The name always inspires a little chuckle at first if you know. Hwindi is a formidable player in the ride hailing and courier delivery business in Zimbabwe. I caught up with Patrick Manyangadze to delve into understanding Hwindi and it’s success secrets. They’ve come a very long way since 2015 when they started operating though they only went live to the public in 2018. This is a testament to their dedication to getting the product right before bringing it to market. Definitely one of their strengths.
Inspired by success
Seeing the trend in developed for such similar solutions Manyangadze was inspired to create a similar solution for Zimbabwe. With over 10000 registered customers to date I’d say the inspiration has paid off. Their philosophy is they bring STAERA – Safety Technology Affordability Efficiency Reliability and Accountability. This is not just an acronym of buzz words but it is a philosophy that is evident in the way they work.
Hwindi manages the cars and drivers
Their approach to safety and accountability is evident in the decision to manage cars and drivers. On the Hwindi platform they have taken to hire cars and fully manage the cars to assure, among other things, a homogeneity of service between cars. In addition to this they have chosen to pick their drivers and all drivers are inspected and put on a breathalyzer before a shift starts.
Businesss is never easy and Hwindi is no exception. According to Manyangadze the early days of the platform they had decided to allow drivers to bring their own cars but after getting a feel from the market they decided to abandon this model as they could not guarantee the quality of service customers would get. In addition they introduced a call center to give customers a further personal feel to the organization. adopting technology is good business, understanding your customer and their context is great business. The call center was enabled to deal with customer challenges with getting online at times – a very important consideration in the Zimbabwean context.
The business has faced many challenges. Like any Zimbabwean business I guess. The foreign currency shortages have not spared them as the business makes use of many services that require international payments. There are many services integrated into the application system. Some you may know such as google maps and Twilio messaging but there’s so much more to making an application like theirs work. So while everyone in Zimbabwe can surely site foreign currency shortages as a problem the degree and extent this business is affected is in some cases greater because of a lack of local substitutes.
Fuel shortages cannot be ignored in the transport and logistics field. A problem that is idiosyncratic to their business is that of regulation or a lack thereof. There is no regulation that covers the business entirely and this has lead to problems in their operations. This lack of understanding leads to being delayed or arrested by the police according to Patrick. This of course presents a problem in a customer facing business.
I asked Patrick if he had any advice for those who were inspired by Hwindi and he had this to say;
If you are copying a proven model do tailor make it for our community. It is also wise for those employing technology to avoid foreign currency dependent intergrations as much as possible.