NEWS How we grew from sachet to bottled water – Watermax
Asachet water company in Yola, Watermax, has stunned competitors after progressing to large scale bottled water production within three years.
At the beginning in 2016, the company faced business challenges ranging from access to capital to packaging materials, yet the management evolved new strategies that kept them going until they eventually weathered the storm.
The Managing Director of Watermax, Abubakar Rufai, said the company started with 1,000 bags of sachet (pure) water per day and that within a short time upped its production to 10,000 bags before introducing bottled water.
Rufai noted that despite the financial constraint and lack of knowledge of the market, the quality of the product led to high demand. It then increased from 1,000 to 5,000 and then 10,000 bags daily in two years. By 2019, it started making bottled water.
To sustain funding, he said: “We implemented a marketing strategy by constructing our depots. Buyers pay cash; we don’t sell on credit because we are sure of our products; we are sure of the quality.”
They however needed more storage. “There were times that the packaging materials were off the market and that was when dollar exchange rose to above N300. Our suppliers imported raw materials to produce the bags.”
Rufai said despite the effects of recession and COVID-19, the firm maintained its products’ quality and prices.
“The last economic recession and COVID-19 actually affected us because the cost of raw materials rose and we were afraid of increasing prices. Most of our competitors reduced their quality and quantity or increased prices. We decided to maintain high quality.”
Watermax managed to settle electricity bills, taxes, salaries and made some profit, noting that the philosophy behind the company was job creation.