Even as Ola is ailing from a number of issues like repeated delays in production and delivery targets, quality control issues, fires, accidents & mishaps associated with the Ola S1 Pro, the company is amidst more fire from people in the social media. With the company planning to launch the base model Ola S1 in November this year, it is high time the company pull-up its operations and after sales support.
The Plight of Sachin in Parli, Beed, Maharashtra
Sachin is one among the countless Indians who jumped to buy the then newly launched Ola S1 in September 2021. While the company had clearly given a launch date and delivery in October, the company had to retract on its words and delay the delivery by more than 3 months. Sachin, who had paid the advance money in last September had only received his delivery in March 25th, 2022.
The Ola S1 Pro had functioned normally for 6 days & starting from April, 2022, it was a story of continuous headache for the buyer. As the electric scooter had ceased to function, he had taken it to the service centre. The Ola technicians at the facility had checked the scooter and then advised him to contact the customer support as they couldn’t find the reason behind the issue.
Upon contacting to the customer support of Ola, Sachin had received no help. Even after days of repeated attempts and trials the company is yet to hear the plight of this Ola customer. Finally, the buyer decided to take the matter into his hands or to be technically correct, on the legs of the donkey.
Angered by the indifferent attitude and poor treatment of buyers, Sachin had tied the Ola S1 to a donkey and started to tow the vehicle on the roads of Parli, a municipal corporation in the Beed district of Maharashtra. The video of him towing the scooter by tying it to the donkey is being widely shared on the social media.
Will Ola Learn From Its Mistakes
Ola is a multi-billion dollar start-up and it has amassed a huge number of loyal customers to the ride hailing and ride sharing business it had successfully built in India. However, the electric mobility arm of the company had constantly come under the fire for its ill-planned launch. The real reason for all these fiascos is the fact that the founder and the team had went away with tall claims and impossible delivery schedules without properly planning the logistics and operations.
Lack of Proper Planning & Experience in Manufacturing Sector
It is a textbook example of how a tech and service oriented company struggles to make it through in the manufacturing sector. Unlike the competitors of Ola, who had long experience in the launch of vehicles, the company had only experience in technological solutions and service. Even in the cab-hailing arm, the company had many issues with drivers and passenger complaining about exorbitant charges and issues with customer care.
The managing team at the company had not provided ample of cushioning and planning into the manufacturing facilities and other structural impediments. Software upgrades & security patches can be seamless integrated into the Ola app but quality control and assurance in the manufacturing of electric vehicles is a whole different ball game.
Impossible Schedules, Over Promises & Under Deliveries ;
The success mantra of the new-age start-ups is speed. Fail fast and Succeed faster could be ideal in most cases but that can’t be the motto of a product launch. The company had schedules that could be a nightmare for any manufacturing division. Unfortunately for the founder and the managing team, the company was not able to manufacture the required number of vehicles in the record time that the company had claimed to fulfil the orders.
The company oversaw the huge demand in the market and the manufacturing time for each scooter. Secondly, Ola had promised too much, too soon and delivered too little too late.
Lack of a Credible Service & Support Infrastructure
While the competitors like Bajaj, TVS, Hero, Honda and even Ather have spent years in building a robust delivery chain and service network, Ola wanted to take the market by its horns. Other new players in the market are steadily building the network and growing slowly. Unfortunately, the service network for electric vehicles are still in infancy in the country. For that matter, the electric vehicle industry is still in the early stages around the world. So, the improper planning, lack of proper customer support system and ill-announced delivery schedules have all angered the customers of Ola in the past few months.
What Ola Should Do to Get Back on Track
Ola and the managing team should come out and publically apologise for all the miseries it had wreaked on the innocent customers. The company should get a strict quality control and quality assurance mechanism. More importantly, it should invest heavily in after sales and support infrastructure. Of course, all these could cost a lot on the company’s plans and some investors won’t be happy doing the same. However, if the company is looking to save its face and grow in the future, it is the only way ahead.
So, what do you think? Will the electric mobility company do what is required or will it face more outrage in the public?