EVEREADY should blame tech dynamism NOT China

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Eveready is closing shop. Yeah sure, by now we all know that. Some may choose to say they are only changing market strategy but call a spade one, its closure. What we are not clear on is the cause though. As expected, many versions go into the unfortunate turn by the ex-giant company with different market notions. Well, counterfeit is the reason Eveready is headed home at least they emphasis on that than any other.

Pyrethrum Board of Kenya, Sam-con limited, Flamingo bottlers, Kabazi canners and now Eveready. Nothing is wrong with Nakuru in case you might be thinking geographical location is deal breaker here. All the different companies where fit for the location or the location was fit for them when they all began as much as the withdrawal from market leaves the town a shutter. I agree, this feels a great loss for both occupants and governing bodies in the town.

We are talking 1800’s since its foundation and 1967 since its establishment in Kenya, Nakuru. Pretty much part of a majority of people while growing up and they all agree this was a high-end product, it was even recyclable, literally put it under the sun for a day and there you were, a bright beam for your torch. Until they felt soggy, your batteries were still usable.

Every battery was ‘Eveready’ no matter the type quite familiar though, like all toothpastes were termed ‘Colgate’ and all washing powders called ‘Omo’ they all felt like Kenya grown products right? The American Eveready Battery Company affiliate now leaves a big gap in the society, not to mention a mass of jobless men and women.

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Kenya’s Anti-counterfeit Agency has pointed out products most affected by counterfeit in the country; medicinal drugs, electronics, CDs and pirated software, mobile phones, alcoholic drinks and farm inputs. Many businesses in the country now depend on counterfeit goods. Business owners say they sell better and fast for that matter.

Early last year, a campaign dubbed “fagia Bandia” was launched to do away with the products which I am not sure is still on… I bet not since we still continue to have more and more counterfeit products in our markets. The reason as to why Kenya may seem a fertile platform for counterfeits maybe the forces and Authority bodies which don’t do much or rather as expected to keep off the goods from entering the market. Considering how much Kenya’s investment profile is still distressed with reputational risk, this seems like a losing battle.

I walked into a shop the other day, asked for batteries; I needed some for my remote, which I don’t remember the last time I had bought, so i had not specified the size yet. The keeper could not wait to tell me how much a waste of my resources it would be purchasing a pair of batteries and instead the same amount of money could get me a nice re-chargeable torch. He made a lot of sense though, why would I buy them. When was the last time you went out to purchase a pair of batteries? You probably don’t even own a torch. If you do, it must be a chargeable one, just plug into a socket and have it some energy.

Remote batteries take forever before they call quits. Unless you misplace one piece since your five year old broke or lost the back cover of the remote. Point noted; battery torches are a thing of the past, electricity is now cheaper than ever and better still, easily accessible than before. Solar systems, generators, and other similar products have replaced the torches and forms of lighting that used batteries. Camera’s that also used batteries have been replaced with high resolution phone cameras (only a few professional ones depend on them).

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Today, my brother from Nyandarua will walk into a phone shop in search of specific specs just like we (the urban) all do. In this case something is different, priority. I will walk into a Samsung or even Techno shop in search of a certain operating system running in a certain device him on the other side, will walk into a shop and ask for a device that has all his preferences and a torch. Yes, a torch. He wakes up early morning to milk and the torch comes in handy. Portable, convenient, comfort in use and many other benefits he will gain from the feature.

This just explains it all, times have changed and we can’t help the fact that technology ‘saved’ us all from the traditional way of life. Same product use only different way. Cheap imports have changed everything for all. The low income earners are also in a position to eradicate the traditional methods used before since shops have products that are ‘pocket friendly’ and up to date.

Let us back peddle for a bit, this time round on communication. Posta was the place to check if you needed to pass information or rather receive information, addresses where shared to ensure efficient information flow, we had to do what we had to do to keep it going. When email use checked in Posta run out of business. Companies like KPLC however decided to stick by them and the only thing you would be caught doing at a postal centre was getting your bill. Recently, they have chosen to sort bills through personal devices.

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Tech-dynamism it is! The companies now have presence predicament, they should have innovated change to deliver something different for today’s consumer who has come a long way.


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