“There is a surge in demand across domestic e-commerce, food-tech, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) and consumer durables companies. To meet this demand, Startek had to access talent across tier II and III cities,” Startek President Rajiv Ahuja said.
These sectors are now digitising their supply chain and customer channels, which is further translating into an increase in volumes of customer enquiries, supply chain management and back office services, he added.
Ahuja said the company has hired over 2,000 people during the past one month across its tier II and III centres in Chhindhwara, Bhopal, Lucknow and Vijaywada to meet the demand from these sectors.
Colorado-based Startek, which had acquired Indian BPO firm Aegis in 2018, remains bullish on its India business. It employs over 20,000 people across 17 BPO centres in India, including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.
“The company is leveraging digital and automation, and then converting it into a force multiplier versus trying to lead with pure labour arbitrage as their single biggest value proposition. For us, the future of work would be a hybrid model of multi-site strategy, cloud-enabled WFH and transitioning to tier II and III towns,” Ahuja said.
It also fits well with the ‘hub and spoke’ strategy to transition businesses that require rigorous customer compliance and risk management, he added.
The NYSE-listed BPO firm has registered a net income of $0.4 million in the September 2020 quarter compared to a loss of $2.8 million in the year-ago quarter, helped by prudent expense management throughout the organisation.
The company saw its net revenue falling 1.1% to $162.7 million in the quarter under review from $164.6 million in September 2019 quarter.
On a sequential basis, the net revenue was higher by 14% from $142.2 million in the June 2019 quarter.
The slight decrease in revenue was on account of depreciation of the Argentine Peso and the Indian Rupee, and the continued impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and lower active workforce in certain geographies, Startek said in a statement.
On a constant currency basis, net revenue increased 3.5% compared to the prior year period, it added.
The company’s third quarter performance demonstrates its continued progress in recovering from the pandemic and further improving operational efficiency, Startek Executive Chairman and Global CEO Aparup Sengupta said.
“We drove sequential quarterly improvements across all key financial metrics, as well as significant year-over-year growth on the bottom line. Further, we are operating at close to full strength relative to pre-COVID levels, with over 90% of our global workforce now active in either remote or on-campus environments,” he added.
Sengupta said the operational improvements and digital initiatives implemented by the company over the past several quarters have allowed it to expand its scope of work within its core verticals and launch several new client programs, all while maintaining a keen focus on cost management.
“This has been further supported by continued robust demand in the e-commerce and healthcare sectors, where clients are increasingly leveraging our differentiated, rapidly evolving digital solutions.
“Our recently introduced StarCloud omnichannel platform also continues to provide a seamless and secure customer experience for our clients by enabling remote work environments for our teams across the globe,” he added.
The company expects its digital initiatives to be a key driver of both future revenue growth and operating leverage, Sengupta said.
“We remain well prepared for a resurgence in Covid-19 cases within any of our geographies, as we now have the flexibility to quickly pivot operations with our StarCloud technology. With a strong foundation in place, we believe we are in the early innings of the next phase of growth for Startek as we look to carry our momentum into next year,” he added.