Supermarket chain Tuskys has confirmed its operations readiness to comply with the curfew order commencing Friday evening.
Following the National Security Council sanctioning and issuance of the Public Order Number 1 on the Coronavirus Pandemic, the retailer, has made significant adjustments to its staffing, logistics and supply chain operations to facilitate the smooth running of Tuskys Supermarkets across the country.
According to Tusker Mattresses Group CEO Dan Githua, the firm has adjusted its staffing, supply and restocking schedules for essential products such as milk, bread and vegetables among other perishables that are typically delivered in the wee hours of the morning.
All the firm’s retail outlets will close at 6 pm and open at 7 am but will continue processing orders placed on its alternative channels round the clock.
While paying tribute to the firm’s suppliers and staff, Githua said many of the suppliers had graciously made critical adjustments which will allow the retailer to comply with the curfew requirements easily.
As part of the adjustments, the firm has activated its sales platforms across three alternative channels alongside its physical stores.
Tuskys retails services are now available on Glovo, Sendy Home Deliveries and the firm’s online retail portal with orders placed on either of the platforms before 6 pm set to be delivered the same day while orders received after 6 pm will be delivered the next day.
Tuskys customers, he reiterated have also overwhelmingly embraced the retailers home deliveries shopping option which is now available in 16 branches in Nairobi, Eldoret, Nakuru, Mombasa, Thika, Athi River and Kisumu.
Customers have been placing orders ranging from ready to eat foods, dry rations, bottled water, and pet food.
Orders placed on the WhatsApp and SMS options offered by the retailer Githua said had increased by more than 600%, and basket value had also increased and now stands at an average rate of Ksh7,200 as customers stock up on essential items.
“Across our Tuskys network, we have developed localized operating procedures to be applied during the curfew period as an adjustment to our COVID-19 retail operations contingency plan,” Githua said, adding that, “These procedures provide the necessary safeguards and convenience for all our stakeholders including staff, suppliers and customers.”
Last week, Tuskys stepped up their COVID-19 Retail interventions with the launch of a “Kibanda Menu”. In a collaborative effort with UBER EATS, the Tuskys Kibanda Menu service is available for home deliveries and is on offer instore at selected branches.
Tuskys has also rolled out a pilot project to facilitate home deliveries using security vetted foot soldiers. The pilot project will see Tusker Mattresses retain more than 200-foot soldiers who will act as commission sales agents within specific localities.
“Our customers have been providing great insights on touchpoints we can use to ease the existing COVID-19 challenges in relation to retail services, and we are actively responding,” Githua said, adding that: “At Tuskys, we have deepened our efforts to develop the home deliveries solution which will now be serviced by commission agents complemented by Sendy, our logistics solutions provider.”
With the service expansion, Sendy, the logistics solution provider for Tuskys has also more than doubled its motorbike delivery workforce with more than 300 riders now dedicated to supporting the retail programme.
“At Tuskys, we are sparing no effort to provide practical interventions as part of our commitment to ease the social challenges arising from the COVID-19 threat,” Githua said, adding that, “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary responses and use of never-used options such as the WhatsApp platform which we are using for the first time.”
At the same time, the Tuskys Team Leader has opted to take a 20% pay cut effective this month for a sixth month period as part of a cost-cutting measure. In a letter to the Tusker Mattresses Group Board, Githua said he had opted to lead from the front in cost management.
The business community, he noted, is facing lean times occasioned by business uncertainty which will require internal cost management considerations.
“Conscious of the times ahead, we have suspended all non-business critical expenditure even as we look forward to interventions placed by the government to cushion the business community. I urge all of us (business and individuals) to take a hard look at their expenditures and cut out all unnecessary expenses,” Githua explained.
To facilitate smooth operations, Tusker Mattresses has adopted a COVID-19 Contingency plan and is partnering with AMREF Health in Africa Kenya and AAR Health to provide public health support across its operating locations.
The retailer is also working with local logistics solutions provider, Sendy to deliver shopping orders placed by Tuskys customers at any of the nine selected branches in Nairobi.
Naivas has also announced that its town stores will close at 5:30 pm, neighbourhood stores at 6:00 pm while all stores will open at 7:30 am.
It’s Westlands branch will remain open 24 hours to serve essential service providers.
Why are the Supermarkets Closing?
It is not immediately clear why the supermarkets are choosing to fall in line with the curfew order considering that the government has listed retail chains as an essential service provider in its curfew order.
However, a plausible explanation would be the company is keen on protecting its employees who might fall prey to overzealous police during quarantine hours.