THE restructuring of Econet’ Sales and Distribution department under the new leadership is now bearing sweeter fruits. Victor Mashape, Econet’s General Manager Sales and distribution, is a driven man on a mission.
With more than 20-years’ experience in sales and distribution, Mashape has seen it all: He has distributed food, beer, soft drinks, flour and fuel.
Since joining Econet early last year Mashape has hit the ground running, making drastic changes and tweaking the existing distribution systems to make them function better.
The ultimate goal, Mashape says, is to get Econet services and products as close as possible to the people.
Thus far, he has been impressed by the “tremendous” progress his team has made.
“We have a fantastic team focused on delivering services to the people of this country. That is the mission that drives the whole company,” Mashape says.
The energy he has seen from the team, he explains, has made his task a lot easier and enjoyable.
“I am driven by results and excellence. I want to take our customer service and experience to the next level.”
“I am part of something extremely exciting happening at Econet at the moment. The company is poised for greater heights under the current leadership. It’s a brilliant team we have here.”
One of the first things Mashape has done, with the help of his team and the management, has been to turn the sales trend. The focal point of that strategy has been the distribution network of sim cards and airtime.
“The idea is to make sure that our SIM cards and airtime vouchers are within arm’s reach. No one should walk more than a stone’s throw out of their house to get our SIM card and airtime.”
“The market might have realised that over the past few months there has been an increase in the number of blue spazashops in both the town and peri-urban areas. We are getting more of those so that our customers get our products instantly.”
Added to these are the one-stop-shops Econet has commissioned in recent months.
So far there are 16 shops across the country but Mashape says “for as long as there is a need Econet will open more shops”.
“Our customers, who are the most important stakeholders of our business, should get the best services under one roof”.
“We are now taking on the market on our own. There have been challenges with some dealers in the past but we are aware that no one can sell our products and services better than us because we know them better than anyone.”
The spaza shops and the full-fledged outlets have helped increase both visibility and availability of Econet products in the market. Linked to the shops, and still part of the strategy to improve accessibility, Econet has also hired teams of brand ambassadors now working in all districts.
“There are ten ambassadors per every district. These are highly trained people who can interact with the market at almost every level.”
Mashape says while the distribution network is improving Econet is now working on the pricing system. “The idea is that no matter where you are in the country, whether town or the most remote of places, the price of the airtime should not change.”
He strongly believes that these strategies, as well as several others that are in the marketing, will help position the Econet brand in the market.
“This is a very strong brand that has held its own in the market. This is a company that has always placed value quality rather than quantity.”
Mashape has earned the right to be described as a veteran of the sales and distribution in Lesotho.
Since joining Metro Cash & Carry, a wholesaler, in 1995, he has known that the key to success in business is to deliver on your promises and putting customers’ needs at the centre of the business.
Since then he has held senior positions at different companies including Lesotho Brewing Company, Lesotho Flour Mills, Puma Energy and others.
“The constant thing that has defined all these positions is the delivery of services and products to the customers.”