The idea of a building a shared economy came to me one day when I was dropping my son to school. As I waited at the traffic lights, I noticed a tempo unloading crates of food at a restaurant outlet. I couldn’t help but notice the shabby state of the tempo, the dirty flooring and, where ice blocks were used to keep the food cool. The delivery helper, sweaty from the crazy heat was directly handling food items with his bare hands.
Now, In the F&B industry, this maybe the back end process, the non-customer facing side of business which is a cost centre as some would put it, however, it is an integral part of delivering a quality food product to the customer.
Why can’t there be a better way to do this? i asked myself.
As I began noticing the food industry closer, I saw the huge growth happening in India – I realized the sheer volumes of food movement happening daily within Mumbai alone. Food tech players like Swiggy and Zomato have made food delivery from outlets to you and me easy, but what happens to the backend logistics which actually feeds these very growing chains, the actual backbone to the F&B industry?
I remember standing outside modern trade stores – like a nature’s basket, a Star Bazaar- early in the morning and watch several vehicles deliver crates of food inventory for various brands – now imagine – each of their vehicles crawling through each of the 20 plus outlets- gross inefficiencies.
To dig deeper, I began talking to people in the industry – restaurateurs, food suppliers, distributors, modern trade stores……… and as I explored further, I realized that food inventory was getting stocked by various suppliers using different & independent logistics. Some owned delivery vehicles and others to keep costs under control would rely on tempos with dry ice or even stack crates in the dikkis of black and yellow taxis.
The whole ecosystem – was inefficient, unhygienic and disorganized; most importantly the sheer number of vehicles was choking our already congested city roads.
I had found the problem and I was determined to find a solution.
Could I build a business by creating a network of delivery vans that were hygienic, temperature controlled and used trained manpower to handle last mile within city deliveries?
With this idea in mind, the journey of Just Deliveries began.
We started in 2015 with our first client – a chain of cafes in Mumbai – our mandate was to ensure each of their 6 outlets gets fresh deliver their food inventory before 11 am daily. Today, they have grown to 25 outlets and our network of vans ensures their inventory reaches safely and timely to each outlet – thereby enabling them to grow without worrying about logistics and access.
Similarly, restaurateurs opening outlets in Pune would need daily logistics and would struggle to send small inventory stocks – at times even using the Volvo bus to keep cost low – we recognized this problem and now send a large food van to Pune daily – enabling several clients to share the vehicle.
The idea of paying for part time usage or part space usage had augured well. Why invest in owns own vehicle and have it standing idle for half the day?
My vision is to expand our shared services so there are fewer vehicles on road – I hope to be able to tap into a majority of all the existing food delivery vehicles – which are lying under utilized – put their productive capacities to use – make them growth engines and a profit center from being a cost center they are currently.
Many people don’t even care if this is called a sharing economy, they just see this as a better way to do things.
It is a fact that we can run any of the big cities of the world with just a fraction of the vehicles that are being used today.
If we organize our resources with a bit more sophistication and efficiency, we can truly create a world where we can access what we need, when we need it, while also creating a more resilient and sustainable future.