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Woocommerce Category Post Widget
Its rival Grofers also plans to recruit 2,000 additional workers, as both the companies look to service a massive demand surge caused by the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
BigBasket co-founder & CEO Hari Menon told ET that labour shortage has emerged as the biggest worry for the company. “We invested heavily on (infrastructure) last year and have enough capacity for the next 18 months at least but workforce is a problem right now,” said Menon said.
SoftBank-backed Grofers said it is hiring workers for its warehouses, while Flipkart and Amazon have offered to double payments to temporary staff.
E-commerce companies have been facing a major manpower shortage, as migrant workers have returned to their native places, amid the virus outbreak. “Many workers staying home or going back to their villages and towns, we now require people…This is why we are hiring delivery and warehouse personnel,” said Tanuja Tewari, Vice President-Human Resources at BigBasket.
To be sure, online retailers such as BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon and Flipkart have solved issues around on-ground staff movement in at least the top 30 cities. They are, however, struggling to find staff to pick and sort orders at their warehouses and hubs, as well as partners for last-mile deliveries.
All these companies say they are now equipped to service higher demand since they have sorted supply-side constraints.
“Currently, 65% of our warehouse staff is operational and we are hiring an additional 2,000 people from industries that have been deeply impacted by the current crisis, such as textiles, manufacturing and services,” said Rohit Sharma, Head of Supply Chain at Grofers.
A senior e-commerce executive told ET that movement passes for employees have sometimes remained unclaimed simply because of staff shortage.
“I’ve got messages from some departments that there are 500 passes allocated to e-commerce companies that have not been collected,” the executive said.
Some workers are not being allowed to enter homes due to the fear that the virus will spread, an investor in the space told ET. “This has made a bulk of them either quit their jobs or sleep inside stores, which are not sustainable outcomes.”
BigBasket is operating at 40% capacity due to staff shortage, while Grofers said it is running with only 65% staff currently. They say more orders can be delivered if the issue is solved as capacity expansion and procurement from vendors are not a constraint.
BigBasket, according to Menon, is servicing 90,000 orders a day compared to 160,000 orders prior to the lockdown.
A Flipkart spokesperson confirmed to ET that it was offering incentives to on-ground workers. Amazon declined to comment.
Large-format offline retailers are also hiring more workers. Spencer‘s Retail and Nature’s Basket, for instance, have been conducting virtual interviews to hire store and delivery staff. Reliance Retail is relocating available workers in formats like fashion and consumer electronics into food and grocery stores.
(With inputs from Writankar Mukherjee in Kolkata)