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Small and Medium Manufacturing Enterprises (SMMEs) readiness to enter the modern market is often assessed using good manufacturing practice and assurance systems standard manuals. 

"For Saru Organics, having a proper and approved manufacturing process is a core function to our success," says Mkamboi Mwakale. Mkamboi is the C.E.O and founder of Saru Organics, a manufacturer of organic beauty care products; located in the Ruiru area, Nairobi, Kenya. Saru uses raw organic materials to manufacture various transformative haircare products. These raw materials are sourced from local suppliers and farmers. Mkamboi’s dream for Saru Organics is to scale up the company and move its products from the niche flea markets to mass markets such as the major supermarkets, shelves of popular beauty shops within Nairobi city, and eventually into other markets in East Africa. 

Saru Organics has had its whirlwind of challenges in its manufacturing processes. According to Mkamboi, some of the challenges they faced were transparency and traceability of the raw materials used in production, storage of these raw materials, and quality of the final product. These challenges increasingly affect start-ups within the industry and can lead to the promising enterprise being perceived as unreliable and inconsistent in the market. Research shows that good manufacturing compliance challenges facing SMMEs increase production and non-compliance costs, especially as a result of failing to apply standard and recommended processes. Good Manufacturing Practices cut inefficiencies for SMMEs; such as lower production costs, and enhance their reputation with partners and customers. In the global economy, businesses must adopt more sustainable and ethical practices like good manufacturing to remain profitable in the longer term.

Mkamboi enrolled in the Invest in Africa’s (IIA) “Upscaling of manufacturing SMEs in natural products clusters” program. The program is an initiative by IIA in partnership with GIZ through their business scouts for development program aimed at upscaling manufacturing SMEs in Kenya and Uganda. The value delivered to the participating SMMEs includes capacity building in areas such as Good Manufacturing Practices, transparency, and traceability, access to finance, access markets, and new product development. 

Through this program, Mkamboi and her team at Saru Organics developed a good manufacturing practices checklist. They created a chart that indicates the flow of production, from the raw material supply to the final product. According to Mkamboi, they were able to streamline their manufacturing process and track their supply chain. They were also able to eliminate some of the production challenges they were facing, especially those curtailing the production of efficient products that can be more attractive in the market. They have also enhanced their system production with documented proof that correct procedures are followed at each step in the manufacturing process. 

With top-notch quality products; Saru Organics has upscaled immensely; recently signing deals with distribution brands such as True cosmetics, one of the biggest cosmetic brands in Kenya, and Sendy marketplace, which has cohorts of up to 2500 minimarts across the country. The IIA’s “Upscaling manufacturing SMEs in Natural products clusters” program has supported Mukamboi’s company in implementing an improved manufacturing process that yields better-quality products. In her partying shot, Mkamboi urges SMMEs to "never give up" and to join such programs that aim to promote their businesses, “to the other cohorts joining the program, never give up; something about the market is that it follows the value; the money follows value so keep adding value to your products and the market and money will follow you”, she adds.