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With the pressure of a presidential initiative, USAID was looking to print, ship and deliver 2.5 million textbooks to the Ministry of Education in Tanzania in approximately 100 days. The project came as a part of its "Big Results Now in Education" program and the mission was to improve the overall quality of education in Tanzania's primary and secondary schools, with a focus on science and mathematics. USAID awarded the $5.4 million contract to StratComm in mid-August of 2014 and the countdown to delivery began...
2.5 million books? 100 Days? While other companies may have shied away from these daunting numbers, we were energized by the challenge. We assembled a team of highly skilled subcontractors including high quality paper suppliers, capable printers and credible shippers. Our brains were on Tanzania at all times of the day, preparing for any anomalies outside our carefully constructed plan. We prepared for errors with printing by hand checking the print supply, planned for any extreme heat the books would endure with moisture absorbing bags and quickly helped find a resolution when there was less delivery space in Dar es Salaam than USAID had expected. Our hardworking team woke up early and stayed up late to ensure that each part of the process went off without a hitch, directing all aspects of domestic and international logistics, including rail, truck and ship freight; port and customs clearance; all the way through to managing the trucking and inside delivery to warehouses in Tanzania.
With extreme attention to detail and years of experience handing complex logistic projects, our team was able to fulfill this requirement within 100 days from the date of award. The textbooks were printed, bound and shipped onboard four vessels to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, arriving during November and December 2014. On February 24, 2015 the President of the United Republic of Tanzania Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Mark B. Childress met at Mtajuka Secondary School to celebrate the delivery of 2.5 million secondary school textbooks to the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOEVT). Images from the historic event can be found on the USAID Tanzania Flickr. We think the contracting officer's comments speak to the quality and expertise of our team and we were honored to be a part of such an important service.
"I had the distinct pleasure of working with Bob and his team on a high-visibility procurement, one resulting from a 2013 presidential promise to provide the government of Tanzania with 2.5MM secondary math and science textbooks. The challenges of printing, binding and delivering an order on this scale halfway around the world to East Africa would be considerable for a large business; that StratComm, Inc., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, was able to not only meet but exceed USAID/Tanzania's demanding requirements on such a short time-frame, was nothing short of extraordinary - and a powerful testament to Bob's leadership and can-do attitude, as well as his team's thorough and uncompromising professionalism."
-Douglas Dye, USAID/Tanzania Contracting & Agreement Officer
In its Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPAR) from the U.S. government, StratComm earned "Exceptional" ratings in the key areas of Quality and Delivery Schedule.
On quality: "The quality of the science and math books exceeded the technical specifications requested ... and met a very tight timeframe for printing and delivery. StratComm provided USAID with frequent updates on the status of the printing and delivery schedule."
On schedule: "StratComm met the very short time frame, which required expedited printing and shipping. StratComm informed USAID of the schedule so that it could liaise and prepare the Ministry of Education to receive the books."
On management: "StratComm communicated well with the Government, by phone and very frequent email. Concerns and potential problems were identified early, communicated to USAID, and issues were resolved. StratComm recognized the urgency of getting books delivered on time."
Recommendation: "Given what I know today about the contractor's ability to perform in accordance with this contract or order's most significant requirements, I would recommend them for similar requirements in the future."