To boost its delivery network, Flipkart has roped in the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai — who have been transporting lunchboxes across the city for more than 120 years — for last-mile delivery to customers. This will be a significant step towards conducting business without any paper or administrative back-up to keep the costs down, the company said.
Neeraj Aggarwal, senior 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 typical to a city like Mumbai. We are partnering with them and leveraging this unique expertise to enhance our last mile delivery capabilities.”
Initially, as a partner to eKart, the dabbawalas — with one union at this stage — will collect shipments from delivery hubs and take it to customers. They will not interact with the sellers at this stage. The pilot will be for prepaid orders and will be expanded to cash on delivery as the association expands. The first batch of dabbawalas has already undergone training at Flipkart’s delivery centres to use a paper-based tracking system. They will be gradually trained to use apps and other wearable technologies in future, the company said.
This apart, Flipkart also launched a crowdsourced delivery option that aims to connect local sellers and buyers with the help of voluntary delivery personnel to reduce the order-to-delivery timeline drastically. These delivery personnel are on-boarded a specialised Flipkart delivery programme after extensive background verification and are free to take up Flipkart deliveries according to convenience. This pilot, currently operational in Bangalore, is available for shipments of less than Rs 5,000.