In 2006, while acknowledging the social marketing program in Bangladesh as a world- renowned success story in the field of family planning, Sarah Alkenbrack, Courtney Bickert, and Margaret Rowan of the Futures Group International, Constella Group, 1 in a document titled ―Social Marketing in Bangladesh: Is It Time for a Shift?,‖ raised the question of the sustainability of the program because most of the Social Marketing Company (SMC), Bangladesh’s commodities were donated at the time. ―What happens to SMC if donors phase out?‖ they asked. They also questioned the role of SMC after it had transitioned users to the private sector. The authors argued that shifting higher-income users to the commercial sector, which currently cannot compete with SMC, would lead to greater sustainability but that it had to be done in ways that did not compromise SMC’s sustainability or its ability to serve its appropriate market.
Indeed, since then, SMC has moved to become nearly self-sustaining, and today, the organization is close to 85 percent self-sustaining, with little dependence on donations. This remarkable transition has been possible for SMC because it has always been ready to accept challenges. It has not lost its social marketing focus or its adherence to its core principles and objectives.
The challenge before SMC now is to sustain its self-sufficiency and move toward 100 percent self-reliance while not compromising on its core social marketing objectives. Although it cannot be classified as a commercial organization, it does need to adopt and better appreciate some aspects of commercialism if it is to sustain itself as a 100 percent self-reliant social marketing organization. Higher sales and lower costs, and net revenue, therefore, are key considerations for the SMC. The value or volume of sales, or sales strategy, is not the focus of this assessment. Ways and means of increasing net revenue through lower costs by more efficient and effective procurement is. The assessment therefore has considered avenues for improvements in procurement, both from a structural and from a process point of view, and looked at avenues for assisting production operations by redesigning and reengineering warehousing activities.