Ikirezi Ops Team — The Project Unfolding – Client Meetings

We planned our intitial client meeting with the Ikirezi Finance Team. There was a lot of anticipation leading up to the first face-to-face introductions. We had been able to gather a significant amount of information about making essential oils and the industry in Rwanda itself. However, our knowledge of Ikirezi’s operational practices was somewhat an enigma. It had been difficult to collect information from the client from DC. Both teams were not sure if it would be easier to get information from the client even if we were in the country.

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Dr. Hitimana was surprised by how many people were at the front door of his business – 13 in all: two teams of 5 people, one faculty member, one GW administrator, and our guide for the trip. He opened up his books to the finance team and our own operations team met with Samuel, the Operations Manager for almost two hours.

It was like the clouds began to open up, or something far away began to come into focus. We confirmed many assumption we had made in our initial presentation, and then learned a lot of the details or nuances we had not completely understood.

We left the building in good spirits, and already beginning to ruminate over potential strategies to suggest.

See here for pictures from the first meeting:

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Here Dr. Hitimana is explaining how the essential oils are transported and packaged.

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Dan and Yufei are talking with Samuel about data-collection.

Our follow up meeting involved an informal question and answer session with Samuel again. Only Dan, Yi and Yufei went to this meeting. The group needed to clarify some specific details now that we had gotten access to the Dropbox file. The scope was really starting to become more refined though and the ideas were percolating.

Following that meeting, we had a great idea for what our team could provide as a main deliverable going forward. Ikirezi management needed a way to track their inputs, the costs of those inputs and predict possible costs in the future using history data. Further, the management team was going to need a system in which to monitor activities on all four, and then all six, sites across the country. This came down to having a program available that provided a structure for that monitoring. Further, the human capital to really be able to trust the site managers, once they identified them as leaders for each site of course.

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