Last Mile Distribution
JITA’s operations are best described as an alternate rural distribution model that harnesses the ability of base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) rural women. The uniqueness of JITA lies with its focus on the rural consumers, who are generally forced to pay higher prices for basic products due to various gaps in the underdeveloped rural market system. JITA’s solution is to offer a multi-product basket via a strong “women inclusive” supply chain network. The basket is equipped with high-quality, authentic health, hygiene and nutrition based products that many rural households lack access to because of the gaps in the rural market system.
The JITA distribution system is comprised of the flagship model called “MOUKA” and the Non-Direct Sales Service (NDSS) model. JITA connects with corporate partners, who are mainly large-scale consumer goods manufacturers, to ensure last-mile distribution of health, hygiene and nutrition products. Even though most of these manufacturers have their own distribution system, there are many areas across rural parts of Bangladesh that they do not generally reach. This is where JITA gets to work through MOUKA; setting up ‘hubs’ that collect and store items for distribution in uncovered markets. JITA’s Market Development Officers take lead from there on – picking items from the hubs and delivering them to Aparajita women at predetermined locations called ‘MOUKA Points’. The Aparajita women purchase the goods to fill their basket at least once every week and then goes on to sell them within their community households.
Additionally through the NDSS model, JITA supplies products to rural retailers who are not part of the formal market system but cater to target consumers regularly. Such barebones outlets are heavily exposed to various localized goods manufacturers and suppliers, most of whom offer low-quality products. JITA’s regional staff work with such business-owners, hub managers and partner distributors in order to ensure that these non-formal stores get supplied with high quality, authentic essential health, hygiene and nutrition related goods.
JITA is constantly exploring new ways to solve the market linkage problem by pursuing innovative approaches. One such initiative is the piloting of the Bottola Centers (Bengali for “a place under the shade of a Banyan tree”), driven by the idea of establishing an area that serves as a one-stop retail, service and community meeting point. These Bottola Centers offer a convenient space where women meet and exchange entrepreneurial experiences and ideas, as well as engage in trade activities.