Boosting Efficiency and Designing for Resilience

Lukas and Jojo didn’t just observe the processes, they jumped in to get a hands on review of how it all worked!

As a leader in container-based sanitation, SOIL is always looking for ways to optimize our process and take the work we do to the next level. SOIL’s research team has been working on a human-centered design project that takes a step back to evaluate the efficiency of every step of the sanitation service chain. To do this, SOIL recently teamed up with Swiss design business KreativKonsum and composting toilet business Kompotoi. They came to visit us in Cap-Haïtien in February where they looked at everything from SOIL’s equipment and tools, to our bonzodè production processes, to EkoLakay collection, to the emptying of full containers of waste from the sanitation service. If that wasn’t enough, they followed the teams as they sanitized containers, sieved compost, and closely studied the toilet and urine diverter design itself.  

As SOIL works towards providing more families with lifesaving sanitation, every boost to our efficiency, productivity, and the well-being and health of our team is critical. Read on to learn about some of their findings:  

Lukas  Baumgartner (KreativKonsum) and Jojo  Linder (Kompotoi) spent a week with the SOIL team in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti following operations to evaluate all of our processes and equipment. Beyond following along through the entire process that makes up SOIL’s circular economy sanitation solution, the consultants met with key members of the team, like SOIL’s Senior Manager, Romel, and Operations Director, Djimitri, to discuss current issues that we are facing and possible opportunities for improvement. Lukas and Jojo shared with us that they were quite impressed with SOIL’s current composting toilet design and the way SOIL’s teams have adapted resilient systems to work in a challenging context.  

Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference

One of SOIL’s goals for this project is to ensure we are providing our teams with the best tools possible to help them complete some of the more labor-intensive elements of the sanitation service chain. It’s not only important to invest in now, but ensuring all processes run as smooth as possible will be even more important as we expand the reach of our service in the coming years. During their visit, Lukas and Jojo helped identify several small adjustments that SOIL could make to our current process that could do just that.  

One suggestion they made was reducing movement of full containers for dumping at our waste treatment facility. By bringing the containers directly to bins for dumping directly from the truck, and extending the stand service where SOIL staff then dump the containers, an entire step of the process at the compost site could be eliminated! The team also noticed that while our carbon cover material production process works pretty well, there are ways to adjust the tools we use to increase the gains and improve consistency.

Moving Forward

Lukas and Jojo will share a project plan with the SOIL research team that will include two parts: one that includes process and equipment design improvements to enable SOIL to grow to reach 3,000 families with modest changes to our current systems. The other would be to help SOIL reach 8,000 families with safely-managed sanitation services and include longer-term changes that will require more time for analysis and implementation.  

The SOIL research team is already beginning to test out some of the new ideas and prototypes to share insights and data when our partners from KreativKonsum return to Haiti for a follow-up visit in May! We’re looking forward to tracking the progress and sharing updates on how everything works out this summer. Keep your eye on the blog for exciting updates!  

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