Creating a product or developing a service is one challenge, distributing it is another. Which is why companies end up looking for strategic alliances to move their inventory.
One recent example of this has been the tie up explored by Powertel, a state-owned internet access provider. The ZESA Holdings subsidiary will now be distributing its products at selected Zimpost outlets throughout the country.
Zimpost is the state-owned corporate entity that owns and manages Zimbabwe’s postal network which includes all the post offices in the country.
For Powertel, the benefits are fairly obvious. By pairing itself with its State-owned cousin Zimpost, it registers with a visible distribution platform that places it in all of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces. The relationship between Powertel’s internet service provision and Zimpost’s mandate to promote inclusivity in all things related to communication is also on the surface.
Like every other internet provider, Powertel has been trying to develop a greater visibility and this also requires that its products and services be easily accessible. Post Offices are planted in various communities which means selling all things Powertel from them helps achieve this ambition for visibility.
For Zimpost, this does, however, provide further affirmations that it possesses an intrinsic value as a well placed national distribution network.
Just last month Zimpost was officially launching an agent banking relationship with Steward Bank, a financial institution owned by Econet Wireless that has expanded its presence through mobile money agents.
This arrangement isn’t exclusive and Zimpost’s Managing Director Dr Zimbango highlighted that Zimpost has always entertained tie-ups with service providers that offer service lines which tie in with the Zimpost mandate.
Rather than just accepting one arrangement here and there, perhaps Zimpost should craft more partnerships that also benefit it financially. At the end of the day, Zimpost does want to register profits. If this means collaborating with partners like Powertel to create downstream services and product lines, then it could mean more than just renting out it’s facilities.