Ensuring reliable logistics services can be challenging in Bangladesh due to several barriers, such as fragmented supply chains and limited use of technology. The absence of key elements results in noticeable disruptions in the industry.
In the wake of the Covid pandemic, there has been an unprecedented increase in the demand for digital logistics and delivery infrastructures. Despite these challenges, the market's dependency on the logistics industry and last-mile delivery companies has increased significantly. This surge in demand has led to the emergence of hundreds of logistics companies, each striving to establish their niche in the market and improve their services to meet the growing demand.
Frontline workers, such as riders and deliverymen, play a critical role in ensuring timely and proper delivery of goods. These riders navigate through congested and often unsafe streets, facing adverse weather conditions and other hazards, to deliver packages to customers' doorsteps. Given the importance of their jobs, companies need to find effective ways to motivate and retain these frontline workers.
As of March 2022, a Foodpanda rider's earnings depended on the distance covered. On the other hand, companies like Pathao and HungryNaki pay their riders a basic monthly salary with additional per-ride payments.
Recently, REDX, one of the industry leaders, successfully implemented a new rider work model that highlights the value of incentive-driven compensation. Along with fringe benefits such as medical services and seasonal bonuses, this new model, based on work volume, has significantly increased timely deliveries for merchants. It is worth mentioning that a large portion of riders consists of young people, including many students.
The burgeoning logistics industry in the country has created job opportunities for many young people, enabling them to earn income and contribute to their families' expenses while pursuing their studies. This is possible due to the flexibility offered by certain players in the industry. For instance, Lalamove allows riders to choose which days they want to work and which orders they want to deliver. REDX's new work model has also received significant positive feedback from riders who value autonomy in work scheduling.
It is evident that riders are the backbone of logistics operations, and therefore, rider retention should be a primary concern for logistics companies. Proper training is one way to achieve this. Daraz's Rider Graduation Programme conducts training sessions and workshops to help frontline workers level up and aspire to grow. Foodpanda also organizes recognition programs and has introduced a feature that allows customers to tip riders.
Most companies provide regular training for riders to ensure their understanding of the delivery process and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to efficiently handle parcels. Some companies have internal rewards programs, such as REDX Rewards, where top riders are recognized with various prizes. REDX also identifies high-performing riders and offers them growth opportunities and the chance to take on more lucrative roles within the organization when vacancies arise.
This is just the beginning of driving innovation, but it represents an essential step towards ensuring a bright future for the industry. Logistics companies must recognize the importance of retaining their frontline workers through fair compensation and benefits. Without these workers, logistics companies would not be able to provide reliable and quality service to their customers. Therefore, it is crucial to appreciate their efforts, invest in their professional development, and provide them with a safe working environment.
The writer is a freelancer