As ecommerce companies slowly get back in shape to deliver essentials, the lack of delivery personnel to fulfil the increased demand has led the companies to ideate innovative solutions.
For instance, Grofers was looking to hire an existing idle semi-skilled workforce in its warehouses across cities. Similarly, it has come to light that BigBasket has partnered with the National Restaurant Association of India and Retail Association of India to offer jobs to those laid off due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The company is reportedly offering temporary job opportunities for restaurant staff and retail employees registered with NRAI and RAI.
RAI had launched a ‘Food Soldier’ Project to overcome the delays in the supply market. ‘Food Soldiers’ are all those individuals engaged in the supply, storage, retail and delivery of essential products who are risking their lives to ensure consumer needs for food and essentials are met.
The project aims to optimise the supply chain, ensure adequate staff and timely deliveries. RAI said that steps are being taken to deploy the workforce that is employed with non-food retailers in the stores that are selling essentials to overcome the shortage of manpower. RAI is also in discussions with online food delivery firms like Swiggy and Zomato to tie-up with retailers for the last-mile delivery of essentials.
Over the last week, since lockdown has been implemented across the country, ecommerce companies are facing a shortage of manpower for deliveries. Since the lockdown was imposed, several thousand migrant workers have left the towns while others faced challenges in coming out of the homes due to restrictions.
A part of this was solved by the government intervention and allowing e-passes to the delivery partners of all such ecommerce companies. Even then, delay of online orders has been pretty visible across the country.
While online grocery platforms such as BigBasket and Grofers have now reinstated their operations across cities, they are first trying to fulfil existing delayed orders and new orders are showing delivery slots over a week as well.
RAI noted that modern retail has de-grown by 30-40% in the last 15 days due to supply chain problems, shortage of manpower with attendance below 30% and lower customer entry due to social distancing.
The organisation noted that consumers are buying pure low margin items and hence the reduced sales give a margin of around 12 % against the normal 21%. It further noted that compulsory direct home delivery is not viable in a country where ecommerce is only 2%
The burden falls down on over 12 Mn kirana stores, which are finding it difficult to manage walk-in customers and home deliveries at the same time.