Analysis: PATSON PHIRI
THE economic, political and cultural environments are always evolving around the chemistry of demography.That change alters the money market and the position of companies from micro lenses. This is the part of change that affects the life cycle of corporates from so many angles.
Thus, I am today attracted to capitulate the defects at micro level of companies such as Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) in an environment where change is the main driver of the future.
To bring this subject to level, I want to illuminate how strategic plans moderate the effects of change. In change management, the only thing that is static is change. Everything else is dynamic with attendant challenges to corporates.
There are times when changes in the market are driven by the political, culture and even changes within the demography as market appreciation responds to various stimuli.
To ward through these economic trajectories, organisations turn to value-creating strategies that experts have chosen to call Strategic Plans.
This is what LWSC launched a few months ago and I choose to write about it today as I speak change and the influence of strategic plan in that field.
Before I set foot in the detail, let me attempt to define the Strategic Plan and I am hoping the readers will make sense out of this.
There is considerable confusion in management literature regarding the various terms used in strategic management as they relate to strategic plans.
By approximation, a Strategic Plan is a chain of actions designed to achieve a particular goal, such as competitive advantage for an organisation like LWSC.
It lays on the table various tools that should be implemented periodically over a known period of time to achieve a set of agreed objectives. It responds to the question around what the company seeks to become within a particular time-frame.
To attain that situation, a series of actions referred to as tactics are put together and implemented by various departments so that wholesomely, the corporate targets are attained.
It is a matrix of corporate activities that employs change management to seek the corporate bait ahead.
And so, in the Strategic Plan for LWSC (2018-2022), customers have been given a set of priorities should the company’s departments or management as whole implement the Strategic Plan with distinction.
Among the targets is the desire to achieve 100 per cent metering ratio which is a requirement under the guidelines of the National Water and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) for water utilities.
Like I stated in my opening lines, LWSC has a strategic plan that contains what it wants to become by 2022 and these targets seek to meet customer needs from various aspects.
To meet its corporate objectives in the area of access to water, LWSC has incrementally set targets of adding water supply hours to the current 20 hours per day on average to 21 next year and then 22 hours in 2020 until the target of 24 hours daily supply is attained by 2022.
This objective borrows keenly from the 2010 United Nations Resolution that has up-scaled the relevance of access to water by declaring it as a Human Right.
At the same time, there is a target to connect at least 38,000 new accounts by 2022 as part of its expansion drive by broken down to 10,000 in each year of 2018 and 2019 and 8000 new accounts in 2020. In the years 2021 and 2022, about 5000 new accounts in each year have been targeted for opening.
There is also a plan to expand network connectivity to meet demand for the growing population.
Added to that, LWSC desires to rekindle perception through various activities such as opening a call-centre, improving general service delivery and upgrade its performance in the customer service level guarantee.
So this is a rare Strategic Plan which lays all its energy-service-mix on its customers and potential customers.
It is a pride of customers while employees have retained the only remaining duty of implementation.
To achieve these milestones, a budget of K2.9 billion will be required within its five-year life span.
LWSC can pretend no more. The population is growing while the impact of its current water production and supply is fast shrinking.
Therefore, heavy investment in production, network expansion and increasing hours of supply cannot no longer stand as a choice. It is a must as dictated by the new Strategic Plan.
The author is marketing and public relations manager for LWSC.