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The Challenging Lives of Delivery Boys


The e-commerce and food delivery industry has grown rapidly in India over the past decade. The advent of digital shopping has completely transformed our lives, offering the comfort of getting anything we desire delivered to our doorstep within just one click.

You can now also order a variety of food from different cuisines at affordable prices from any restaurant and have it arrived within the hour. It’s all so convenient. But behind this leisure and comfort are people who make this experience possible for us – the delivery boys.

A large number of people in the informal workforce today are those employed by e-commerce platforms, food delivery businesses, restaurants, and courier services as delivery associates. They are usually hired as contracted workers i.e., workers in the “gig economy”. While their job may seem easy, it can be extremely challenging.


Delivery Associate Duties and Responsibilities

While delivering food orders and packages to their destination within the given time frame is their core task, a delivery associate’s duties and responsibilities can be extended to cover a range of things – taking a toll on their finances as well as health.

A delivery boy is expected to pick up, transport, and drop off packages safely, as well as coordinate with customers to ensure optimum satisfaction. They are also expected to load and unload cargo, ensure that packages are correct, plan out delivery routes and timings, reschedule deliveries, accept and record payments, and submit reports.

Moreover, another responsibility that delivery boys have to deal with is performing regular maintenance and refuelling their vehicles – all out of their own pocket. The rising fuel rates have become one of the major challenges of delivery service faced by last-mile workers and are an added burden on those who are already struggling to make a living.

Apart from these responsibilities, the problems delivery boys face while bringing your orders are only increasing day by day.


What are the Challenges faced by Delivery Boys?

Following the COVID-19 lockdown, delivery associates working for e-commerce retailers and food delivery apps became a lifeline across the country. They have been playing a major role in ensuring that we continue to live comfortably as we maintained social distancing. While their lives were not easy before the pandemic, the problems faced by delivery boys during COVID-19 have been immense.

Working with clockwork precision and shouldering oversized bags, the delivery boys bring food, medicines, groceries, and various commodities to anyone who needed it. Despite their efforts and dedication, delivery boys have often been at the receiving end of the wrath of customers who selfishly disregard the challenges of delivery service.

They are also facing increased stigmatization due to COVID-19 since they spend time outdoors. This dehumanization is also one of the major problems faced by delivery boys during COVID-19, as they feel disrespected and undervalued despite their crucial role.

The disorderly and chaotic Indian roads mean that bikes are the best way for quick and cost-efficient delivery of products. While driving the bikes, delivery boys usually carry the backpacks on their shoulders. Carrying such heavy packages for long hours often puts significant strain on their neck, spinal cord, and shoulder muscles, leading to pain and inflammation, and even posing a risk of severe injury.

Other than that, they also have to climb staircases with these backpacks. All these cumbersome tasks, yet they receive meagre sums with every delivery and delays, regardless of reason, are met with disdain.


How to Minimize Problems in the Delivery Business?

Thanks to digital technology, the time-consuming process of visiting a restaurant or a retail store for buying what you need has evolved to give the way to online ordering. However, this revolution has not come without its troubles, especially to those who form the backbone of delivery businesses – the delivery boys.

When it comes to last-mile delivery, speed, cost-efficiency, and convenience are what shape customer experience. There is a need for a solution that can streamline last-mile delivery and make delivery transport more effective and efficient for delivery associates.

Businesses today need to re-evaluate their delivery strategy, keeping last-mile logistics in mind. The delivery experience needs to be positive not just for the consumers, but also the delivery boys.

As delivery boys are the representatives of your brand, delivery businesses ought to put in more efforts and allocate budgets on training, orienting, and enhancing the skills of delivery boys. To build a sustainable pool of on-field associates, e-commerce companies also need to compensate delivery boys fairly.

Companies need to improve their last-mile logistics with tech-based solutions to ensure a seamless delivery journey, ensuring that fewer trips are required but without adding any further strain on delivery boys.

Building an experienced base of delivery boys will not just improve your brand experience but also improve brand image and value. Offering a comfortable and efficient delivery experience can significantly minimize problems in the delivery business.

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