Logistics startup Delhivery made temporary adjustments to its business to ensure that essential products such as medicines and FMCG goods reached customers in time, said co-founder Mohit Tandon.
During Mint’s second webinar in the Pivot or Perish series, Tandon highlighted that the startup temporarily pivoted its delivery network to ensure deliveries could be carried out locally.
“One fundamental shift that we are seeing is that, apart from the traditional market place and warehouse model, there was a lot of demand coming from hyperlocal stores and retailers…Hyperlocal delivery is now becoming a part of our business for which we relied heavily on our last-mile delivery network. So we had to figure out how to ensure deliveries in 2,3 or 4 hours to customer’s doorsteps, at a cost that is viable to the retailer," Tandon said.
He added that before the lockdown was introduced in India in late March, the company did not have a large presence in delivering essential goods. So it had to “reboot" its delivery network to cater to essential retailers and manufacturers, especially in the FMCG and pharmacy segments.
Demand for medicine delivery had shot up sharply after the country-wide lockdown was introduced in late March. Mint reported in March that online medicine delivery firms such as 1MG, NetMeds, and MedLife had temporarily suspended operations in many cities, after the police roughed up delivery workers, even after e-commerce was classified as an essential service.
Hence, Delhivery stepped up its partnerships with offline pharmacies and FMCG retailers to help them reach consumers efficiently, according to Tandon. During the lockdown, consumers began depending heavily on e-commerce firms and online retailers to buy essential products, which compelled Delhivery to cater to changing customers' demand.
“Pharmacies were not equipped to deal with high order volumes. So we had to start moving medicines, vaccines, insulin, to customers immediately. We needed cold storage for this, and we had to maintain ambient temperature to transport medicines which we never tried before…and so we spent entire April ensuring this," said Tandon.
Gurugram-based Delhivery is one of India’s newest unicorns, backed by investors like SoftBank Vision Fund, Carlyle Group and Fosun International. It operates across 3,000 cities, offering a full range of logistics services, including express parcel transportation, freight, business-to-business and business-to-consumer warehousing and technology services.