It has been a digital transformation for Aqua Clara. We are aiming at decentralising and digitising managerial processes.”
COO at Aqua Clara Kenya
Aqua Clara Kenya (ACK) is a social enterprise working across Africa to improve access to safe drinking water. Since its establishment, ACK has been distributing simple, affordable and effective technologies that have enabled more than 300,000 people to have access to safe drinking water. In 2017 the company started making its first steps towards digitalizing its business and has been making continuous progress ever since.
Having experienced other SaaS solutions where things didn’t go as planned, Aqua Clara came to Upya with the hope of finally finding a consistent and reliable partner to continue managing and digitalizing sales operations. In the past, the company handled managerial processes with the help of different tools. For instance, Aqua Clara used Excel up to 2019 for numerous needs and tried another SaaS product for about nine months, mainly for sales and inventory.
Field: Household water treatment
Clients: Households and schools
Products: Water filters, sanitation
Joined Upya: 2021
“Before using Upya, we had several challenges with digitalising our last mile distribution and faced long response times and unclear deadlines from software providers,” says Peter Kihuria, COO of Aqua Clara, as he shares the company’s main pain points that he was looking to resolve by using other solutions and adapting them to the business.
With Upya Grow proposition ACK was able to leave its concerns and problems behind. Looking back, the company states that it was quite an easy decision to move forward with Upya. It was the right choice in terms of the functionality of its user-friendly web platform and app, the possibility to add other features when growing and expanding, as well as its value-for-money offering. When choosing Upya, the company saw an opportunity of onboarding a SaaS solution that has a number of features and functionalities to help ACK futureproof its business. It wouldn’t have to change SaaS providers because of some extra technical needs, and the business could simply focus on scaling together with Upya.
When it comes to technological solutions, clear communication and timelines are essential.”
Aqua Clara highlights Upya’s support team and the clear communication which was established from the start. The ACK team was able to get an understanding of how to use the web platform and mobile application with the help of carefully planned training calls.
“Switching to a SaaS solution like Upya is a complex process which requires adjustments for the business,” mentions Peter Kihuria as we touch on the topic of the onboarding experience. With Upya this process was well organized and included the following three steps:
Some of the company’s sales managers were already quite experienced in using SaaS solutions. For those who lacked such experience, it didn’t take long to start using Upya. Sales managers could pick it up quickly and with ease.
Most ACK sales agents belong to an age group that is slower to adapt to innovative solutions. However, using Upya solutions, the agents faced very few difficulties. The overall adoption of the solution was high regardless of the age group and technological background.
With Upya, the technical challenge for sales agents was minimised. The Upya team is really good at customer support.”
The level of professionalism, the patience of the support team and the ease of communication helped Aqua Clara to start using Upya faster and to manage sales agents better. Compared to when ACK was at the very beginning of its digital journey, it is now much easier to track operations in real-time, for example, payments.
The advantage of linking a customer, an agent and the inventory is clear: it helps avoid situations when an agent is on the field and a manager has no possibility to check when a sale is made, and who the client is. This is all in the past now and the company is aiming at recording prospects in the best way and having the possibility to see what is happening with them on a day-to-day basis.
The geolocation function is also very helpful in tracking customers and sales made, with information visualised on different dashboards. There are other functions that the company is starting or planning to use as it is getting ready for expanding into ten new geographical locations in Kenya.
As ACK plans to scale into different regions of the country, it will also require a complex structure with more warehouses and offices. This is where Upya’s “organisational structure” feature can help, and the company is already trying it out. Aqua Clara will need to replicate its processes into new locations and decentralize the operations for every region and needs automation to link all of this information for managerial decision-making. The plan is that three regions will be accountable to one office. With Upya Manage there is enough flexibility to do so and filter all the operational data per region, per office or view the general picture for the whole country. Moreover, ACK is exploring the option of going even further with Upya and integrating its financial and inventory processes.
Aqua Clara Kenya continues its digital transformation with an absolute belief in its importance. The goal is to get real-time information in one place from all around Kenya.