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  Life   More Features  19 Jul 2018  Dabbawalas go digital

Dabbawalas go digital

Published : Jul 19, 2018, 6:13 am IST
Updated : Jul 19, 2018, 6:13 am IST

Mumbai’s network of dabbawalas team up with 13-year-old city boy to create a first-of-its-kind tech-enabled courier service.

(L-R) Ghanshyam Parekh, Tilak Mehta with the dabbawalas
 (L-R) Ghanshyam Parekh, Tilak Mehta with the dabbawalas

Mumbai’s indomitable connectivity gets another feather in its cap with an app-based courier service, Papers N Parcels, which launched in the city on Wednesday. This venture aims to bring together the power of mobile technology with the world’s most efficient delivery network of Mumbai’s dabbawalas.

Thirteen-year-old Tilak Mehta who developed the app, envisioned the ‘Uberisation’ of courier services. He wanted to build a system for the same day pick-up and delivery of couriers, all at the click of a button, “I had once forgotten my books at my uncles place in Borivali and wanted them sent over to my Ghatkopar residence urgently on the same day. But there aren’t any courier services doing that. That’s when I met a dabbawala in my colony and got the idea of same day deliveries with the help of their network,” says the young entrepreneur who studies at the Garodia International School.

The app also doubles up as a means of extra income for Mumbai’s dabbawalas who alternatively ride rickshaws or work as part time coolies at train stations. Talking about their association with Papers N Parcels, Subhash Talekar, spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association said, “The courier service will help us earn extra money in our free time. Currently 300 dabbawalas are working with Papers and Parcels. Most of our dabbawalas will be at every station across the city after completing their tiffin deliveries,” he explains.

Additionally, the company also has 180 independent courier delivery boys, apart from the 300 dabbawalas it relies on. Meanwhile, the app targets 1000-2000 deliveries per day, starting at Rs 50 per delivery and allowing up to three kgs for Rs 180, making it cost effective. The app is available on all android and iOS devices and will deliver everything from important documents, personal items, medicines and clothes.  

“For delivery on the same day, you must place your order before 2.30 pm and our delivery person will come and pick it up at your doorstep within two hours. You can then track your courier through our live tracking feature on the app and also have a dedicated customer service helpline in case you face any problems,” informs Tilak.  

Throwing light on the future plans of the company, Ghanshyam Parekh the CEO of Papers N Parcels says, “We cater to both individuals and corporates and are targeting one lakh deliveries per day by the end of 2019 and a turnover of 100 crores by the end of 2020.”

In the next six-months Papers N Parcels also plans to make its foray into Delhi and other metro cities in the country, only if things look good in Mumbai, “We have been in Beta testing for the last four months and I have travelled with the dabbawalas for 15 days to understand the operations. If things turn out well we will launch in other metro cities in the coming year,” avers Tilak.

Tags: dabbawalas, papers n parcels