Step 1: Gather eggs
Twice a day, every day, Partners at each of our three chicken coops gather eggs. We are currently collecting around 60 aggregate eggs a day, as our chickens are just beginning to lay, but we hope that a month from now, our daily aggregate number will be around 350. The lovely young women in this and the next picture is Mama Mwaka, the Chairwoman of the Kwakiliga Project.
Step 2: Store eggs in each band’s (chicken coop’s) storage facility
Here, we keep the eggs for two days at a time. We attach a slip of paper to each day’s egg production, so we can keep track of when they were collected.
Step 3: Bring eggs to central egg storage facility
Partners will bring their banda’s eggs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. All bandas are within 10 minutes walking distance of the central egg storage facility.
Step 4: Place eggs in holding area
Each banda has their separate space in our holding area where they can drop off two-three days worth of eggs. There they will remain until Step 5…
Step 5: Egg testing for quality
The top of this desk is our testing area. We sell almost all of our eggs in either the nearby commercial junction of Korogowe, or Dar es Salam, the commercial capital of the country. As the Dar markets are more competitive, we try to ensure, through randomized testing of eggs, that only our highest quality eggs are sold to Dar buyers. In testing, we pay attention to egg qualities such as yolk color, viscosity, and external aesthetic. The fine looking man in the following, as well as some of the previous pictures, is Michael Rubeni, the Market Chair of the Kwakiliga Project.
Step 6: Record Data
During testing, Mzee Rubeni will record the number of eggs supplied by each banda, with a breakdown of how many of those eggs are of “Korogwe quality” or “Dar quality.”
Step 7: Egg storage
After determining the quality of our eggs, Mzee Rubeni stores the eggs in our fine looking egg carts. We have a section of egg carts that are intended for Korogwe eggs (as pictured) and Dar eggs. The eggs are stored from the bottom of the carts to the top, in chronological order. We write the dates of the eggs on the drawers to help us keep track of the egg dates as well as each day’s composition by banda. The drawers in the carts can be moved up and down, depending on how many trays we have collected for a given day
Step 8: Packaging and shipping
On weekends, we text supply data to our market facilitators, who then design orders to meet our stock. On Tuesdays, we receive order information and put together shipments. In these pictures, Mzee Rubeni is putting together an order of 18 trays by 30 eggs. This order is headed to Dar.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what a warehouse management system can look like in rural Africa (Kwakiliga, in this case).