Innovation to Inclusion: Flipkart’s Impactful Year in Supply Chain Evolution

In 2023, Flipkart's supply chain went on a remarkable journey characterized by achievements that extend beyond the boundaries of e-commerce landscape. We expanded and strengthened our supply chain network to bring the benefits of e-commerce to over 500 million customers across the country, while also creating jobs to support the nation’s burgeoning economy. The supply chain not only thrived but did so while embracing sustainability and inclusion as core values. In this article, Hemant Badri, Senior Vice President, Group Head of Supply Chain, Customer Experience & ReCommerce Business at Flipkart Group, summarizes our efforts to build an inclusive and sustainable supply chain for India in 2023.

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In a landscape defined by e-commerce, Flipkart’s supply chain evolved beyond conventional boundaries, reaching over 500 million customers and becoming a cornerstone for economic growth. Our commitment to sustainability and inclusion stands at the core of our achievements, driving not only efficiency but also societal empowerment.

Join me as we delve into the key milestones that defined Flipkart‘s supply chain evolution in 2023—a year marked by strategic expansion, pioneering initiatives, and a resolute commitment to a greener, smarter future for India’s supply chain landscape.

Innovations Driving Growth

Over the past year, we have strengthened our steadfast customer focus and made efforts to expand our footprint across the nation. This is a must for us to fulfill our customer promise to shoppers who reside even in the remotest locations across the country. We have strategically launched fulfillment centers, warehouses, and other supporting structures nationwide so that every Indian can benefit from e-commerce.

This year, Flipkart scaled our supply chain with distribution hubs and large-scale fulfillment centers to strengthen our reach in tier-III cities and beyond. We added over 19 lakh square feet of space across Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, and many more states.

In a crucial development for Flipkart’s grocery supply chain, the largest fulfillment center in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh was proudly unveiled in January 2023.

In April, Flipkart strengthened logistics for seamless nationwide deliveries, aligning with the transformative era of tech-driven e-commerce.

We are also set to expand our supply chain network with a 140-acre Regional Distribution Center (RDC) in Manesar, Haryana. On the 22nd of September, 2023, Flipkart held a groundbreaking ceremony for the RDC, marking a significant milestone in our commitment to innovation and sustainability. This RDC, with Platinum pre-certification from IGBC, will enhance the supply chain efficiency and generate over 10,000 jobs when it goes live. Simultaneously, our new grocery fulfillment center (FC) in Sonipat, Haryana, spanning 1.29 lakh sq. ft, contributes to job creation with a dispatch capacity of 23,000 orders per day.

This strategic expansion not only reinforces Flipkart’s commitment to robust supply chain infrastructure but also aligns with our vision of fostering socio-economic development and sustainability.

Empowering Women in Supply Chain

Across Flipkart’s warehouses and facilities, there are multiple shifts, run entirely by women, while two of our Grocery warehouses, in Guwahati and Coimbatore, are all-women facilities.

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At Flipkart, we embody inclusion. Over the years, we’ve seen the tangible impact and results of a genuinely inclusive workforce.

It gives me immense pride to see our initiatives like #FlipkartVidyarthini complete its second edition with resounding success. Vidyarthini is a uniquely curated experience to help understand the nuances of having a career in the field of supply chain, dedicated to fostering gender diversity and empowerment. For over 97 young and enthusiastic women participants from various B-schools, the program has sparked a transformative journey that is shaping the future of supply chain management.

Vidyarthini’s impact goes beyond classroom knowledge. It resonates with the principles of equal opportunity and equity by creating a platform for women to enter the supply chain arena and shatter stereotypes. The outcome of this endeavor is not only reflected in participants’ enthusiasm and confidence but their broader commitment to increasing opportunities for women within the supply chain industry.

Fostering Diversity & Inclusion

Flipkart is championing diversity and inclusion through innovative initiatives, showcasing a commitment to a workplace that reflects the richness of India’s population.

Our delivery hub in Laxmi Nagar, New Delhi is 100% run and operated by people with disabilities. At the hub, a team of 70 employees with disabilities deliver more than 1,500 packages daily across 91 PIN codes. Our dedication to fostering inclusion remains steadfast as we continue to create opportunities for individuals with disabilities in various supply chain roles nationwide.

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I am thrilled to witness the tangible impact of these initiatives, reflecting Flipkart’s core values and dedication to building a diverse, inclusive, and economically empowered ecosystem.

Inspiring India to grow

In May 2023, Flipkart contributed actively to business growth, focusing on MSMEs, sellers, artisans, and women entrepreneurs. A skill development workshop in Nagpur, held in collaboration with Simplydesi, a Flipkart Samarth partner, engaged over a thousand rural women and Self-Help Groups (SHGs).

I am also thrilled to report that our Flipkart Samarth program has trained over 50,000 sellers from Maharashtra, benefiting 1.5 million livelihoods nationwide and witnessing a remarkable 300% growth in its seller entity base over the past year.

A greener future for our planet

Over the years, Flipkart has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to environmental responsibility. This year, we pushed our boundaries and set precedents for a genuinely responsible and sustainable organization.

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In the pursuit of Net Zero across its value chain, the Flipkart Group is consolidating efforts to reduce 100% of its emissions, emphasizing energy efficiency and renewable sources. This commitment extends beyond operations to collaborate with sellers, consumers, and partners for a collective Net Zero emissions goal. As a member of the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative, we also aim to transition our entire last-mile delivery fleet to electric vehicles (EVs).

Flipkart is making significant strides towards a cleaner planet by aligning with the Climate Group’s RE100 initiative, pledging to meet 100% of electricity needs through renewable sources. Currently, we have a renewable energy footprint of 19MW across 44 sites, potentially reducing 28,000 tons of carbon annually, and we are accelerating our efforts with installations like rooftop solar power plants.

Our progress towards achieving our sustainability goals has been transformative, marked by relentless innovation and a shared sense of responsibility. In this journey, the four TRUE Gold certifications for zero waste awarded by Green Business Certification Inc. represent a significant milestone. These certifications serve as a testament to our commitment to setting a resolute benchmark for sustainable e-commerce, and redefining the industry.

Embracing resource efficiency and minimizing waste, we believe that e-commerce can be both environmentally friendly and maximize value simultaneously. These certifications validate our promise to continue pioneering eco-conscious commerce, making a tangible impact on our business and the world we share. At Flipkart, we remain dedicated to pushing the boundaries of sustainability and setting new standards in the supply chain landscape.

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In minimizing environmental impact, our Platinum-certified Haringhata Big Box project exemplifies the company’s commitment to sustainable infrastructure. I am very proud of this initiative as it reflects Flipkart’s leadership in sustainable practices, contributing to its broader vision of a green supply chain and a more sustainable commerce landscape.

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The success of the 10th Big Billion Days

The success of ‘The Big Billion Days’ (BBD) 2023 marked a historic achievement for Flipkart, with over 1.4 billion customer visits during the festive sales. Our kirana partners played a crucial role, delivering more than 4 million packages within the first four days of BBD.

Seller success reached unprecedented heights, boasting a remarkable 2X growth in crorepati sellers compared to BBD 2022. Our commitment to creating job opportunities saw 1 lakh new positions unlocked across the supply chain, including fulfillment centers, sortation centers, and delivery hubs.

Our Flipkart Samarth program also played a pivotal role in giving the spotlight to traditional arts and handicrafts unique to India. Our platform enabled weavers and artisans to showcase over 3.5 lakh products in home, furnishing, and lifestyle categories. Samarth sellers experienced a substantial 6 times growth compared to the pre-festive period.

Shaping India’s Greener, Smarter Supply Chain Future

At the cusp of 2024, India’s dynamic business environment presents unique opportunities for digital innovation. GenAI and low-code platforms not only enhance operational efficiency but also contribute to a more sustainable and transparent supply chain. The urgency to plan for an electric future underscores a commitment to environmental responsibility, creating exciting prospects for a greener, cleaner supply chain network.

The envisioned transformation promises to reduce costs, enhance efficiency, and unlock new models of success and I am excited to see what we can achieve. As organizations swiftly adapt, they play a pivotal role in shaping the future of India’s exhilarating supply chain landscape.

About the author:

Hemant Badri is Senior Vice President, Group Head of Supply Chain, Customer Experience & ReCommerce Business at Flipkart Group. He is a seasoned business leader with 20 years of experience across product supply chain, manufacturing, and customer service. Hemant spearheaded Flipkart’s efforts in strengthening the supply chain and enabling millions of brands, platforms, and small and large businesses across the country to seamlessly connect with their customers through its tech-enabled infrastructure.

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