Undergraduate Blog / Defining Your Babson

Changing Products & Responsibility to past clients

Hey all– thanks for checking in and reading my updates on my work with Quetsol in Guatemala 🙂

As the title suggests, I would like to illustrate one of the issues Quetsol is having right now as it switches its business model from pay-to-own, to pay-as-you-go and optimizes its kit with new technology.

Old kit 1:

Quetsol kit 1

Quetsol currently has almost 4,000 clients that own Quetsol’s first edition products. As Quetsol is going to switch to more efficient solar energy products with upgraded components, a problems exists with service. One of the things I liked most when I heard about Quetsol was that the company offers a 3 year guarantee on its systems which is unheard of in sustainable development because the servicing can be very time costly and expensive (the communities are VERY remote.) However, as the company seeks to switch its products and is using its resources towards this project, there have been some shortages in repair supplies. Currently, Quetsol has run out of the cell phone charging adaptors– which is a key component– as well as batteries to change the smallest systems. Therefore, Quetsol is struggling to find the cash to make these orders as most of the resources are tied up in pushing forward with the Pay-As-You-Go business model.

This presents a very interesting situation as Quetsol has the responsibility to keep replacements in its inventory and service the old products, but this comes as a huge expense. Therefore, I believe the company should have been a little more forward-thinking and ordered more service/replacement parts at the time of ordering the kits. It’s frustrating because the actual cell phone adaptors don’t cost very much, however the shipping is a very high cost from China. These cell phone adaptors (~3$) can pay for themselves in a week as they nullify the cell phone charging costs that rural families would incur (~$.50/charge) without a power source of their own. Without this component, the systems become slightly obsolete as they have to pay for cell phone charges.