About 2.5-3 lakh are already delivering goods ordered online all over the country, according to estimates by Ikya Human Capital Solutions. Large ecommerce companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal, etc, are all looking to double the number of such delivery agents they source from staffing firms. “High-performing team members like Ram Singh are an essential part of our success story,“ said Neeraj Aggarwal, senior director, Last Mile Deliveries.Flipkart has more than 12,000 dedicated delivery agents, largely provided by major vendor Ekart.
Logistics and staffing firms are now scouting in villages, tying up with NGOs and employment exchanges, and hiring students on part-time basis to meet the soaring demand. Ikya has around 14,000 delivery agents on its payrolls and expects to double this in a year.It has a 70-member staff to hunt for delivery boys in cities like Bengaluru from nearby towns of Belgaon, Kolar and Tumkur.
Salaries for these last-mile agents range from ` . 7,000-16,000 with firms like Amazon and Flipkart reported to be the better paymasters. “Competition is high, they get 25% raise for lateral moves and we battle 80% attrition,“ Guruprasad Srinivasan, director staffing of the Bengaluru-based recruitments company . “We have to replace an entire team most of the times,“ he added.
Logistics firm Gojavas has grown from 20 delivery agents in 2011 to 400 in 2014 and expects to treble in a year. “We have tied up with 5 NGOs in Jaipur, Delhi and Mumbai, besides depending heavily on referrals and employment exchanges,“ said Vijay Ghadge, COO of the company. Its client list include Snapdeal, Flipkart, Lenskart and Yepme besides their former parent company, online fashion retailer, Jabong.
“We will need at least 25,000 delivery agents in the next three months,“ said Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of National Skill Development Corporation.
The last-mile agents are trained within the first 8-10 days. Companies need to keep them motivated by providing perks like gift coupons, grocery vouchers, team get-togethers etc. The constant weekly and monthly appreciation along with a career chart is rolled out to retain them. Loyalties change every six months; so firms look out for the likes of Singh and Tejas Chavan.
Tejas Chavan, 26, who works for online food chain Fasoo’s in Pune says the hope of a job in a bigger city keeps him going more than his present ` . 7,500. “I want to become a delivery leader or a cashier,“ he said.
Staffing firms like Randstad say they will have to come up with newer ways of hiring delivery agents. “We go to nearby villages, hold recruitment camps once in six weeks.But will now have to think of more ways,“ said Aditya Narayan Mishra, president, staffing, Randstad India.
Meanwhile, Flipkart’s Singh says the day his record gets broken, he will take out his vehicle to beat competition all over again.