In 2009, Coca-Cola launched ‘Project Last Mile‘ in partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The idea popped up with the realization that ‘if you can find a bottle of Coca-Cola anywhere in the world, why not life-saving medicines?’ ‘Project Last Mile’ uses Coca-Cola’s supply chain, distribution, logistics and marketing expertise to help African governments get vital medicines and supplies the “last mile” to remote, hard-to-reach communities. Such is the importance of a robust supply chain network.
Tapping on one of the finest supply chain, Flipkart has announced its tie-up with the Dabbawalas of Mumbai for last mile delivery to customers. This association is an effort to explore newer delivery channels and opportunities by partnering with this unique community of experts.
The Dabbawalas have been in the profession of transporting lunch boxes with absolute precision for more than 120 years. They are a huge inspiration on how to conduct business without any paper or administrative back-up to keep the costs down.
Commenting on the association, Neeraj Aggarwal, Sr. Director – Last Mile Delivery, Flipkart, said,
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 atypical to a city like Mumbai. We are partnering with them and leveraging this unique expertise to enhance our last mile delivery capabilities.
In the initial stage of association, as a partner to eKart, the Dabbawalas (with one union at this stage) will collect Flipkart marketplace shipments from the delivery hubs and deliver it the customers- while picking their dabbas. Currently, a partner just for last mile deliveries, the Dabbawalas will not be interacting with the sellers at this stage. The initial pilot will be for prepaid orders – getting rolled out for COD deliveries as the association expands.
The first batch of Dabbawalas have undergone training at Flipkart’s delivery centers. At this stage, they will be using a paper-based tracking system with the idea being to gradually train them on the usage of apps and other wearable tech.
Related Read: Why Flipkart is more than just an ‘e-commerce’ company
Watch the Dabbawalas share their views on this association.
On-Demand logistics for sellers
In another announcement, Flipkart recently launched a crowdsourced delivery option which aims to connect local sellers and buyers with the help of voluntary delivery personnel. This is targeted at reducing the order to delivery timeline drastically. Here are the highlights of this pilot:
1. These delivery personnel are on-boarded onto a specialized Flipkart delivery program post extensive background verifications and are free to take up Flipkart deliveries as per their convenience
2. This process helps reduce the delivery process checks by enabling these delivery personnel to directly collect the package from the local seller and deliver it to the buyer, managing to reduce the order to delivery time to as little as three to four hours.
3. This pilot, currently operational only for Bangalore sellers and customers, should ideally see higher conversions for sellers as well.
4. The service is currently available for shipments of less than Rs. 5000 value in Bangalore.
Also watch: Here’s what happened when we conducted a meetup dedicated to logistics in Bangalore