Mumbai

Fragile, handled with care

Like most Mumbaikars, Mansi Mahansaria realised just how powerless she was against traffic. She had just picked up a cake for her sister’s birthday celebrations, and in the scorching heat and two hours of traffic jam, the cake started to melt. The original design gave way to a “practically new geometrical shape”, making Ms. Mahansaria wonder why there is no courier service for perishable items. The idea inspired her to launch ‘Just Deliveries’ in 2015, with temperature-controlled vehicles that would preserve perishable food. “It is like a last-mile courier for perishable items,” says Ms. Mahansaria.

She unveiled the venture with an investment of ₹20 lakh, two customised air conditioned vans and four staff. The initial years were slow for the business: carrying a single cake in an air-conditioned van with a driver and delivery boy did not yield profit. There were other challenges: for one, it wasn’t easy to find the right manpower. Says Ms. Mahansaria, “To drill professionalism into drivers and delivery boys, plus their retention, has been the biggest challenge.”

Moreover, the last-mile deliveries segment is largely unorganised, with just a few players working with large companies. Hence, most business owners have their own fleet of vans or depend on unorganised players, who turn out to be expensive and inefficient. Likewise in the Business to Customer segment, there is no service that can safely deliver perishables in perfect condition as open packages. Hence, clients handle logistics themselves by sending their cars and drivers who struggle with address location, parking and careful handling. Ms. Mahansaria says this is where she ran into the next hurdle: “To fill the gap and convince clients and also to customise vans with special insulation, cooling units and racks for safe carriage.”

The turning point came in 2016 when they started handling back-end logistics for restaurant chains — that is, stock their outlets every morning from the central kitchen.

Working in two segments

‘Just Deliveries’ now works in the Business to Business (B2B) segment and bulk and multiple deliveries. In the B2B segment, they help in delivering food products from the central kitchen to various outlets and bulk food products to institutional clients on a daily basis. They are the logistics partner for outlets like Moshes, Di Bella, The Nutcracker, Ellipsis, Fortune Gourmet, and Francesco’s. Says Rujuta Kulkarni, Operations Head, “We deliver frozen food, pizza raw material, salads, dairy products, bakery products and even confectionary items.”

In bulk and multiple deliveries, they handle distribution of wedding cards, cakes and bouquet for a range of institutional and private customers. Says Akash Kambli, Fleet Manager, “We recently delivered wedding invitations of Virat Kohli and Anushka’s wedding, Neil Nitin’s wedding, launch invites for the H&M store; Zaheer Khan’s store launch invites etc.”

Mathew Jose, Chief Operation Officer, Moshes finds their services “prompt and cost effective”. Just Deliveries has been delivering their food products from the central kitchen located in Turbhe, Navi Mumbai to all their five cafes as well as to their 25 retailers. Earlier, they had their own fleet of vehicles, “but managing these was not only costlier but also time consuming,” he says.

Niketu Mehta, Founder, Krimson, which designs high-end fragile gifts and wedding cards has been using Just Deliveries services for the past two years. “The gifts we design are delicate, fragile and need careful handling. Earlier we struggled to deliver these properly to end-users. Just Deliveries has been able to solve this issue with ease.”

The venture, which started with 8 to 10 clients, mostly home bakers and florists, today has over 50 regular clients including five star hotels, wedding planners, restaurant chains, frozen food companies, pizza chains and gifting specialists and handles around 150 deliveries in a day in nine vehicles. Their revenue has increased to over ₹9 lakh per month from Rs. 1.5 lakh per month in 2015.

Their charges largely depend on volume, address spread and dimensions. Says Ms. Kulkarni, “Our charges for gift deliveries are usually ₹200 per delivery while for back-end logistics we have monthly retainers depending on type of vehicle, temperature profile and route plan.”

Expansion plan

With the increase in the consumption of temperature-sensitive perishable goods, temperature-controlled logistics is crucial. Says Ms. Mahansaria, “We intend to continue expanding within Mumbai and build our fleet network to cater to more clients and build awareness for our services.” In other words, she says, they wish to build “an Uber-like cold chain network within cities for several small and medium enterprises in the food industry,” which they are currently unable to cater to. They are looking for the right investor “to ensure that more and more people are able to enjoy safe and timely deliveries of temperature-sensitive items at reasonable costs.”

Just Deliveries

Founders: Mansi Mahansaria

Founded: 2015

Funding: Bootstrapped

Employees: 20

Web: www.justdeliveries.co.in


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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 1:31:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/fragile-handled-with-care/article22971080.ece

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