Kevin Mutinda, the head of logistics at Jumia Kenya, has the arduous task of making sure products ordered on the platform get to the customer in good condition and on time
Alfayo Onyango @PeopleDailyKe
Ever wondered how you are able to buy a product online and have it delivered at your doorstep in a few hours? For buyers the process is as simple as going on line and putting things in the virtual cart and making the choice of how to pay for it. At the backend there is always someone whose job is to ensure that the product is delivered to you on time and in pristine quality.
At Jumia Online Shop Kenya, this person is Kevin Mutinda. Staring at his computer, Mutinda, who is head of logistics at Jumia Kenya, coordinates millions of transactions, which make it possible for people to order and get the right products, at the right quantities, in the right location and at the right time.
It is his job to ensure there are as few losses as possible and the customer is happy at the end of the day. “You see, a happy customer is good business,” he says.
As one of the leading online retailer whose mission is to become the one-stop shop for retail in the country, both online and offline, the pressure on Mutinda’s back is palpable.
To his credit, the company has grown from making deliveries that could take up to one week, but he is now able to ensure that some products are delivered on the same day.
He coordinates all these with about 1,000 people in the value chain, including a 150-man strong customer service team, several warehouses and hundreds of vendors countrywide.
But he had to learn through the ropes to get where he is. The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology alumni studied Mathematics and Statistics before getting a job as a Warehouse Assistant at Deacons Kenya. This was not in vain since this training enabled him to be employed by Jumia Kenya where he started off as Warehouse Operator.
He then got promoted to the position of Hubs Manager, and then Regional Manager before heading the logistics team. He says the online app, which enables people to trade, buy and make money from the comfort of a phone or computer, has made life easier. The manner Jumia transforms life through the Internet is what motivates him to keep improving.
“At one point, we were growing so fast that it was vital we review our logistics strategy. I decided that the best way forward was to partner with courier companies. By taking this partnership forward, we have now created a vibrant logistics marketplace and community. Leveraging on partner capabilities has really helped us perform,’’ says Mutinda.
Having joined Jumia in 2015, he has played a huge role in enabling spur the online retailer’s growth and to his credit the number of vendors on their platform increased to 7,000 from 2,000 in 2015.
The product range also increased from 50,000 in 2015 to one million products in the inventory due to his team’s efficiency while online footprints increased from only 500 in 2015 to 10 million. Most of these were captured during the retailer’s mega sales, Black Friday.
The counter now hits between three and four million visits on a good day, making it among the major retailers in the region. “We have tried so many things since the inception of the company, many have failed, while others have succeeded. The goal is to keep consistent, always have a plan B, and have a desire to constantly improve,’’ Mutinda says.
Tirelessly getting his hands dirty even at such a high-ranking and delicate position at the company, he is a true team player. Mutinda is currently busy getting new partners, outsourcing vendors, reaffirming partners and clientele, projecting, and planning to slay the huge Black Friday Festival where he leverages on crazy discounts and hidden rewards to attract customers to the Jumia website for sales.
He says the Black Friday festival, a concept borrowed from the US, has become an annual fete where he must prove his mettle. It has since gained popularity and transformed from a one-day event to a monthly extravaganza, meaning Mutinda spends one month of sleepless nights dishing out deals and discounted offers sometimes worth as high as 80 per cent.
The statistics student says having the best team around you, learning from each lesson, an open growth-obsessed mindset, and constant improvement as the tricks to leading a successful career.