MUST, Maldeco in innovation development pact

MUST, Maldeco in innovation development pact

The Foods Company Limited (TFCL) trading as Maldeco Fisheries has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malawi University of Science of Technology (MUST) for skills transfer and work experience synergies.

Speaking during the signing ceremony on March 11, 2022 at the university’s campus in Thyolo, Maldeco General Manager Andrew Santhe said they turned to MUST to provide innovative and practical solutions to some operational efficiencies they face.

“First we invited the MUST team to visit Maldeco to familiarize themselves with the various challenges we face which included issues to do with very long manual sales processes, manual order taking from customers, inability to monitor remote operations like vessel fishing activities on the lake and security at the aquaculture cage operations on the lake, just to mention a few.”

“A team of IT students was sent a few days after who started to work on a sales processing solution. I am pleased to mention that a solution has already been identified by this team which is being used by the Maldeco Sales team in processing sales orders and dispatches, a process which was taking us four to five hours to finalize is now taking 45 minutes,” said Santhe.

The Maldeco GM said this was proof of the practical solutions that MUST was able to provide to address real challenges being faced in the industry.

“We look forward to the development of more solutions with your good University to assist in further improvement of our operational efficiencies, thereby enhancing our profitability. The signing of this MOU is therefore only the beginning of this fruitful journey we envision to travel together in bringing Maldeco back to its glorious days. And this is for the benefit of both our institutions,” added Santhe.

On her part, MUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Address Malata, hailed the partnership, saying such collaborations with external stakeholders offer a win-win situation to both parties.

“As academics, we mostly look at the skills and knowledge discovery but these are not an end in themselves. We need the industry to embrace the skills and knowledge for them to improve their value chain processes and systems for efficiency. On the other hand, the industry has knowledge of what is working out there and if we do not work together, we will be producing graduates with skills and knowledge that do not meet the needs of industry,” said Malata.

She observed that to contribute towards the realisation of the industrialisation pillar in the MW2063, Maldeco needs to analyse and assess its various systems and processes to identify areas that need improvement or upgrade for more efficiency that will result in more fish yields or supplies.

“This is where we are coming in. The few students we have sent out there, whether as interns or graduates, have earned praise for being innovative in identifying weak points in organisational production systems and processes where they have proposed and implemented innovative solutions. With this in mind, let me assure Maldeco that they could not have identified a better partner than MUST. We have a culture of technological innovation and entrepreneurship in whatever we do,” said Malata.