Hari Menon Explains How BigBasket Is Meeting Demand For Groceries

BigBasket faced a manpower crunch when its migrant employees left the cities

It partnered with Uber, restaurants and retail associations to hire new employees

BigBasket is currently delivering around 2.83 Lakh orders

In wake of the nationwide lockdown, operations of most last-mile delivery providers came to a halt. But many are back on track after a few days of disruption, mainly because of their tie-ups, which sorted issues related to the delivery of groceries and staples.

BigBasket, one of the largest grocery delivery platforms, also witnessed these disruptions. Cofounder Hari Menon recalls how immediate measures helped them through the initial hiccup.

In a series of tweets, Menon explained that BigBasket usually prepares for demands three months ahead. This includes setting up warehouses, procuring racks, picking devices, crates, hiring people, delivery vans, among others. “The list is quite long but meticulously planned,” he added.

Menon also noted that BigBasket has a close relationship with suppliers who are FMCG companies. Menon also claims that the grocery delivery platform has partnerships with over 15K registered farmers and mills.

Exodus Crippled BigBasket

BigBasket’s tie-ups were enough to address the surge in orders during the lockdown, but it struggled to deliver orders on time and even called off operations in some cities as employees left, said Menon.

“That was something we didn’t anticipate. This meant that we couldn’t pick orders and deliver them in sufficient numbers to satisfy the three to a six-fold increase in demand,” he added.

How BigBasket Is Trying To Make A Comeback

Despite the setback, BigBasket is currently trying to recruit warehouse staff and delivery executives in all cities. However, the Bengaluru-based startup partnered with cab aggregators like Uber and 57 other partners which included restaurant associations, non-essential retailer’s, garment factories, among others to tide over the crisis.

Menon said that recruitment and training do tend to take time. Also, a lot of people, who applied for jobs, were only willing to join after the lockdown ends. “Things are improving now at the employee front,” he added.

Do More With Less

After resolving the manpower crunch, BigBasket’s next challenge was how to reach goods to more customers with existing capacity. Menon said that this whole phase helped the company learn how to do more with less.

“We made many process tweaks to get serious improvements in people productivity, introduced community delivery in various apartments to deliver more with the existing manpower, the reduced assortment helped us deliver essentials only,” said Menon.

In the initial days of the crisis, BigBasket was delivering 30K orders per day, but now the company is delivering around 283K orders per day. Menon said that the expectations of the people are three to six times this number and the company is trying to do its best to deliver all the orders.

Refunds To Come Soon

Due to the initial woes, BigBasket also failed to deliver in many places. As of now, the orders stand cancelled while refunds are being processed. “The refund volumes are really very high. All our payment gateway partners are working very closely with us to ensure bulk upload of refunds. We will complete all pending refunds in the next two-three days,” said Menon.

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