Friday, July 9, 2010

Lead SKEPL installer, Vikram Parmar, understands the dairy business inside out. As the son of dairy farmers, Vikram grew up in the business and now has two buffalo of his own. His mother milks the buffalo during the day and he delivers the milk after work in the evening. Vikram knew the job at SKEPL was right for him because he is able to work with people in the field, utilize his training in accounting and apply his background in dairy farming. Over his six-year tenure at the company, Vikram has become the de facto automated milk collection system installer and resource for milk societies, plants and unions. Widely respected in the dairy sector, Vikram meets with clients throughout Gujarat and is often invited to attend important milk society events as an honorary guest.

When we rolled out the customer satisfaction and progress out of poverty survey pilot two weeks ago, Vikram was brought in to handle the translation work. As I watched him explain the survey process to the first two respondents and actively engage the society employees, it became obvious to me that he was the natural person to champion the survey in the future. I was also touched by the many invitations I received from the society employees to visit their villages and by their interest in my role in the process. One person very directly suggested that since I’m in India I should learn the local language. I agree wholeheartedly with him and am embarrassed by my linguistic shortcoming. Following his suggestion I’ve picked up a few phrases and, to the amusement of the team, have attempted to use them on occasion.

Vikram is pictured here on the right, discussing the survey with the first two farmers to complete the survey.

It’s been an otherwise busy week at SKEPL headquarters. Following the meeting with Harold Rosen we’ve started developing a plan for the reconnaissance trip to Africa and launched a thorough review of all marketing materials in order to identify what additional collateral will be needed for new markets. In an effort to identify new revenue streams for milk cooperatives we started discussions with Sarvajal, a company based in Gujarat that aims to increase the accessibility of clean drinking water to low-income people. The office construction is completed and we’re all eager to move into the beautiful new space on Tuesday, an auspicious day, after the ceremonial pooja.

- Lauren

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