In 2019, Kenya Breweries Limited set out to solve a problem that had nagged them for some time. The refrigerators they had been supplying to bars, restaurants and other establishments had been causing them headaches.
The alcoholic beverages company had a hard time keeping track of the location of the fridges, some retailers would switch them off whenever they wanted and others would simply fail to stock them sufficiently.
Yet the fridges are an important part of Kenya Breweries Limited’s (KBL) business as they enable what beer makers call the perfect serve, which is achieved when the beer is at six degrees Celsius.
“Beer tastes better when it is served cold,” says Eunice Wangui, the Commercial Performance Analyst in Charge of Trade Assets at KBL.
The brewer linked up with Safaricom and after a series of meetings and tests, they launched Connected Coolers, a service which uses sensors to monitor the fridges, and the internet to relay that information in real-time to KBL.
At the launch, KBL’s Sales Manager, Andrew Kilonzo, was enthusiastic about the opportunity ahead, saying: This new technology is very exciting for us. It is opening up a new opportunity for us to liberate our investment in the market. So we invest to the customers by giving them the fridges. What we want to do is make sure that the utilization is optimal.”
Eunice Wangui is tasked with knowing everything about the 5,598 fridges that are on the Connected Coolers service, and so well are they connected that she can monitor and control everything at the click of a button.
About a year after Connected Coolers was launched, the Newsroom caught up with Eunice to find out how the service is doing and what KBL did when a number of bars and restaurants were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.