Prince Charles and Sir Richard Branson have lauded and admired their efficient Six Sigma certified delivery system. Now Mumbai’s dabbawalas will be using this system to deliver prepaid orders for Flipkart as part of their plan to leverage their ‘Last Mile Delivery’ capabilities.
“The Dabbawalas of Mumbai are one of the most reliable and trusted brands in the city. Their unique delivery system has been smooth, reliable and has survived the test of time, even under extreme conditions that are typical of a city like Mumbai”, says Neeraj Aggarwal, Senior Director – Last Mile Delivery, Flipkart.
Flipkart announces their tie-up with the dabbawalas’ union:
We’ve joined forces with the legendary Mumbai Dabbawalas. Read all about it here: http://t.co/4Hziuahr0H
— Flipkart (@Flipkart) April 12, 2015
Mumbai’s dabbawalas use a complex system of codes, delivery handcarts and cycles to navigate Mumbai’s maze-like streets to deliver almost 200,000 fresh, hot ‘dabbas’ or lunchboxes daily. Harvard featured their unique system which smoothens the last stretch of delivery in a case study titled “The Dabbawala System: On-Time Delivery Every Time.”
The dabbawalas will partner eKart, currently managing logistics for Flipkart, in delivering only prepaid packages initially. They will do so while picking up their lunch boxes but will not pick up packages from sellers. The dabbawalas, who have been trained at Flipkart’s delivery centres will gradually transition from a paper-based tracking system to using apps and wearables to make and track deliveries.
The legendary dabbawalas look forward to providing the same impeccable delivery of packages as they have done lunchboxes for 125 years!
Flipkart is looking to streamline their logistics by reducing delivery time. To this end they had recently also launched a crowd-sourced delivery option which uses voluntary delivery personnel to connect sellers and buyers. These volunteers are trained through a specialised Flipkart delivery programme and can then choose their Flipkart deliveries. They will pick-up deliveries from the sellers and deliver to the customer thus reducing the number of delivery process checks. This pilot is operational for buyers and sellers in Bangalore only and for deliveries under Rs. 5000.
The Last Mile initiatives draws inspiration from ‘Project Last Mile‘ launched in 2009 by Coca-Cola in partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It follows the realization that ‘if you can find a bottle of Coca-Cola anywhere in the world, why not life-saving medicines?’ Project Last Mile put the focus back on the importance of robust supply chains for large e-commerce retail chains like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.
Amazon in a similar move has announced a tie-up with local ‘kirana’ or mom-and-pop stores to deliver goods at the consumer’s doorstep. Their express delivery service launched in Bangalore is being called KiranaNow and promises delivery within 4 hours.