Innovation in last mile distribution

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Innovation is key to enabling last mile distributors (LMDs) to grow, adapt and achieve greater impact for last mile consumers. This could be through piloting the use of a new technology or trialling an unconventional partnership; or adopting and applying an existing idea from another sector or geography.

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Embedding innovation in LMDs’ DNA

Innovation is particularly important for LMDs because it helps them to capitalise on new markets, attract the attention of prospective investors, quickly adapt to external shocks (eg. COVID-19), and continually improve their offering in order to add value for their customers. While costs can prohibit LMDs from innovating, innovation doesn’t have to be expensive; it can happen at small scale and pay itself back, if done well. Our webinar and downloadable poster help LMDs to more meaningfully cultivate innovation in their organisations.

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Building resilience through innovation 

Last mile distributors’ (LMDs) ability to pivot and adapt has been crucial to their survival in the face of Covid-19 – and will be important to help distributors weather any future shocks, too.

Photo credit: Zonful Energy
Photo credit: Bopinc

Incremental innovation and COVID-19 

Distributors faced the same challenges, albeit more acutely, during the pandemic as they did before – namely, how to maximise sales efficiency, enable consumer affordability and access finance. This blog explores the incremental rather than radical innovations that LMDs adopted in response to COVID-19; which set them up to bounce back robustly, and shift quickly into recovery mode.

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Adapting key business areas 

COVID-19 also drove distributors to consider and prioritise particular business areas in a new or different way. This practical guide for LMDs explores the challenges, innovations and potential solutions identified by a group of 23 distributors as priorities for post-COVID-19 business activities in four areas: smart use of working capital, MNC and e-commerce partnerships, digitising customer relations and remote field team management.

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GDC Innovation Challenge 

Our Innovation Challenge offers GDC members and their partners the opportunity to bring exciting ideas to life. Voted for by GDC members, the winning teams receive grant funding and support from GDC innovation experts. Learnings and outputs are shared across the GDC membership and wider ecosystem, helping to also develop the sector at large.

 

This project was funded with UK aid from the UK government, via the Transforming Energy Access programme.

Read more about innovation:

Turning crisis into opportunity for last mile distributors

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Turning crisis into opportunity for last mile distributors

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Embedding innovation in your organisation's DNA

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Building resilience: Field staff engagement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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Financing innovations to support last mile distributors

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How last mile distributors have responded to COVID-19 with ‘Incremental Innovation’

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Biogas to billions

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