2018 has been an active year for us at Pomona Impact in working on Technical Assistance (TA) projects funded through the Inter-American Development Bank to assist our portfolio companies in developing key strategies, technologies, processes, and or buying of equipment to help them expand and improve production. Ecofiltro, a Guatemalan social business focused on production and commercialization of cost-effective home-water filter, received our second TA to improve their marketing and sales strategy as well as their production processes with the overall goal of expanding operations outside of Guatemala into neighboring Mexico. Ecofiltro’s goal is to reach 1,000,000 families in Guatemala by 2020, creating equal access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Two consultants were identified and hired: Karen Cancinos, who worked on marketing and sales research and Jorge Nadalini, who worked with the Ecofiltro team on logistics and efficiency studies. Both consultants brought their unique expertise to shed light on areas in which Ecofiltro can improve their sales and production both here in Guatemala and abroad.
Karen’s main objective for this project was to investigate the current sales trends and perceptions of customers for Ecofiltro in Guatemala. She and her team traveled to Quetzaltenango to interview potential and existing customers of Ecofiltro. Questions focused on their perceptions of filtered water, and where they preferred to purchase their filters. The team also conducted a focus group with customers that had already purchased an Ecofiltro to see what they thought of the design, quality of water, and understanding of how the Ecofiltro actually works.
“We had Karen go and interview our clients to see what they thought of the product and the information she was able to get as a third part was invaluable - the new information on our market segment will help us market better to them as well as create more impact. Now we have a better focus for our marketing and sales strategy.”
Philip Wilson, CEO of Ecofiltro
On the logistics and production side, Jorge’s team followed Ecofiltro staff for almost a week timing and researching their movements to see where there were bottlenecks in the process as well as any updates to equipment that could be made. The team found that through simple equipment upgrades and re-oranzing of staff responsibilities, the company could increase their current production by switching their more artisanal methods to commercialized ones while still keeping the environmental footprint low while also increasing production capacity from 500 Ecofiltros o more than 1,000 Ecofiltros per day.
“Working with Jorge and his team has been an integral part in discovering how we can improve every aspect of our processes from flow of operations to getting our product to market. His study has helped us create more efficient systems both on the personnel side as well as production. This will be crucial to expanding our operations both in Guatemala and internationally.”
Philip Wilson, CEO of Ecofiltro
Both consultants will be continuing their work with Ecofiltro to implement their recommendations and findings which will allow Ecofiltro to build their production capacity for their next step into expanding further into Mexico and Central America. Thanks to the work of the consultants and the TA funds provided through Pomona Impact, Ecofiltro will be able to expand access to clean drinking water to thousands of families across the region.