Flipkart on Wednesday said it has added 66 new large-scale fulfillment and sortation centres across the country over the past few months and created 1.15 lakh additional seasonal jobs to strengthen its supply chain network ahead of the festive season. The Walmart-owned company has also bolstered its last-mile delivery capabilities by adding more than 1,000 delivery hubs, while also expanding its partnership with kiranas.
“The complexity and scale during BBD (Big Billion Day sale) require us to scale up for capacity, storage, placement, sorting, packaging, human resource, training, delivery, and the entire supply chain. This scale is always unprecedented so we start preparations months in advance,” Flipkart Senior Vice President and Head of Supply Chain Hemant Badri told PTI.
He added that these new facilities including warehouses and sortation centres have been added in the past 4-5 months, and the company now has more than 100 facilities across the country.
The 66 new large-scale fulfillment and sortation centres have been added in the states of Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal. Unlike traditional warehouses, fulfilment centres are equipped with highly automated pick, pack and shipping processes to facilitate safe and timely processing of orders.
In addition, Flipkart has also strengthened its last-mile reach with the addition of more than 1,000 new delivery hubs (DH) across the country.
“Our delivery hubs are the last mile operations. The delivery executives or wish masters deliver shipments to customers from these hubs. We have about 2,600 delivery hubs across the country…We have always expanded our fulfilment centres keeping in mind the growing customer demand and need for e-commerce in tier II and III cities,” Badri added.
E-commerce companies see a large chunk of their business coming in during the festive sales and they make significant investments ahead of time to ramp up their capacity to be able to handle the spike in orders. Electronics, fashion and home furnishing are some of the categories that see a huge demand during the festive season.
Companies like Flipkart and Amazon.in hold multiple sale events during the festive season, timed around Dussehra and Diwali.
“Festive season plays a huge role in bringing these consumers and sellers together. From when we started The Big Billion Days to now, every year we have seen a great uptake, from consumers to sellers, from brands to ecosystem partners… It pushes us to solve for the long term, which becomes a new normal,” Badri said.
He added that Flipkart makes 60 million deliveries a month and it expects the deliveries to scale up by 1.5-1.8x per day.
“We feel the festive season is an opportunity to create value for all stakeholders including sellers, customers, kiranas, and ecosystem partners. To enable this, we are significantly expanding our supply chain across the country and have opened several large and small warehouses across various states,” Badri said.
He added that the company has also increased direct job creation during festive time year-on-year – it was about 50,000 jobs in 2019, 70,000 jobs in 2020 and this year, it is more than a lakh. This includes various roles in the supply chain and also in last-mile delivery including delivery executives, he noted.
This year, Flipkart is creating direct seasonal employment for more than 1.15 lakh people, of which 15 per cent are women and people with disabilities.
Badri pointed out that the company has imparted training to thousands of new hires this season. This includes safety and sanitation measures, the use of hand-held devices, PoS machines, scanners, various mobile applications and ERP software.
“E-commerce has been an enabling force, bringing value and access for sellers and consumers alike. Our supply chain infrastructure and technology-enabled digital ecosystem plays a key role in enabling numerous possibilities by creating lakhs of new jobs, and offering reliable and tech-enabled transformation for traditional warehousing…,” Flipkart Group Chief Executive Officer Kalyan Krishnamurthy said in a statement.
Flipkart is at the fulcrum creating possibilities for India, driving industry and economy, and helping sellers, artisans, and weavers deliver to the remotest parts of the country, he added.
“We are committed to making a significant impact on infrastructure creation, employment generation, and creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship,” he said.
This year, more than 100 facilities have been added from brand partners to help customers get faster deliveries.
“This is where it’s an ecosystem play that creates synergies between supply chains of brands and Flipkart that leverages shared infrastructure, processes and expertise to create a long-term sustainable value. This also helps in fostering supply chain best practices through cross-pollination and training between brands and Flipkart while ensuring service reliability and efficiency,” Badri said.