Pivoting Business Processes for Purpose with Barrows.
When early learning materials do reach preschools, the content is often not educationally sound or age appropriate. Materials may be in a language that the children don’t know (South Africa has 11 official languages), or contain content that children cannot relate to – like weather charts featuring snow. There is a need for a sustainable pipeline of high quality early learning materials designed and distributed appropriately for age, language and content.
How it works
- Recipient organisations are vetted to ensure that they can meet minimum requirements
- A content committee was established to review and source appropriate materials
- Approved materials are uploaded to a catalogue for ‘ordering’
Recipient organisations order content from the catalogue well in advance
- Orders are uploaded to the Barrows internal production planning system
- Orders are matched to print runs in terms of quantity, size, shape and colour
- Barrows production team prints the ordered materials
Printed materials are sent to the most appropriate depot (in closest proximity to the recipient organisation)
- Recipient organisations collect materials within agreed timeframes and are responsible for last-mile distribution
- On collection of materials, recipient organisations submit the necessary forms to track and verify reach as per B-BEEE requirements
- Electronic records are updated to reflect production and delivery
What is innovative about this initiative is that it leverages unused inventory in an existing business process to create a quality product that addresses an educational need at little or no extra cost. At the same time, the initiative has a positive impact on Barrows in a number of ways that ultimately benefits its bottom line – including offering its clients social impact value-add with every job it prints, strengthening its B-BBEE (Broad-based Black Business Economic Empowerment) scorecard (4) and attracting and retaining top talent who are looking for employment opportunities that provide a sense of purpose.
By February 2019, Barrows had produced 184 267 pieces of educational material. Because of the perceived business value, Barrows has committed to funding the project management role going forward – ensuring full business integration.
Kiva Executive Chairwoman Julie Hanna says, ‘Profit and purpose are force multipliers that reinforce each other. Two synergistic halves of a whole where the sum is greater than the parts.’ We set out to answer the question: could excess inventory be used to print and distribute educational materials for under-resourced communities across South Africa? The answer is yes.
The Project Team
Content providers and distribution partners:
Embrace | Wordworks | Ilifa Labantwana | Nal’ibali | Smartstart | Earlybird Educare@Work | The Reach Trust | Redink | RCL Foods (Do More Foundation)