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HomeTechFlipkart lines up Rs 3,600 crore for three automated fulfilment centres

Flipkart lines up Rs 3,600 crore for three automated fulfilment centres

Walmart-owned e-commerce major Flipkart is going to invest over Rs 3,600 crore in the next three years to set up three new giant automated fulfilment centres. This includes one in Manesar which is under construction and two new ones, which would come up in South and West Bengal respectively, said Flipkart Group’s senior vice president and head of supply chain Hemant Badri.

The group has already set up one such big box facility in West Bengal at Haringhata which it claims is the largest such facility in Asia. The Manesar one will be operational in 2024. Badri said these centres enable two times more storage space per square feet, 30-50% more efficient with lower capital and operating costs, and helps to reduce shipment times. These facilities will usually be 18 metres in height as compared to the usual 10-12 metres.

“In the next 2-3 years, we will set up three more giant big box automated fulfilment centers in Manesar, one in the South for which we are finalising the location, and one additional in Haringhata since we have more land. Each of these facilities will require Rs 1200 crore to Rs 1500 crore investment. In the next 3-5 years, there would be 4-5 such facilities,” said Badri.

Badri said the frequency of delivery cycles can be more from these fulfilment centres. He said a one-day delivery time can potentially be reduced to half a day, 2 days can be reduced to 1 day, and 4 days can be reduced to 3 days.

Talking about the up-coming festive season and Flipkart’s biggest discounting sale Big Billion Days (BBD), Badri said demand will revive and this year’s sale will be the best ever festive sale.

The company is gearing up for it by hiring over 50,000 people for supply chain and last mile and has scaled up supply chain infrastructure 2.5 times over pre-Covid. There is huge focus on same and next day deliveries for mobile phones, electronics and other top-selling categories, he said.

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“India is a consumption led economy. We believe people will go out and express themselves. All our indicators show that it will be a good festive season. The square feet area of the warehouses and fulfilment centers have gone up to 2.5 times since 2019. What has changed is that now we have infrastructure in the tier-II and tier-III towns. This BBD, we will have close to 2.5 lakh people working with us,” said Badri.

Flipkart wants to scale up fast deliveries – same and next day – by three times this year over the normal period and last year’s festive season. Badri said the marketplace will also have open box delivery for all electronic products, mobile phones and white goods. Last year it was available only for televisions and refrigerators.

“This year BBD will have groceries available in 10,000 pin codes as compared to 4,000 earlier. This will be the first BBD, where a large number of tier-II and tier-III cities will be able to experience e-grocery services,” said Badri. At present, Flipkart has 4.2 Lakhs active sellers.

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