Allow me to start with saying that I am not plugging for Flipkart, and have no love lost for a company with no customer service. But, when something is well done, it is well done.
Flipkart’s tying up with Mumbai’s Dabbawalas is a straight shot brilliant move. Whoever in the company came up with that, thought really out of the box. So, how would this work?
Flipkart aims to use the Dabbawala’s to deliver the goods when these guys go to pick up the empty lunch boxes. Now their empty run is now being paid for, and they actually have pay load. When they are making their return run with the lunch boxes, they would have made their extra loads and would not be returning heavy either. Because their empty ferry will now get paid for, the cost that Flipkart will have to pay will actually be lower. Certainly lower than what they have to pay for their current last mile drops.Why
The Mumbai Dabbawallas bring to the table their rapid delivery with a Six sigma level accuracy.
What Dabbawalas bring to the table is their accuracy of rapid and on-time delivery. They operate at a Six sigma level of accuracy with really no technology or even paper based system for tracking. Essentially, there is no operations management type of cost at all. That perhaps would need to change a bit for the deliveries that they make for Flipkart. Some amount of paper based (at least) systems will have to be introduced, and there in lies the risk of their Six Sigma levels dropping a bit.
Now only if the ecommerce company could find Dabbawallas in other cities, their per shipment operating cost would be under control and perhaps they would be a viable business too.