Trusted transportation to protect
corporate India's transforming workforce
Many of the companies running business process outsourcing and IT operations in India are headquartered in the US or Europe, and the time difference means employees often work unusual business hours, coming and going late at night, or very early in the morning.
With public transport largely overstretched, companies must provide alternative solutions to ensure their employees can get to work safely and securely.
“To ensure movement of employees, a lot of corporate firms are using smaller, unorganised players that are able to provide transport services at a very low cost,” says Sanjay Sharma, General Manager - People Transport Solutions, Facility Services at G4S India. Smaller players currently account for 95% of the market, which is valued at around £450m per year.
However, these services come with a risk. Poor compliance, reliability and safety standards result in a lower quality service overall, becoming a hassle for customers that are forced to look into documentation, vetting and security issues themselves.
“It’s an incredibly important function, so it needs to operate smoothly,” says Sharma. “If a company is serving a market in the UK or the US and an employee isn’t there to answer a query because their transport is unreliable, it reflects poorly on customer service.”
Secure transportation is a new business area for G4S India, which comprises three core divisions: Secure Solutions, Electronic Security Solutions and Facilities Management.
“We know that companies are looking for services such as secure, reliable transport and it’s something that G4S is exploring,” said Sharma. “It is a natural extension from our work in providing drivers and marshals, and in operating and overseeing security services from control rooms.”
“G4S stands for safety, security and compliance. We’re good at handling these things,” says Sharma. “So we decided to establish a programme that would manage a fleet of vehicles supplied by vetted drivers and vehicle providers.”
SafeGo was launched as a pilot in India in 2016, and G4S now manages a fleet of around 50 vehicles, each with an assigned driver. Beginning in National Capital Region, the service is now operating in Pune in Maharashtra.
Currently, the fleet operates five to six days a week, serving nine corporate customers, including large multinational companies, and covering around 600km.
G4S takes ownership of supplier management for each contract within the programme, carrying out all necessary checks, including licenses, safety and verification, on both the drivers and the vehicles. “With SafeGo, customers can focus on their core business without having to worry about employee transportation,” says Sharma.
The vetting process is strict – making sure both vehicles and drivers adhere to G4S’s high safety standards. “Companies are finding great value in G4S managing transport contracts,” says Sharma.
SafeGo utilises high-specification vehicles that comply with state Regional Transport Office regulations. No more than three years old, each vehicle undergoes regular inspections to ensure compliance.
Depending on a customer’s requirements, the vehicles can be fitted with speed checking technology, panic alarms, radio-frequency identification tags, cameras, real-time remote monitoring and an SMS alert service – as well as GPS tracking, as standard. Every vehicle is operated by a verified driver, trained in advanced safe-driving techniques.
“We work with customers to establish their requests, business hours and employee requirements so we can create a customised service,” says Sharma.
In addition to secure vehicles, dedicated G4S contacts are assigned to customers to provide back-end support services and immediate emergency response.
Keeping employees safe
While the SafeGo service is available to any and all employees, increasing safety concerns of women in recent years have contributed to making safety a priority for businesses operating in India.
“Female employees are typically better represented in the business process outsourcing and IT sectors compared to others, so there are a lot of women using the service,” says Sharma. This representation is only set to grow. “In the future, facilitating more women into the Indian labour force will be a critical source of economic growth as the country makes use of this large and comparatively young demographic.”
Moving forward, the future looks promising for the initiative. “But, although we’re in the early stages, we’ve had a very encouraging response so far, and we are hopeful about the scope for further expansion.”