Photos: Inside a Flipkart warehouse, a billion wishes are being fulfilled
During The Big Billion Days sale, one of Flipkart’s biggest warehouses transforms in sheer scale and activity to meet the deluge of orders. We bring you never-before-seen photos from the heart of the supply chain – the Flipkart warehouse.
Have you wondered what happens after your Flipkart order is confirmed? In a busy industrial area on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Karnataka, stands one of Flipkart’s largest warehouses. At a massive 2,00,000 sq feet, this busy hub once catered to all of South India. Today, Flipkart has expanded its supply chain network, opening many such warehouses in cities like Hyderabad and Chennai to serve customers better and deliver orders to them faster. However, this Flipkart warehouse in Bengaluru still remains among the busiest and most important mother-hubs for Flipkart.
Millions of orders placed every day by Flipkart customers are stored in this gigantic warehouse. Come The Big Billion Days, this already busy hub transforms, doubling up in capacity. During the sales, the warehouse sees the dispatch of over 4,000 orders — more than double the activity of a regular day. And this year has been especially busy, with the number of orders having gone up considerably. More than 400 employees work in three eight-hour shifts round the clock seven days a week, and they all have one aim — that every product leaves the warehouse right on a tight schedule and reaches the customer in the promised time. And every tiny detail counts.
So what goes into making sure that such a detailed and complex affair is carried out without a hitch? In exclusive never-before-seen photos of scenes from the Flipkart warehouse, we take you into the heart of the supply chain infrastructure of Flipkart and eKart Logistics, working day and night during the Big Billion Days sale, to get your wishes delivered to you swift and smooth.
Boards on the warehouse floor signal aisles where orders are stored based on the destination city of each shipment. One of the biggest hubs, this warehouse was once the only one catering to all the orders originating in South India. Today, Flipkart has expanded its supply chain operations, opening large hubs across the country to get orders delivered faster to customers.
During The Big Billion Days sale, which is one of the busiest seasons for Flipkart, more than 100 extra workers are hired in this warehouse to fulfill the spike in orders. Here, staff on the bustling floor move and pack various orders, racing to meet the tight delivery schedule of the sale.
Timing is often everything during the hectic sale season. Narendra K Reddy, an Assistant Manager, is a soft-spoken man who runs a strict schedule on the warehouse floor.
Every product has a specified slot in the humongous hub floor to ensure that each order is swiftly located and sent on its way to process before being dispatched. In this picture, large appliances are packed onto shelves along the warehouse, awaiting orders.
An employee at the Flipkart warehouse wheels a trolley through the aisles to the heavy appliances section to pick up one of the orders for processing.
Before an order goes on to the dispatch stage, it is extensively wrapped to minimize all risk of damage on the way to the customer. Seen here are employees packing a VU television set, one of the many millions of orders that came in this Big Billion Days sale.
The busy employees are hard to catch for a quick chat. Darshan, who has been with Flipkart for over two years, is a fitting staffer to ask about the sheer volume of movement during the sale season. While he doesn’t reveal the exact number of packages he forklifts everyday, he says that there’s enough demand from customers to keep him very busy.
Television sets are one the most popular products ordered by customers on Flipkart, with sets such as these VU TVs flying off the shelves in no time. A security personnel stands guard at this packed corner.
Vehicles are kept at the ready to begin the transport phase the moment products are prepared to dispatch. Trucks are parked close to the Flipkart warehouse doors, so loading and unloading of orders is smooth and quick.
After swift but detailed processing, the orders are sent on their way to eagerly waiting customers. An employee ensures that every item leaving the Flipkart warehouse is recorded, as others load it onto a waiting truck outside.
Security is tight across Flipkart warehouses, and often heightened during busy times such as The Big Billion Days sale. All employees and visitors are strictly forbidden from taking in personal belongings such as bags and mobile phones.
At the end of a long shift, a security personnel documents an empty truck that has just arrived at the Flipkart warehouse. Soon, it will be loaded with the next batch of orders and be on its way to other excited customers.
With Benedict Gershom and Sophia Stephen
Photographs by Arjun Paul