E-commerce grocery platforms' nightmare with delivery continues as the national lockdown enters its second week. Though the Government has allowed e-tailers to operate by letting delivery boys flash their identity cards and curfew passes, the big problem at hand is lack of manpower to do the delivery. Click on the BigBasket or Grofers app, one gets a notification that delivery slots are not currently available. The BigBasket app says that it is partnering with cab aggregators, restaurant associations and other retailers to help them with manpower. The Grofers app says that though they are delivering, due to a massive surge in demand and operational constraints they are not accepting orders.
Grofers, Co-Founder, Albinder Dhindsa, who in an earlier interview with Business Today, had said that the online grocer had a huge backlog of pending orders and was just taking 50 per cent of its order capacity, has recently tweeted that his company is urgently on the lookout of manpower. "If your company has idling semi-skilled workforce that can do with more income and work in a safe environment, please reach out to @Grofers. We are hiring in our warehouses to increase throughout in all cities," he said in his tweet.
A BigBasket spokesperson says that manpower shortage is the primary concern across the country. "We are working hard to solve this problem. Our HR and regional teams are working at full tilt to ensure we are recruiting more people as well as retaining our current employees." Though the authorities are allowing trucks to ply, the BigBasket spokesperson says the challenge is to find manpower to drive the trucks. "Also, given that some of the warehouses are situated outside the city limits, obtaining manpower is harder due to the travel restrictions imposed on the ground. The situation, however, has improved significantly over the last few days. We are also engaging with the government authorities to highlight issues faced by our manufacturers, suppliers and distributors and also to help with necessary approvals," adds the BigBasket spokesperson.
The online grocery platform, as of today, is operating at 40-50 per cent of its planned capacity. "To put that in perspective we were at 10 per cent on March 25," says the company spokesperson. In fact, a report by community social media platform, LocalCircles, says that the percentage of consumers who were able to find essentials on e-commerce platforms has gone up marginally from 39 per cent on March 25 to 41 per cent on March 30.