At its annual Local Distribution Partner (LDP) lekgotla, held at Birchwood Hotel, Boksburg on 27 February, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) announced that it will be transitioning 106 of its local distribution partners (LDPs) onto its SAP enterprise resource planning system. Once the transition is complete, all 143 LDPs will be using the SAP system.

The LDP programme is part of the CCBSA route to market strategy, enabling the company to reach its customers in the townships and rural areas. Working closely with the LDPs, CCBSA has ensured smoother delivery and customer service, but it has also created much needed opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Ninety percent of LDPs are from previously disadvantaged groups. “Not only do LDPs create work opportunities for themselves, they employ drivers, crew and warehouse staff from local communities. In a country like ours, every opportunity for job creation should be nurtured”, says Ntuthu Mabengu, Third Party Distribution Excellence Manager, CCBSA.

“This is a highly significant move for our distributor network because it means they can now deliver to all customers in their delivery area. Previously, certain of our customers could not accept deliveries from LDPs because they were not using the right system. We therefore anticipate that this would have the effect of expanding our LDPs’ customer base and creating new opportunities,” Mabengu said.

“Putting all our LDPs onto the same system that we use is something of a milestone because it shows how successful this programme has been. Essentially what we have done is help small businesses, most of them black- and black female-owned, grow to become true business partners. We believe that’s genuine empowerment”, Mabengu added.

Addressing the local distribution partners Rakesh Rajbally, Strategy and Marketing Director at CCBSA said, “Despite a tough trading environment in 2018, we still managed to grow our customer service to our townships through our LDP distribution by seven percent. This success and growth is attributed to the passion with which LDP partners have embraced this business opportunity and the mutually beneficial relationship and partnerships between CCBSA and LDPs.”

As in previous years, this year’s lekgotla provided an opportunity for CCBSA senior leadership to interact and connect with small business owners, and to discuss strategy, new products, how to grow businesses in a tough environment where consumer spend is low, and other matters of mutual interest, including crime. Some creative solutions like LDPs not carrying cash were presented.

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