Asante Shoe Repairs
This is a hypothetical case. Ndege, Elinasi and Sinamacho set up a
shoe-repairing shop called Asante Shoe Repairs. Ndege and Elinasi were
physically impaired and Sinamacho was blind. Ndege had all the necessary skills
for shoe repairing, and he took on Elinasi and Sinamacho as apprentices. They
managed to get a loan from a bank to buy the necessary tools, leather, strings,
glue and other items, and they hired a shop.
For the first year things were going well. But suddenly, the
relations between them began to go sour. Ndege took all the decisions, and this
was sometimes resented by Elinasi and Sinamacho. But they did not complain
because they were apprentices. Elinasi used to repair women's shoes, but she
developed skills for designing shoes that could be useful to diversify the
business from simply repairing to making new shoes for women. But this required
further investment. Ndege would not listen.
Sinamacho, too, was getting frustrated. He would sometimes not
turn up for work at all. Business began to suffer. In the meantime, the price of
leather shot up. But they could not pass on the increased cost to the customers
for fear of losing them. On account of inflation, even the bank raised the
interest on their loan. Because of these changed circumstances, the profits of
Asante Shoe Repairs went down, and the three partners could not even draw their
Let us now analyse what happened. There are two important things
to notice about the story.
a) One is that Ndege was taking all the decisions. This was all
right as long as he was training the other two as apprentices. But as the two
acquired skills they felt they had something to contribute by way of making
b) The second is that circumstances changed. The price of leather
went up. So did the interest rate. On the other hand, Elinasi proved to be quite
a genius. Her designing potential came to the fore, and she had bright ideas on
how to diversify the business into designing as well as repairing.
What is the moral of the story? It is this, that even if all the
planning is done correctly, and a project put on the ground on a firm basis,
this does not ensure its success. You need to continuously MONITOR the progress,
or lack of progress, of the project. Why? Because things change. Things develop.
And they can develop both on the negative as well as on the positive side. You
have got to take into account the changed circumstances, and adapt accordingly:
take advantage of positive developments, and try to resolve problems that might
In the case of Asante Shoe Repairs, a weekly monitoring system
should have been set up right from the start. Had they done so, Ndege would
have realised that his partners were not going to remain "apprentices" forever.
Also, the reason for Sinamacho absenting himself from work would have been
analyzed, and Elinasi's ideas would have had a fair chance of being considered.
Also, they would have looked into the implications for business of the rise in
the price of the loan and the leather.
This is what we know as monitoring. You keep a periodic,
but continuous, watch over the progress and the changed circumstances of your
business (or project), and you make the necessary changes to accommodate the new