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Last Mile Deliveries Creating Countless Employment Opportunities For last mile delivery companies employ people from local towns and villages who do not have to travel far to earn their livelihood

By Abhishek Bansal

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The Indian economy is booming, and people's incomes and their purchasing powers are growing along with it. It is no surprise then, that the retail sector is being touted as one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the country.

E-commerce retailers and brick-and-mortar stores, both are selling more products than ever with 35% and 20% growth in year-over-year revenues in the two categories, respectively. Moving forward, the two channels are integrating with each other in a model known as online-to-offline (O2O). Both these genetically different retail models have a common requirement of delivering products at the customers' doors, sometimes even on the same day. This spells a huge opportunity for logistics in India at a hyperlocal level that can create employment opportunities for a million plus people in the next three years.

Flexi-time Opportunities in Last-mile delivery

Much like Uber matches car drivers with people who intend to hail a cab, logistics companies are matching delivery personnel to each unique delivery shipment. Anyone who knows how to ride a motorcycle and has surplus time in hand can join the bandwagon. This flexible earning opportunity attracts college students as well as economic immigrants who struggle to find a fulfilling job in the city. These micro-entrepreneurs or delivery partners can take home as much as Rs. 35,000 to Rs. 40,000 a month on a consistent basis.

The online-to-offline model is also set to bring in more business to the local kirana shops and retail stores. These local businesses will need more pair of hands as the trade volumes go up.

Economic Empowerment for Diverse Communities

Usage of technology & widespread acceptance of new modes of businesses, have made it easy for anyone to drive and deliver within the urban areas. This is further helping the logistics industry to become more inclusive and to open itself up to diverse communities.

Women appreciate flexible working hours as it allows them to balance their work with responsibilities at home. With technology able to support the delivery person on location & in customer coordination, it has also enabled differently abled people to find gainful employment by doing last-mile deliveries.

Employment in the Rural Last Mile

E-commerce companies are fast making in-roads to connect the last mile in rural India. In the process, the local kirana shops and recharge stores are turning into micro-warehouses and last-mile delivery partners for e-commerce companies. Each store owner in turn further hires local people to assist with operations.

Other than this, e-commerce companies are also building large fulfilment centres in areas further from the cities. These employ people from local towns and villages who do not have to travel far to earn their livelihood.

The Boon to Flexi-Earnings That is GST

Goods and Services Tax (GST) has further helped the on-demand economy and the flexi-staffing industry, according to an industry report. Logistics companies have always needed part-time or contractual staff for warehouse operations and deliveries. GST allows such companies to avail input tax credit on services received from tax-compliant firms. This has helped the organised market put forth an appealing alternative to the unorganised service providers who price low by not charging taxes on their services.

Career Progression in Hyperlocal Logistics

Compared to a few years ago when becoming a delivery partner was a dead-end career path, now a career in hyperlocal logistics offers professional progress also. A person who starts as a delivery partner can use the opportunity as a gateway to a much larger role in the industry. For example, at Shadowfax, within two years, delivery partners go on to become fleet owners, build their own network & evolve in their role. On the other hand, as companies are growing, they are willing to experiment partnering even with smaller players. Individuals today have the opportunity to start their own local delivery company by picking up franchisees, catering to small and large areas in their own towns and cities.

People have compared today's logistics industry in the country to the BPO industry in the early 2000. As the retail market gets organised and more people buy products online, hyperlocal logistics has at least an equal, if not more, opportunity to create an impact on the country's economy.

Abhishek Bansal

Co Founder & CEO, Shadowfax

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