Tarpo Industries Uganda turns 18 years old
Tarpo Industries Uganda has been quietly and confidently building itself since we were born in 2001.
We were one of the first soft shelter manufacturers in Uganda. With the same values that have nurtured Tarpo Kenya into a 41-year-old company, quality has always come first and when a customer smiles, we smile.
For almost 10 years now we’ve been a team of proud Ugandans and we recently went out for a meal to share our experiences with each other and inspire our newest members on what it means to be Tarpo. We didn’t know a simple meal could end up being a 4 hour conversation filled with celebration, emotion, pride and hope!
Of course we are a regional brand known for our safari tents across the world – you’ll find them as far away as Australia and Canada (at the Toronto Zoo if you really want to know!) – but we are a family passionate about our industry and about raising the standards. One of our engineers put it succinctly, “As pioneers of tent technology in the region so many of our competitors have learnt and copied from us but our passion is not something that can be stolen.” That passion is visible in the work we do and the relationships we maintain with our customers.
In the last few years while many thought we had disappeared and closed down we were actually busy building our own factory and planting our Ugandan roots.
Now in the heart of Bweyogerere’s industrial area and right next to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards we are literally next to the institution that decides on minimal quality standards for our people – where do you think they’re getting their expert advice for technical textiles? 😉
We’ve spent time and resource to seek out the best PVC from Europe and canvas from India. In fact we partner with the world’s top 4 PVC coated polyester fabric manufacturers and our technical specialists have undergone training in Germany. We bring a conglomerate of experts to bring you a solution – that’s how special you are as our customer.
During the meal we shared a few weeks ago Fred Were, whose been with us since he graduated from technical school more than 12 years ago, told us about an experience he had at one of the lodges in Queen Elizabeth National Park: The manager was so excited to see us when we arrived to install the new tents. He invited us into the main dining area where all the guests were enjoying their lunch. He was hosting a small group and he announced to the group, “This is Tarpo, the tent experts, we only associate with the best you know!”
“Another time we had gone to install tents at a lodge in Murchison Falls and the owner insisted that we be treated like guests of the lodge. That is a true stamp of partnership, our consistency in quality has brought us to the level where our clients don’t just see us as suppliers.”
Did you know our production manager Julius Wandera has been with us since 2003? “Teamwork has brought us to where we are” he says. “Not just the team working together in Uganda but the entire team across East Africa.” He shared an experience that he and Fred had while working on a military project outside of Uganda. We can’t go public about the details but let’s just say they shared a box of meat with some Generals because the army couldn’t believe the quality of the product that had been made in front of their eyes.
George Odyek, who joined Tarpo in 2011, shared with us his experience at Rakai Health Sciences Programme where he led a team to set up tents. The project manager applauded Tarpo to a few of his colleagues who were present at the time, about the quality of our tents, and how quickly we respond especially during emergencies. Rakai Health Sciences Programme has been buying from Tarpo since for the last 10 years. “I have had the opportunity to learn from every department in Tarpo, everyone is willing to share their knowledge and experience with the others, and that has really strengthened us as a team and family in Tarpo’’ George added.
“The ‘School of Tarpo’ taught me that commitment is at the heart of learning.” David Mboizi is currently our metal works king. “You learn more from the commitment, passion and each other than you do from school.” Our newest member Annah Akinyi validated his statement by saying “I’ve learnt so much from understanding how hard you have all worked for all these years.”
“It’s not just about the hard work,” Fred interjected. “It’s also about how we are looked after by management and how we look after each other. We are like family and we relate like age-mates. It’s a privilege to be at Tarpo.” Fred was almost in tears as he forced those words out.
Patricia, our General Manager, got emotional, “I’m inspired by the commitment of this team and the belief they have in me. Team work, quality and the desire to do the right thing for the customer have brought us to the age of 18. I have the energy to do more and more!”
On the foundation of the team’s expertise and commitment we have started bringing superior materials into the market as we build on our exclusive relationships with European PVC fabric manufacturers. The Tarpo group is also one of the largest importers of South African ripstop and we are looking forward to introducing this to our customers in Uganda. With a workforce of almost 20 Ugandans, our own buildings and vehicles and the commitment towards quality at our heart we are ready to break into new frontiers and still smile when you smile!
After reading all this we’re sure you now believe we are 18!