How can I summarize this first work day at Live Well, Lusaka (Zambia)? AMAZING…. Yes, it might be the good word! The best induction day ever maybe?! We started directly our first day by attending the weekly staff meeting. We brought some chocolates and biscuits from home to share. People were so lovely, always with a great smile on the face, and so welcoming. We did a quick introduction around the table and then we got the chance to assist directly to the sales review & action plan: everyone shared the status of its products sales and then the procurement guy detailed the suppliers conditions and stock management situation. And I really think I could help and bring my experience in stockout management as they seem having difficulties having visibility in forecasting and planning restocking. Then, we got a brief introduction to Live Well history and objectives. After, we went through the facilities, offices and we also visited what they call “warehouse”… we should rather call it a store room as it is not to be compared to a manufacture warehouse. See picture 1
Afternoon, we did a field visit with other GSK colleagues from South African site in Johannesburg and Live Well team… ! This is the best way to start such an assignment: having directly a Gemba activity (= go for a site visit to observe directly what happens!)! We drove through Lusaka to the other side of the city reaching out the rural areas… I must admit that the contrast was really strong and quite hard emotionally. We arrived in a very poor area with rustic hand-made kind of “homes” if we can call it this way, no electricty, no access to water and so many kids around… We were surrended by huge group of children. And at the back, the Live Well team set up a tent with pharmaceutical products for sale (see picture). This moment was hard but paradoxally magic: it was hard to see such level of poverty, all these kids without shoes wearing dirty clothes full of dust, also, the smell of urine was omnipresent… but on the other side, all this massive group was here with such smiling faces… They were so happy to see us, sharing some words and trying to exchange some funny gesture with the kids: this is so magic to feel for seconds of exchange a kind of joy of living, despite these poor living conditions. I am grateful for such field visit because now, I really understand how our GSK products reach out the final customers: the local people are here, they need us, they need to understand how their health can be improved!! We just need to find the best way to make them understand the importance of taking care of everyone’s health. I was impressed by the way Live Well did it: some Live Well representatives played a comedy kind of show in front of all kids and parents. Zambian people like having fun and laughing. So, the best way to reach them is to play some parody. As an example, 2 members of Live Well played the role of a couple in a funny way. They shared with joy to the local community that they could not kiss anymore over the last 5 years because of the horrible smell in their mouth… and thanks to Aquafresh toothpaste, they were now able to kiss again! All kids around were laughing so much… What a nice way to explain to local zambians the importance of having good sanitary habits for their own life?