In an unexpected move, Flipkart co-founder and CEO Sachin Bansal took to Twitter to announce that the company has tied up with Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas to ensure the last mile deliveries in the city. He also linked to a YouTube video uploaded by Flipkart which shows the dabbawalas making the same announcement. The dabbawalas say that they are going to start working with Flipkart to ensure deliveries. They say that they have been delivering lunchboxes for the last 125 years, and they will bring this same expertise to Flipkart’s service as well.
We have reached out to Flipkart to see if there are any other details that the company can share, but as of now, this is a very unexpected move.
The dabbawalas of Mumbai are famous the world over, and have been the subject of studies by places such as the Harvard Business School, which showed that their error rate is one in six million deliveries. The paper, published in 2012, mentions that the dabbawalas conduct over 260,000 transactions in six hours every day.
Founded in 1890, the company of 5,000 dabbawalas delivers 130,000 lunchboxes throughout Mumbai, charging around Rs. 400 or Rs. 500 per month, using Mumbai’s local railway system to help deliver lunchboxes throughout the city.
It’s not immediately clear how well this would fit in with Flipkart’s delivery model, and considering that the Mumbai dabbawala system is not there in most other cities, it isn’t one that can be spread to other parts of the country either.
It is possible that like Amazon’s Kirana Now service, which was launched in Bangalore, here Flipkart too could be experimenting with local models of same day deliveries, but for now at least, there is no comment from Flipkart to explain what exactly this tie-up aims to do.