It could be coincidence or sheer luck that made this delivery boy a millionaire. A man who started with four-figure salary is now one of the most prized employees of Flipkart, India’s popular e-commerce destination. His story is another glaring example of the wonders ones dedication and hardwork can do.
Ambur Iyyapa grew up in Vellore, Tamil Nadu with a very ordinary upbringing. After his school, he reached Hosur, which was 125 km from his hometown, to do a diploma course. This landed him an apprenticeship with heavy vehicles maker Ashok Leyland for one year. After this he moved to Bengaluru and picked up a job of a delivery boy with First Flight Couriers. It was here that he discovered and polished his skills in logistics. Within a span of four years, he took a leap and became the manager of the logistics for all incoming mails for south Bengaluru.
Ambur thought this was a safe time to upgrade his skills and decided to do a three-month course. He applied for leave and completed his diploma course. But he was to meet with a shock upon returning. His position was no longer available with the company and he found he had nowhere to go. Luckily for him he heard from a delivery boy that Flipkart was looking for an in-house logistic person. Back then Flipkart was nothing more than a small, online bookseller who was almost unknown.
He approached their office and met Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal who were majorly concerned about problems in delivery system. He assured them solutions and became the first employee for a salary of Rs 8,000. “We were not looking for much,” admits Sachin. “All we wanted was a person who could speak some English and use a computer.”
Ambur recollects that he did not even get his joining letter for one whole year because there was no HR. First few days after joining were very confusing for him. It was a big shift for him where he had to look after 10-12 big publishers and around 100 deliveries a day. But turned our he was the kind that loved to take on challenges.
Iyyappa’s prolific memory came to his aid as he devised ingenious ways of coordinating with the delivery boys to ensure that customers were kept delighted. If a delivery boy reported that one vendor did not stock a book that a customer wanted, Iyyappa would lose no time in calling up another vendor who had the book in stock and arranging it to be delivered to the customer. Then he’d promptly call another delivery boy who was on that route and ask him to collect and deliver the book.
He provided every information that a customer wanted to know without even looking at the computer. He had become so vital for the organization that his number was listed as Flipkart’s customer care number! He started taking ownership and made necessary operational changes, like asking the delivery boys to take a print out from nearest cyber cafe rather than coming to office, making things smoother.
The Bansals were extremely delighted to have such a dedicated employee on board and offered him shares in their growing organization. This was a major gold for him as the value of the shares grew exponentially as Flipkart boomed. Withing one year his salary had grown by 10 times. Since then, Ambur has sold his shares twice the first time in 2009-10, for his wedding expenses, and again in 2013.
“In the history of Flipkart, at various points of time, people have joined because of whom Flipkart’s trajectory has changed in a material way,” observes Binny. “Iyyappa was the first of them.”
His shares today are worth many million dollars and are growing in value with every passing day.