Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who owns CDI and how long have you been operating in the market?
CDI is an initiative of DFS Africa headquartered in London with offices in Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa. DFS Africa was establish in 2017 and we have been actively facilitating investments into local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products in Africa since our inception. DFS Africa equally connects projects and businesses in other key sectors of the African economy to the right financing sources globally. DFS Africa created the Connecting the Dots Initiative (CDI) to ease the supply chain and procurement challenges for COVID-19 essential products.
Who are your customers?
CDI has two customers –buyers and suppliers.
Our buyers include National Governments across Africa, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Donor institutions, Healthcare institutions and Private sector companies at the forefront of distributing PPEs, Testing kits, Pharmaceuticals products and Medical equipmentsEquipments.
95% of our products are manufactured by African manufacturers while the remaining 5% of our products come from international manufacturers or distributors supplying medical devices and laboratory consumables, we are unable to source in Africa.
What is the cost of signing up with CDI?
There is no cost. We have no membership or subscription fees, and we do not add any mark-up to orders. We earn a modest commission from suppliers to cover our Technology, Marketing and operations cost.
Do you offer any services beyond a sourcing platform?
Absolutely yes! Our services include but are not limited to repurposing support, we provide financing support for orders, logistics support, product training, market insights, trend analysis and marketing & promotion support for products onboarded on CDI platform.
How can CDI save me money?
CDI saves you money because our platform allows buyers to negotiate directly with bulk manufacturers and this allows for direct pricing. The CDI also supports pooled procurement which allows groups of buyers to come together and take advantage of economies of scope. Furthermore, through our optimized logistics solutions buyers can source locally and regionally thereby saving significantly on the cost of logistics.
CDI Website Information
Why can't I see any prices on the website?
The pricing we offer to our customers is manufacturer direct pricing and depends on quantity required. This means that we offer the same price you’d receive if you contacted the manufacturer directly. However, because we support customers all over Africa, often the price you receive from us is lower because it’s based on a negotiated bulk rate. The range of pricing for every product on the platform is available to buyers when they request a quote.
What does it mean to be a Verified Supplier on the platform?
Verified Suppliers are vetted by our Products Onboarding team to ensure they are able to credibly supply quality products. We capture and verify product information such as Standards or Certifications, Quantity available, Price, Lead time, Product Location etc. Interested manufacturers or distributors can use the onboarding form to provide product information and our team will be in contact with them.
Do you add any mark-ups?
No, we earn our commission from the users of the platform. For nearly all of our suppliers, we sell our products for the same price that the manufacturer would sell them.
Where can I find product information, brochures, images, training videos and specifications for each product?
The best place for all of that information is on our individual product pages. That is also where you can request a quotation. You can see an example of the product page by clicking on any product on the homepage or via the search bar on the CDI website.
Which countries do you sell to?
We sell to all countries in Africa. Our intention is to increase access to critical healthcare and medical devices throughout Africa, so we do not limit the countries we do business in.
Are there any minimum order requirements?
For COVID-19 products (PPEs, Test Kits, Infection Control etc), the minimum order are 100,000 units of each product. For most devices we will ship single pieces.
Do you offer training for your products?
Absolutely yes! We offer training in several ways ranging from training videos on product pages, training webinars with demonstrations where we introduce new products in a live webinar and allow you to ask questions directly to our product expert. We also offer aftersales online support with our product expert if an additional training is required. In limited cases we would also be able to arrange in-person training, but this would be subject to product team availability and customer budget.
Do you offer warranties?
We do offer warranties for all products that require them, and we carry through the manufacturer warranty directly. You can be confident in buying with us that you will be covered in case of defects (which rarely happen).
How do I know that your products are of good quality?
CDI only sells products from suppliers that we have verified. We use industry standards like BS EN, CE, FDA certifications or local equivalent standards including third party verification and customer recommendations to review the products for quality, and only then are they added to the CDI platform.
Do you offer only one type of product or device of each kind?
No, we believe in choice. Our customers are the experts on the specific product they need for their local markets. We believe in providing you as many quality products per category and allowing you to choose the one that suits you best. You know your markets and customers better than we ever could.
Are you the manufacturer of the products?
CDI partners with local manufacturers to distribute their products. We open up markets like yours to the manufacturer and offer them an opportunity to be verified and sell their products through our platform.
Do you offer exclusivity to distributors?
We do not offer exclusivity. CDI’s model is about fast, easy and affordable access, and we find that exclusivity limits access and can increase costs for governments, healthcare institutions, NGOs and ultimately, patients.
Which countries do you ship to?
We ship to all African countries. Our mandate is to increase access to critical products needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and other healthcare needs throughout Africa.
Once I place an order, how long does it take before the order is shipped from your warehouse?
We will initiate order fulfilment once the payment is received, and depending upon the order size and stock availability, the timeframe can vary. Our website also has a dashboard that informs buyers of the quantity available. For those products in stock, the shipment will begin moving within 2-3 days after order fulfilment.
How long does it take to receive my order?
We will initiate the order once the payment is received, and depending upon the order size and stock availability, the timeline can vary. If products are in stock, the shipment will usually arrive within 1-2 weeks (air) or 30-45 days (ocean). If not in stock, timing would be subject to the production timeline.
Which carrier do you use for shipping my order?
We have partnership with logistics companies across Africa. The logistic partner that would be chosen to deliver your product is selected by the CDI algorithm that maps rate and quality of service to determine the most efficient logistics partner to deliver your order.
Do you ship only to the port or directly to my door?
Either, depending on the shipment itself, destination, and customer budget. Our typical shipment is to the port, where the customer will arrange for clearance and final delivery.
Do you handle the customs process?
We can offer this service but find that the local business in the destination has the most expertise in their local market and customs processes. Most shipments are delivered to port on a CIP incoterm, excluding local delivery, duties, and taxes.
What is the cost to ship my order?
This would depend completely upon the product ordered, quantity, and speed of delivery. We customize your shipping to your individual needs. If you prefer more affordable, we can offer ocean freight. If you need it immediately, we can arrange by air. This is all up to your timeline and budget. Regardless of the method we have a team whose job it is to find you the best rates and options possible.
How do I track my order status?
You will be sent a tracking link and shipping documents (e.g., Commercial Invoice, Airway Bill) which will allow you to both track and prepare for your shipment arrival.
Where do your products ship from?
We drop ship from the product’s warehouse, which are located throughout the African continent. We aim to ship from warehouses closest to the buyer to ensure products are received quickly and the shipping costs are minimal.
What happens if my products are damaged in shipping or not sent correctly?
As we have strong relationships with our sellers and freight partners, we hold each accountable if a shipment arrives damaged or with the wrong product. We also always include insurance for the shipment for additional security. Our buyers should feel secure that when they buy from CDI, their best interests are our priority.
Purchasing Process and Risk Mitigation
How is the quality of products assured?
We mitigate the risk of poor quality by only sourcing products from certified and vetted suppliers. In addition to the onboarding verification process, we engage third party verification services before products are shipped.
How do you ensure we receive the products we order?
We mitigate the risk of non-delivery by using trade finance products and insurances to ensure products are delivered against cash or short-term financial instruments.
How do I make payments?
Payment should be made directly to the settlement account shared with you during your onboarding. If credit is required, we would help you in processing this through one of our partner banks (subject to approval)
How do I return a product?
You can review our return policy by visiting the Terms of Service page on our site.
When do I receive my refund after the item was returned?
If your return is approved, then the bank account that you used for payment will be refunded within 24 hours of final approval, wire transfer refunds may take up to ten business days to process once completed and e-checks will take up ten business days to process once completed.
What if I have a problem with my products during the warranty period?
CDI buyers can submit a warranty claim by contacting their sales representative directly. After providing all of the information required surrounding the circumstances of the issue, CDI will determine where a replacement or refund will apply, in accordance with the manufacturer’s warranty, and walk the buyer through the solutions available for each specific order and product.