Ambur Iyyappa, a delivery boy at a courier company is now a multimillionaire at Flipkart. Grew up in Ambur, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu, Iyyappa after completing his pedigree in Ambur, went for Hosur for diploma. There he gained a one year apprenticeship at Ashok Leyland, heavy vehicle makers. Later, he joined First Flight Couriers as a delivery boy in Bangaluru. In his 4 year career there, he worked with all logistics of incoming mails for South Bangaluru.
Deciding to improve his qualifications, Iyyappa took a leave from the company for a three moth course, but when he returned, First Flight replaced him. Flipkart at that time was just known for being an online bookseller and First Flight happened to be its one of the four courier partners. Iyyappa then heard from one of the delivery boy that Flipkart is looking for an in-house logistic person.
Iyyappa went to Flipkart office and met its founders; Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. He got the job and became Flipkart’s first employee. “For both the man and the startup, that simple twist of fate became a tipping point”, says Flipkart.
“He was out of a job and had no prospects and came at a very low salary of about Rs 8,000.”
Binny has described Iyyappa as Flipkart‘s “human ERP.” “Iyyappa would know exactly which books were pending to be bought, which customers were waiting for delivery etc. When a customer called, he would know exactly what was happening with his or her order without looking at the systems. He had also found an effective way of pasting all this order information into Gmail and using that as an ERP/servicing search engine for orders!”
“Within the first week, he knew everything about everything we were doing,” remembers Sachin, adding that Iyyappa had a photographic memory of every business incident that transpired under his watch. “We did not have an order management system at the time. Iyyappa was our order management system. He remembered every status, every order.” “When Iyyappa came in, he intuitively took away my workload,” says Binny.
“After a month of Iyyappa joining, we gave a referral bonus of about Rs 5,000 to the First Flight person,” remembers Binny. “We were so happy with him!”
“Sachin and Binny were my role models. They would teach me the work sitting right there. We handled everything among the three of us,” Iyyappa remembers. “Those days, it was all manual. The technology came later. “We had a JIT (Just In Time) procurement model. We divided the work among ourselves. Once we got the orders, we entered them manually into [Microsoft] Excel, entered the quantity and MRP, where to procure it, then took printouts, gave it to the packer who would go to suppliers…”
Now he’s an Associate Director managing customer experience at Flipkart and earns salary above Rs 6 lakh. He lives with his wife, mother and grandmother, uses a Suzuki access 125 moped.
“He’s one of the most hard-working guys I know. And he’s super-sharp,” says Binny about Iyyappa. Sachin concurs. “Extremely hard-working, Honest, Straightforward, to the point,” he adds.