The Wonder of Mumbai Dabbawallas

Inspiration of Management supported by

• A dabbawala (one who carries the box, see Etymology), sometimes spelled dabbawalla or dabbawallah, is a person in the Indian city of Mumbai whose job is to carry and deliver freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers. Tiffin is an old-fashioned English word for a light lunch, and sometimes for the box it is carried in. Dabbawalas are sometimes called tiffin-wallas. For the efficiency of their supply chain it has been claimed that this virtually achieves a Six Sigma performance rating, (i.e. 99.9999% of deliveries are made without error, he is at CMMi level 6).[1] • Though the work sounds simple, it is actually a highly specialized trade that is over a century old and which has become integral to Mumbai's culture. • The dabbawala originated when India was under British rule: many Indian people who worked in British companies disliked the British food served by the companies, so a service was set up to bring lunch to them in their workplace straight from their home. Nowadays, Indian businessmen are the main customers for the dabbawalas, and the service often includes cooking as well as delivery.

Literacy Rate : 8th Grade Schooling Total area coverage : 60 Kms Employee Strength : 5000 Number of Tiffin's : 2.00.000 Tiffin Boxes i.000 transactions every day. • Time taken : 3 hrs .What is NMTBSA? (Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association) • • • • • • History : Started in 1880 Charitable trust : Registered in 1956 Avg.e 4.00.

i. Space) Rs.• Error Rate : 1 in 16 million transactions • • • • • Six Sigma performance (99. 200/month ($ 4.000*200=400.a. .e 48 crore p. Distance. Turnover approx.Rs.00 p.m.m.00/month) Standard price for all (Weight. Cost of service .000. 50 Cr.] • ―No strike‖ record as each one a share holder • Earnings -5000 to 6000 p.999999) Technological Backup : Nil. [200.

In Marathi and Hindi.DABBAWALLAS IN TRAIN COMPARTMENT The word "Dabbawala" can be translated as "box-carrier" or "lunchpailman". "dabba" means a box (usually a cylindrical aluminium container). while "wala" means someone in a trade involving the object mentioned in the preceding term. .g. e. punkhawala with "pankha" which means a fan and "wala" mean the person who owns the pankha (The one with the fan).

Bhikhubai of Borivali(East) • Mrs. Anandibai of Andheri(East) LATEST MARKETING STRATEGY: Marketing message in the ―dabba‖ .APPROACH DISCIPLINE : • No Alcohol Drinking during business hours • Wearing White Cap during business hours • Carry Identity Cards WOMEN: • Mrs.

Case Study : TBSA How do they do it…? • Organizational structure • Operations Tiffin Box Suppliers Association Executive Committee (5 members) Teams of 20-25 headed by a group leader • War against Time (10.30 – 1.00) • The Code Individual Dabbawalla workload = 30 tiffins .

so that there is no question of lack of trust. The local dabbawalas at the receiving and the sending ends are known to the customers personally.ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE The service is uninterrupted even on the days of extreme weather. they are well accustomed to the local areas they cater to. people communicate between home and work by putting messages inside the boxes. this was usually before the accessibility of telecommunications . such as Mumbai's characteristic monsoons. Also. However. which allows them to access any destination with ease. Occasionally.



C . Maintenance of wooden boxes – Rs 100 per person . Puja held per station Rs 50 per head. . police robbery of Tiffin Rs 500 yearly.FINANCIAL DATA OF A GROUP 1st group – Rs 125000 Total earnings -20 People Rs 35000 Maintenance cost Tiffin luggage basket pass – Rs 180 per person. Organizational fee Rs 15 per head. T. Maintenance of cycles – Rs 300 – 2 cycles per month.

was born as Ismail Najmuddin to a dabbawallah. California.Varkari Prabhodhan Mahasmati Dindi (palkhi) sohala – 4th march – 2001. until he is taken off the streets and becomes a movie star. delivering lunches all over Bombay (Mumbai) at the age of 10. Farishta joins his father. In the novel.Awards and Felicitation  Shri. Documentaries made by BBC . Dabbawalas feature as an alibi in the Inspector Ghote novel Dead on Time. MTV. .  Invitation from CII for conference held in Bangalore. Gibreel Farishta. and ZEE TV Dabbawalla services are popular with the Indian IT developer community in Silicon Valley. USA In literature One of the two protagonists in Salman Rushdie's controversial novel The Satanic Verses.UTV.

Some Achievements • World record in best time management. • Name in ―GUINESS BOOK of World Records‖. . • Registered with Ripley's “ believe it or not”.

LOGISTICS Logistics is happening 24 hrs a day. Logistical competency is achieved by coordinating the following:  Network Design     Information Transportation Inventory Warehousing .7 days a week and 52 weeks a year.

g.. Name) 12 : Floor No.• Coding VLP : Vile Parle (Suburb in Mumbai) 9E12 : Code for Dabbawallas at Destination E : Express Towers (Bldg. E : Code for Dabbawallas at Residential station. 3 : Code for Destination station (E. Nariman Point) .

• Let us now look at an example of these codes on the tiffins to better understand the system and what it all denotes: .


they choose to occupy the last compartment of the train. . The dabbawalas load the wooden crates filled with tiffins onto the luggage or goods compartment in the train.• 10:34-11:20 am • This time period is actually the journey time. Generally.

the unloading takes place at the destination station • Re-arrangement of tiffins takes place as per the destination area and destination building .• 11:20 – 12:30 pm • At this stage.

a special crate is dedicated to the area.• In particular areas with high density of customers. This crate carries 150 tiffins and is driven by 3-4 dabbawalas! .

.• 1:15 – 2:00 pm • Here on begins the collection process where the dabbawalas have to pick up the tiffins from the offices where they had delivered almost an hour ago.

RETURN JOURNEY: • 2:00 – 2:30 pm • The group members meet for the segregation as per the destination suburb. .

. the dabbawalas lighten up the moment with merry making.• 2:48 – 3:30 pm • The return journey by train where the group finally meets up after the day’s routine of dispatching and collecting from various destination offices • Usually. joking around and singing. since it is more of a pleasant journey compared to the earlier part of the day.

• 3:30 – 4:00 pm • This is the stage where the final sorting and dispatch takes place. The group meets up at origin station and they finally sort out the tiffins as per the origin area .

He took keen interest in their way of functioning. a Gandhi topi and a trophy by the dabbawalas.THE ROYAL VISIT: • • Recently. • . expressed surprise at their efficiency and was struck with awe when he was told that they didn’t employ any technology. The prince was presented a small memento. the dabbawala’s had royal company at Churchgate station. The Prince of Wales himself had visited them when he came down to Mumbai. accompanied with a garland.

RICHARD BRANSON CHAIRMAN VIRGIN ATLANTIC AIRWAYS MUMBAI • Sir Richard Branson. meeting the Mumbai's famed 'Dabbawalas' at their nodal point. Virgin Atlantic Airways. the Churchgate Railway Station in South Mumbai. 2005. . Chairman. on April 1.

the software will be soon available.Order Dabbawalas Products and services Online MyDabbawalas. office phone . mobile number . whether you want dabba on Saturday) and He will contact you to start the service. Please wait . home phone . office address . The order will be booked online and Dabba will be picked up from your home and will be delivered to office in time. Meanwhile you may send us E-Mail us at Sales@MyDabbawala. home address .com developing a software application through which the people of Mumbai can order Dabba service online through internet.Com with your details ( name. .

Each dabbawala is also required to contribute a minimum capital in kind. in order to keep up with the times. Such is the dedication and commitment of the barely literate and barefoot delivery boys (there are only a few delivery women) who form links in the extensive delivery chain. The return on capital is ensured by monthly division of the earnings of each unit. that there is no system of documentation at all. The success of the system depends on teamwork and time management that would be the envy of a modern and the white trademark Gandhi topi (cap).Com . A web site. the dabbawalas have started to embrace technology. with the barefoot delivery boys as the prime movers. An on-line poll on the web site ensures that customer feedback is given pride of place. has also been added to allow for on-line booking. white cotton kurta-pyjamas. There are no elaborate layers of management either — just three layers. in the shape of two bicycles. and now allow booking for delivery through SMS. - Sales@MyDabbawala. A simple colour coding system doubles as an ID system for the destination and recipient.Order through SMS Although the service remains essentially low-tech. mydabbawala. a wooden crate for the tiffins.

THANK YOU Presentation : Paavan Solanki paavans@yahoo.

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