Recently, I got talking with a friend from work. We were chatting about random things occurring since the pandemic. We had a little laugh, here and there, but at some point, she kept hissing in between our chats. So I asked what the problem was. Following some persuasion, she told me about a small cooperative she joined some time ago, which seemed great being that cooperatives help people achieve their goals such as housing, food, transports and other areas.
But she had her reservations anyway.
She told me that some of their funds were missing because at their last meeting the account wasn’t properly documented.
So I asked how their data is usually documented, she said
“We have people who oversee the administrative operations manually.”
It is hard to believe sometimes that even cooperatives who serve a large number of members still struggle to manage their administrative tasks manually. They use rudimentary paper-based tools to manage daily data and processes, such as;
- Documenting members’ profiles
- Savings and loans information
- Input sales
- Output purchases
Without being told, this slows down their work pace, gives room for inaccuracies and inefficiencies. Humans are bound to make errors, and that’s what is happening in some cases.
However, if a cooperative is well-managed, it can be a lifetime fortune changer
It is important to ask how your co-operative can improve their processes and achieve common goals.
Here are some ways :
1. AUTOMATING YOUR COOPERATIVE PROCESSES
Automating major cooperative admin processes like
- Reports generation
- Loan management
Can make them all-too-easy.
A huge drawback associated with manual processing in your cooperative is the possibility of errors. Humans tend to make errors; especially when there are huge volumes involved, which could mean, large data.
With automation service provided by Africa Prudential, you will have time to focus on important issues, such as marketing, loan repayment and sales.
Also with Chatbots, you can take care of some recurring questions and inquiries by members, and customers, thereby reducing work hour/day and human labour.
2. CREATE SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES FOR YOUR COOPERATIVES
Social media is a digital revolution and trend every business should stay on top of. Like other business entities, Social media can help cooperatives build their brand. It empowers you to go beyond corporate messages and communicate specific and everyday activities directly to customers, members, staff and the wider public.
Co-operatives may want to use social media as a means of getting closer to members.
In smaller cooperatives, such tools enable members to talk and collaborate on a regular basis.
For example, your cooperatives can use WhatsApp to communicate new developments, make some democratic decisions effectively, especially when people are in different locations. In larger cooperatives where direct engagement is often limited, social media offers a new opportunity to aid easier cooperative management.
3. EXPLORE DIGITAL CHANNELS FOR YOUR COOPERATIVE
Easy-to-use applications and websites are a great way for your co-operative to respond to customers’ need for easy access to accounts and transactions.
While the development of mobile platforms may be most obvious for financial cooperatives, it is impacting agricultural cooperatives too.
It can also enable farmers, and other business owners in your cooperatives to connect, run simple operations such as checking the price of a stock, to managing data about livestock, plots and finance on the business.
EasyCoop is a platform widely used by cooperatives to easily manage :
- Report generation
This same solution has equally been adopted by the Nigerian Police Force to accommodate about 300,000 members across 36 states to improve the cooperative.
With these digital solutions, members can fill out forms on any mobile device, and the data can be shared in real-time.
No more delays, No more paperwork
4. DIGITAL TRAINING
One of the reasons some cooperatives continue to use paper-based data management systems includes a lack of awareness of existing digital solutions, incapacity to use technology, and digital illiteracy, hence, the need to train staff and members of the cooperative.
In this situation, professionals like Africa Prudential can provide your cooperative with
- System set-up and
- guiding the whole process of migrating data into digital platforms.
“Technology is important in improving the future of your co-operative business “
EasyCoop is now providing free assessments to all co-operatives and making superior recommendations needed to achieve common goals.
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