Hack it, the Flipkart way
Hackday at Flipkart is just one of the reasons why the e-commerce site has excelled in finding innovative solutions to its problems
The last time we covered Hackday at Flipkart, it was huge but the growth that the company has seen in the past year has been unparalleled. It was 2 pm on a Friday (June 8 ) and time for some ‘serious fun’ at the Flipkart office in Bangalore. It was again, Hackday at Flipkart. Excitement was palpable in the air at the office, which is worthy of being called the ‘Google of India’ in terms of its culture. A small group was playing football in the corridor while a few others were perched on bean bags in teams of four or less, glued to their computer screens.
A 24-hour competition, it was an opportunity to do something different and stand out in the crowd. The event which runs throughout the 24 hours was on and coders at probably India’s biggest e-commerce site were busy finding innovative solutions to make the company more efficient. A sea of red that was the hackday merchandise greeted everywhere. The run up to the session was filled up with anticipation and to grace the event, Atul Chitnis, the founder of Foss.in and Pankaj Kaushal of TechOps@Flipkart fame were present.
Amol, the HR representative who has famously coined the term ‘flippy’ for Flipkart employees, explained the things that made the event different. “We put in our best to cultivate a culture of trust in our employees. We don’t have a constant eye hovering over employees and try to make the atmosphere enjoyable and I believe the HackDay is a culmination of all those values: innovation, hard work, trust and also a lot of fun” he says.
Coders in small groups were hacking away in rooms with quirky names. There was Gabbar, Langda Tyagi, Banlvant Rai amongst many others and these rooms had clear remnants from the hard work that had been put throughout the night to come up with that best hack. The 24-hour session was coming to an end but the energy within the participants was phenomenal.
The hackathon was followed by a demo where every hack (38 of them) got an opportunity to present what they had come up with. There were two ‘judges awards’ for the best hacks of the day and one ‘popular choice award’ that was decided through audience poll.
The Smart Delivery team won two awards: the first judges’ award for the best hack and the popular choice award. The second judges’ awards for the best hack went to GiftKart (Smart Gifts) team.
All in a day’s work
Hack Name: Smart Delivery
Purpose: Remove the manual work required by field executives at Flipkart Logistics and make the delivery process, customer communication and system updation real time processes.
Team: Rajeev Sharma, Swapnil Marghade, Rahul Agrawal and Neeraj Bisht
Hack description: In Flipkart logistics, field executives carry a run-sheet on paper. This run-sheet has all the information about the deliveries to be made to customers. Every day, run-sheets have to be created and assigned to executives for delivery, and after all the deliveries are completed, the system has to be updated with the delivery information manually. Additionally, the customers get notified about their respective deliveries when the run-sheet is created in the morning.
The hack developed is a mobile app that can be carried by executives. The application can be used to fetch all the run-sheet information (shipment information, customer information and payment information) on the mobile device. When an executive delivers an item, the person can update the delivery details (name of the person who received the delivery, amount collected and the next steps, if any) through the app and capture a customer’s signature and photo (receiver's photo in case the delivery is not to the end customer). This can then be used by Flipkart as proof of delivery. The team also developed a map where a color-coded bubble appears whenever a delivery is completed.
Hack Name: GiftKart (Smart Gifts)
Team: Amar Nagaram, Shoury Bharadwaj, Phaneesh Nagaraja and Devashish B
Team name (Optional): H@ck3rs43v3r
Hack description: It was a one-stop shop for gift ideas. The team found a solution that displayed friends’ birth dates and their likes through an open graph, an idea that can help Flipkart to recommend gift ideas to its customers.
Apart from the main titles, there were also 7 fun/quirky/wacky awards which were received very well by the employees. All the hacks had something unique and useful to them. And here are the winners of those fun awards:
To sum it up, the spirit of the event and manner in which the company manages itself is symbolic of its growth and success. And when you live the atmosphere, you exactly know why Flipkart has got it Right!
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