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Indian-German Exchange Programme (IGEP


Exchange of Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai, India and
Rudolf-Eberle-Schule, Bad Säckingen, Germany

– Transport
or Transforming?


TVET1 – Technical
and Vocational
Education and

Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

00 Introduction
The IGEP (Indo-German Exchange Programme) was introduced in Spring 2013 as a vibrant cultural
and educational exchange initiative between the leading International Baccalaureate (IB) school,
Jamnabai International School in Mumbai, India, and the vocational school Rudolf-Eberle-Schule at
Bad Säckingen, Germany. The EUMIND (Europe Meets India) Project TVET 1 (Technical and
Vocational Education and Training 1) was added on to a small, existing international studies
programme for young adults in the school education system.
While in 2014, students focused on studying “History of TVET in Germany and India”, and in 2015
investigated “Production Lines - Challenge of Companies”, the 2016 chapter aims at exploring a
new dimension of the economic system, “Distribution - Transport or Transformation?”
As part of this project, German students observed the Indian dabbawalas in action at Vile Parle
train station, while they loaded, sorted and transported thousands of lunch boxes from and to
different parts of the Mumbai city via the local train and bicycles. The Indian students, on the
other hand, had a field visit to the German Post Distribution Center in Villingen-Schwennigen
where an automated reading, categorizing and sorting system prepares letters and parcels for
delivery by postmen.
The project aims at the following objectives:

To expose the students to an integral system of an economy
To acquaint the students of each country with the socio-economic context
To reflect on the similarities and differences between the two economies and societies
To evaluate the impact of the distribution system on society and the welfare system

In order to achieve the objectives, the project adopts an inter-disciplinary method of inquiry and
investigation, under the following topics:

History of Distribution
Exposition and Analysis of the dabbawala system
Exposition and Analysis of the postal distribution system
Technological View and Perspective on the postal distribution system
Social Impact of each distribution system
Dabbawala system as Model for Indian economies
Creation of Label and Logo for the two systems
Future Models of Distribution

By Pooja Sudhir, Dagmar Wolff

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

01 History of distribution
German Postal Service
The invention of writing is very important. In the ancient world people used postal distribution to
distribute their messages. They used this distribution in times of war as well. In ancient Egypt, they
used the river Nile to send their messages to places that were far away, this is because an efficient
postal system did not exist back then.
In the Middle Ages in Germany, the church was responsible for the
post. Later they segregated into three organisations which managed
the distribution. Due to the low cost of paper, the number of private
correspondences started growing rapidly. These private messengers used horses and ships to
distribute their letters.
In the early 1680, letters weren't delivered to people's home's free of cost. They had to collect
their letters from the post house. A high price of 3 Pfennig (today 3 cent) had to be paid to the post
master if they wanted their post to be delivered to their
homes. Since 1710, they started delivering the post to
everyones houses. If you send something, it has to be
for in the post house a while with the delivery charge
the post master remunerated to his postman. Letters
cost 3 Pfennig and packets cost 6 Pfennig. Two years
later Prussia established a law, saying the postman has
to take it to the acceptor. In the 19th century more and
more cities with post houses were founded. There were private companies that sent out the letters
and packets, but in the middle of the 19th century the state imposed the delivery costs and since
April 1900 the private companies have been banned.
1872 they used bycicles to send out the post and till the end of the century they had connections
throughout the world.
In the past there was no method to identify letters and packets
prior to the Second World War. Post World War 2, cities got numbers and on the character they wrote the number, so that the postcenter knew in which city they had to send it. After the number a
character of the alphabet followed. This was just to send packets. In
1950, a new system was created containing a postal code that
consisted of four characters and numbers. The first number would
give information about the zone the letter had to be sent to. Then a
character for the district followed, on the last position the target

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
After the Second World War the target location was marked in East Germany with an O (O-Osten = East) and the target location in West Germany
with a W (W-Westen = west). Since 1993 we have been using a postal
code consisting of five numbers. With the postal code they wanted to
make the post system better and easier but especially to make the
distribution faster.
Today Germany has the German Post, with it we can send all our letters
and messages.

Indian Dabbawala System
These are the men who every day, in the fast paced life of Mumbai, provide home cooked food to
the working class in their offices. Yes, these men are the famous Dabbawalas.
It began around 125 years back when a Parsi financier wanted to have home cooked fresh meals in
their offices and this brought about the first ever Dabbawala. Other individuals additionally loved
the idea of getting hot lunches daily and the Dabba conveyance took off. Furthermore, in 1890,
Mahadeo Havaji Bachche decided to begin and administrate lunch transportation with around a
hundred men. This is when the dabbawala system officially took off. In 1930, Mahadeo casually
endeavored to unionize the dabbawalas. Later, a magnanimous trust was enrolled in 1956 under
the name of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Trust. The business arm of this trust was enlisted
in 1968 as Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier's Association. The current president of the affiliation is
Raghunath Medge.
Even after functioning for
more than a century, the
dabbawalas effectively
meet all requirements for
the heavenly chalice of
value control – the Six
Sigma benchmark, initially
grasped by management
mogul Jack Welch in the
1990s, to maintain this benchmark the dabbawalas can only afford 3.4 defects for every million,
which means they achieve a 99.99966% success rate.
The Coding framework has also been developed into different segments with time. Initially it was
basic colour coding. However, their coding has now advanced into a complex system of alpha
numeric characters. The same is shown below:
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
Throughout the last century, the dabbawala system
has gained not only national but also international
In 2003, Prince Charles visited the famous dabbawalas of Mumbai at Churchgate Station. The dedicated dabbawalas could only meet the Prince of
England for 20 minutes before leaving to transport
dabbas across the city.
In 2005, Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, showed his enthusiasm for this
ingenious system by being a dabbawalla for a day and personally transporting lunches to his
After his visit to the dabbawalas in Mumbai, Prince
Charles was so impressed that he invited two famous
dabbawalas; Ragunath Medge, the President of the
Dabbawalas’ Association and Swapam More, the
President of the Dabbawalas’ of the Trusts to his Royal
The exchange program has provided access to the famous and the most demanded dabbawalas in
Mumbai, India. The awe inspiring workings of the men have made us curious to know the history
and the past of the dabbawala service. It goes without saying that the demand and efficiency of
the dabbawala service has not decreased through a time period bursting with globalization and

By Alexandra Durandin, Hrushit Divatia, Philipp Stratz, Tanya Madhok

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

02 Exposition and Analysis of the Dabbawala system
On February 08, 2016 the students visit the dabbawala
distribution knot next to the Vile Parle station, one of
the hubs as a counterpart to one of the German postal
distribution center in Villingen-Schwennigen.
After the dabbawala had arrived and stated sortening
the tiffins the head of the group was briefly explaining
the dabbawala system and codes on the tiffin boxes.

The Dabbawalas are men in Mumbai who carry and deliver food
for the office workers. The food is mostly made by the wives of
the office workers and is delivered in special lunch boxes. The
word Dabbawala means in English “box-carrier” or “lunch
pailman”. The service of the Dabbawalas is very reliable and a
good opportunity for the office workers to eat fresh and tasty
food from their home.

Dabbawalas have an extremely efficient organizational structure which maximizes their service
and increases consumer satisfaction. They were also mentioned in the Guiness World Record for
the Best Time Management. Their hierarchy can be seen herewith:

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
How they work in accordance to time:

8.30 to 10.34
Early in the morning a dabbawalla takes bath and does his pooja
(prayer). Puts a tilak (religious mark) on his forehead and by 9 am
he is out on the streets with his bicycle. These bicycles are heavy.
Their carriers are designed with extra iron to be able to take a lot
of weight.
10.34 to 11.20
This time period is actually the journey time. The dabbawallas
load the wooden crates filled with tiffins onto the luggage or
goods compartment in the train. They use the train because it is
the most accessible, cheap and efficient mode of transport
which branches throughout the city of Mumbai. Generally they
choose to occupy the last compartment of the train which is a
special compartment meant for carrying large goods. This
ensures that no tiffins are lost and any confusion is avoided.

11.20 to 12.30
At this stage the rearrangement of tiffins takes place as per
the destination area and building along with the unloading of
tiffins at the destination station. This helps them become
organized and conduct efficient delivery. They use a code
system in order to differentiate the various tiffins, as follows:
A colour-coding system identifies the destination and recipient
in order to make it easier for the identification of the tiffins.

12.30 to 1.15
They deliver the dabbas during this time. This is not in any way a small
operation. The dabbawalas deliver an astonishing 200,000 meals across
the city, every day with incredible efficiency and almost perfect
accuracy. Western companies like Amazon and FedEx strive to achieve
that kind of accuracy through advanced technology. However, the
dabbawalas can do it without the same.

1.15 to 2.00
This is the time period for the collection process when the dabbawalas have to pick up the tiffins
back from the offices where they had been delivered almost an hour before. The collection process is done in an extremely careful manner so that they do not lose or exchange the tiffin boxes.
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
2.00 to 3.30
The group members meet for the segregation in accordance to the destination. The return journey
by train is where the group finally meets after the day’s routine of dispatching and collecting from
various destinations offices and households.
3.30 to 4.00
The final sorting and dispatch of the tiffins takes place. The tiffins are sorted
out as per the original areas after the group meet up at the original station.
Usually the segregation takes place in such a way that the same dabbawalla
takes charge of the delivery of the same tiffin to and from in order to keep
the trust factor intact and avoid confusion.
Teamwork, discipline and honesty are the main principles that the dabbawalas function with. They
are very famous for their efficient time management which is very important for the dabbawallas
and also for their customers. They are popularly known and trusted for their precision and
accuracy in delivering the tiffins on time. This is what makes their delivery system the most
accessible, approachable and reliable in the buying city of Mumbai. One of the most important
advantages is that the customers have the oppurtunities to eat fresh and warm meals from their homes.

However, the dabbawalas are over-dependent on the local
train service (Vile Parle (West) Station). In times of unfavourable weather and high alerts, there is increased pressure on
the dabbawalas to perform to their fullest ability and keep
up their momentum in their battle against time. They have
to constantly be on their toes and be highly spontaneous in
times of urgency.
Additionally, the dabbawalas have limited flows of funds
which minimizes their revenue streams in order to expand their network or boost their efficiency.
To improve their service, dabbawalas can initiate tie ups with other caterers in the city which could

enable them to not only deliver ready-made food but also offer a variety of food from their side
which the customers can directly buy.
By Tanvi Nathwani, Roshni Aggrawal, Tilbe Beydil,
Lena-Celine Treffler, Natalie Stark, Ipek Tümkaya


Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

03 Exposition and Analysis of the
German postal distribution system - DHL
On June 06, 2016 the students visited the German postal distribution system – DHL
in Villingen-Schwenningen, one of the postal distribution centers as a counterpart to
the Dabbawala system.
First the students and teachers were welcomed by the Public Relation Manager Herr
Ketterer. He explained the postal system in general and in specific the postal distribution center in Villingen –
After a short break the group
was guided around the distribution center and every single step
of the processing of letters in the distribution center
was explained.

German postal distribution system - DHL
DHL presents itself as the Logistic Company for the world and a
part of the Deutsche Post DHL. It has built up a global network
composed of more than 220 countries and 300,000 employees
worldwide in charge. DHL is known as the world market leader
in sea and airmail.
DHL was found in 1969 in San Francisco by three founders, Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn.
There had been three owners of DHL, until in 1998,
Deutsche Post invested in DHL, and DHL became its fullyowned subsidiary in 2002. The headquarters of DHL is in
Bonn, Germany.

After a customer has deposited a letter destined for a distant address in a post box, a
postal carrier removes all the mail from the box; however, in crowded areas such as
train stations, the postmen are seen more often for faster distribution and efficiency.
The letters are then taken by the postman to the Post Office where he or she works.
The letter and mail collected by other carriers of that Post Office are placed on a
truck and taken to a Deutsche Post Centre. In rural areas, the letters need to be
collected earlier on account of the fact that these areas are located farther away
from the centre.

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

The first step at Deutsche post is the process of culling wherein postal
workers send the collected letters through a machine that rapidly
separates mail by shape and size. The machine orients letters to make all
the addresses face the same way and ensure that they are right side up.

It then applies on the letter a postmark with the date and place
the letter was sorted along with applying cancellation lines to
prevent the stamp from being reused, thereby, protecting postal
revenue. This is known as the process of post marking.

Every letter is identified by a code consisting of a series
of fluorescent bars imprinted on the front of it. The
address on the front of each letter is scanned by an
optical character reader. Images of letters that could not be successfully read are transmitted to a remote
encoding center for further processing. All letters are placed in trays and moved to the next piece of
automated equipment for barcode application.
At the postal service, the letters in the tray are fed through a barcode
sorter, which separates letters for a specific ZIP Code from other letters in
that ZIP Code range. After this, the letter receives its final sortation. A
delivery barcode sorter sorts the letter to the particular postman who will
deliver it. It also arranges that postman’s letters into the order of delivery.
Next, all the mail for this postman is taken by truck to the Post Office,
station, or branch where he works. The postman loads trays of mail,
including the letters, into a motor vehicle after which he drives to the
address where the letter is to be delivered.
Deutsche Post needs maximum a day to deliver a letter. Out of the 100
letters delivered, 95 manage to arrive on time.

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
Swot analysis

reduced labor costs - the availability of technology
has allowed the postal service to employ its employees in profitable work rather than spending
their time and money on sorting and tagging the
skilled workforce - skilled labor refers to labor that
requires workers who have specialized training or a learned skill-set to perform the work. The
workers here are all specialized in their work which adds to the efficiency of the postal service.
existing distribution and sales networks - the existence of various branches increases profits.


future profitability – the existence of various other means of sending messages could slowly lead to
decline in profits.
productivity – since other means of messaging are becoming famous day by day, the incentive to
do good service is declining.
competitive market - the presence of other mail delivery companies such as FedEX give
competition which reduces profits.


global markets - the expansion of the postal service after joining with DHL is a good way to make
its way to markets of other countries.
growing economy - as the economy of Germany grows, profits for them increase, too.
income level is at a constant increase – since income is constantly increasing, it creates incentive of
working for the workers.


increase in production costs - the availability of technology has caused an increase in the overall
cost incurred by the company.
growing competition and lower profitability – preference of people towards technology and other
companies has reduced profits.
government regulations - the imposition of taxes by the government causes the company to incur
extra costs not beneficial for it.

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

By Gamze Acar, Tuba Yilmaz, Jessica Weißenbach,
Nicole Hudjetz, Nishika Khubchandani, Shubhangi Singh


Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

04 Technological View and Perspective on the
German Postal Distribution System
The German Postal Distribution System uses advanced technology to receive, sort and distribute
the letters. This system is very modern and uses
only machines. The need for manpower to do
manual work has been reduced considerably over
the years.
The Deutsche Postal Services uses over 18 million trays per day through the conveyor system to
sort the letters. The Delivery Barcode Sorter (DBCS) reads over 36,000 barcodes in order to sort
the letters out by size. The Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFSM) sorts out flat mail at 17,000
pieces per hour. The Automated Packaging Services (APPS)
sorts and bundles packages, at the rate of 9500 piece an hour.
The Automated Parcel and Bundle Sorter (APBS) are very
similar to the APPS, except it sorts packages and bundles mail
at 6,000 pieces an hour. These are the services used by the
Deutsche Postal Services in order to arrange the mail.
Most packages with tracking barcodes are scanned through the postal services itself and thus, the
APBS’s have upgraded their camera technology and increased their barcode reading rates.
Another technological service that is going to be adopted is the ‘Mobile Point of Sale’ – MPOS – a
system that consists of an iPod, a portable receipt printer and a postal printer.
Furthermore, the handling of the letters in the postal services will improve with time, as a costeffective system for processing Undeliverable-as-Addressed (UAA) mail is going to be implementted. The Postal Automated Redirection System (PARS) will handle the forwarding of UAA letter
mail more efficiently than today’s manual or mechanized processes. Letters that should be forwarded will be identified and intercepted during the initial handling and automatically redirected to
the new address, resulting in a reduction in total handlings and processing costs.
Technology has also been used to improve the dispatch operation efficiency. Development of prototype flat-tip unlidding and mail tray unsleeving has been completed and ready for field testing
for operational reliability. A major accomplishment of the past year has been the successful
transition from moving mail using common carriers for air transport to using the USPS – FedEx
agreement. This required updating some of the material handling equipment in order to produce
identification and tracking codes that could be used by the new carrier. The reduced reliance on
common carriers for air transport has drastically reduced costs, improved services and provided a
more predictable outcome.
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
In the last 20 years, nearly 13 billion dollars have been spent in order to improve the collection,
delivery, sorting and security of the postal service. This investment has helped decrease the
general cost of mailing due to automation reducing wages and technical economies of scale. There
is a general increase in productivity allowing productive efficiency to be achieved. Economies of
scale drive the costs down further as new technology allows more mail to be sorted which adds
bulk and size to the postal operation.
In comparison to the machine based system of the Deutsche Postal services, Mumbai has a similar
system of the ‘Dabbawala’ network which, surprisingly, does the same segregation manually.
The Mumbai Dabbawala is a highly efficient and low cost delivery system of lunch boxes based on
low technology and very good organization. The entire system is developed by individuals who
have little or no education in logistics, planning or organization.
There is hardly any electronic or mechanical help used; the only help used is an online website
which enables last minute orders. Even though there is no fueled transportation, computers or
modern technology involved, only one lunchbox in 6 million gets lost.
The difference to other postal services is clearly visible. As mentioned earlier, the entire system
only works with the help of train schedules, bicycles and delivery men. The system is very complex
and completely manual, using collection teams, sorting points and delivery zones to bring the right
meal to the right destination.
Since most of the Dabbawalas can’t read, the labelling system consists only of numbers and colors
painted on the lunchboxes. The lid has three markings on it. The first marking has one large number, which stands for the neighborhood that is to be delivered. On the edge of the lid, the second,
there’s a number which stands for the Dabbawala who should deliver, an alphabetical code for the
office building and a number for the floor. The third is some kind of color and shape which
indicates the state of origin. To reach the proper destination, the lunchbox goes through many
First it is brought from the customer’s home to the train station; this is where it’s sorted according
to its destination. It is brought to the station closest to its destination, by train. It is sorted again
and another worker delivers it to the office on time for lunch. This whole process is repeated to
bring the lunchbox back to the customer’s home. The codes are exactly enough information to let
them know where the lunchbox has to go. Each Dabbawala is trained in each activity: finance,
sorting, transporting, collecting, and working with customers.
Thus, if we look at both the systems, they both include receiving packages, sorting them and then
distributing it. While one is based solely on machines, the other system relies on men to physically
carry out the process. Despite this major difference, both the systems are highly efficient in their
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
respective processes. The use of technology has, undoubtedly, made the postal services much
more effective, but the Dabbawalas have also outshone themselves by employing so many uneducated men to create such a successful network.
While it may seem that the dabbawala system should emulate the German postal system, there is
a lot that the postal service could learn by humanizing their distribution process. This would lead
to more jobs being created for uneducated people. Adding a human element to the work should
help customer service and make the experience more reliable.
The dabbawalas have also become more modern in their approach. This is evidenced by increased
reliance on texting to communicate and websites to sign up for food delivery programs. However,
there is still room for improvement as a little bit of automation will definitely reduce their
distribution cost and allow them to take their business into the 21 st century.

The two pictures show a comparison between the machine services and the Dabawalas of Mumbai. There is a clear contrast between the automation in the German postal system and the use of
human labor in the dabbawala system.
By Khushi Khatri, Arjun Mehra, Nimisha Mazumdar, Sydney Zumkeller
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

05 Social Impact of each distribution system
Social Impact of the Dabbawala System
The dabbawalas’ lunch delivery system dates back to the year 1890 where an immigrant from the
Pune district, Mahadeo Havaji Bacche, started this extremely efficient delivery service. Currently,
there are 5,000 or so dabbawalas in the city who have an astounding service record and conduct
400,000 transactions in six hours each day, six days a week, all through the year, in the world’s
fourth most populated city, mistakes being a rarity.
The semi-literate dabbawalas, who come all the way from the district of Pune, are known for
largely managing themselves and over the years have achieved a high level of performance at a
very low cost, in an ecofriendly way, without the use of technology. They have been certified with
a sigma six by Forbes for their dynamic delivery system.
The beginning of this delivery system has led to a large social impact on the Indian economy and
provides immense job opportunities as well as being a charitable organization for the underprivieged by providing them with the leftover food.
Mumbai being a hub for immigrants from all over the country looking for various job opportunities
was and still is overflowing with a workforce that is largely unemployed. The dabbawala system
that is spread out over the entire city and delivers more than 175,000 lunchboxes per day, provides immense employment opportunities for the workforce.
The tiffin conveyance system is not just upheld by a perplexing logistic, additionally by a unique
moral code. This code is the declaration of the interrelationship between a particular sign of the
Hindu confidence—which can be followed back to the Varkari Sampradaya group—and India's one
of a kind social reasoning This request places support at the point of convergence of its rationale,
considering it to be an analogy for life, and its essential, material motivations and profound
cultural beliefs and aspirations.
With changing times and needs of the population, modernization has not only affected the
youth but also the dabbawalas. 1.6 million people in Mumbai enjoy their lunch; two hundred
thousand children on the street go hungry while
at least two will starve to death. To deal with this
critical issue, the dabbawalas have initiated a
welfare association for this cause. Out of all the
food that the dabbawalas deliver, around sixteen tons worth of food is left uneaten. They have
introduced a ‘share’ sticker system, where the consumers place the sticker on their dabbas if they
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
have food left, and then the dabbas with the stickers on them are set aside, the food collected,
and delivered to the children by volunteers.
The Dabbawalas are an excellent example of the well-organized service sector of India, providing a
sense of community through social aid, for both the privileged and the underprivileged and
immense pride for Mumbai.

Social Impact of the Postal Service
Deutsche Post DHL Group is present in over 220 countries, with a workforce of over 285,000
people; the center in Germany alone has 170,000 employees. DHL started working the main
worldwide door to door expedited service administration on the planet.
At the point when Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn set up DHL in 1969, they all the
while designed the universal air express industry. In the beginning, the three partners conveyed
delivering records via air, so they landed at traditional workplaces before the cargo, and empowerred products to go through traditions with less time delay. DHL prides itself on being one of the
most efficient mail delivery systems in the world, allowing people to stay connected and
promoting the idea of a global village.
Deutsche Post DHL Group believes it owes its prosperity to the dedication, inventiveness and
mastery of its roughly 500,000 representatives around the globe. The extraordinary state of inspiration among their workers can be ascribed to a corporate society established on openness, trust
and shared admiration. Future-situated and feasible HR improvement is critical to guaranteeing
their long haul business accomplishment, similar to the making of an alluring workplace free from
preference, segregation and stereotyping.
DHL, with its technology, still manages to care for the environment, indirectly caring for the world
and protecting our society. With their green arrangements they help their clients to decrease their
natural impression. This is not just useful for the earth, it is likewise a perceived focused component: despite environmental change and the unsafe impacts of an Earth-wide temperature boost,
shoppers progressively consider ecological issues in their buying choices.
The same applies to financial specialists who counsel supportability rankings when searching for
reasonable venture choices. With their worldwide nearness and mastery, their business segments
can boost clients to accomplish their ecological objectives. Their portfolio ranges from individual
atmosphere unbiased shipments for private clients to the streamlining of multinational companies' whole supply chains, which can sometimes be considered a security threat on a global level.
Natural assurance is a vital piece of our Group procedure: Back in 2008, they presented a quantifyable atmosphere security target - and were the primary logistics supplier to do as such. They have

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
taken this methodology since they see ecologically amicable and productive logistics as a chance
to cherish our surroundings.
Hence to conclude, both the dabbawalas and the DHL postal service system while contrasting and
unique in their own ways share one thing in common, they have an impeccable and amicable
organizational structure and are unwaveringly efficient.
By Manashi Kanade; Prerona Chatterjee, Daria Durandin


Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

06 Dabbawala System as Model for Indian Economies
Dabbawala System
In an ever evolving Indian economy, which is constantly becoming more and more modernized,
there is a general conception that technology is more efficient than traditional Indian methods.
However, the existence of the dabbawalas just proves otherwise.
A dabbawala is a person in India, most commonly in Mumbai, who is part of a delivery system that
collects freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of workers in the late morning,
delivers the lunches to the workplace, predominantly using bicycles and the railway trains, and
returns the empty boxes to the worker's residence that afternoon.
One example that highlighted their efficiency was on 26th July 2005
when the whole city of Mumbai was battered by unusually heavy rain.
On the second day of the flooding, even before the city had limped
back to life, the dabbawalas were back at work, wading through the
water. They rapidly turned into a symbol of gritty resilience.
The system of dabbawala is extremely intense and complex and it can
get confusing even for some Mumbaikars. Many multi-national companies have studied this method and tried to incorporate these skills in
their work ethics. The dabbawalas have a mix of different organizational structures - the clock-work organizational structure where they do
not work all day but only work for a certain amount of hours every day and the flat organizational
structure, which is an organizational structure with fewer levels of hierarchy in the organization.
With 5,000 dabbawalas supplying to approximately almost every middle class working man in
Mumbai, and that also delivering at the exact time, one can assume how convenient this mode of
transport is. Their method should be easily used in the human resources department, which is the
backbone of any organization.
The 5,000 dabbawalas have 635 supervisors which means every dabbawala has specific system
which he cannot deviate from but he still has the flexibility and the autonomy to innovate and
make his own decision which was the primary reason why all modes of communication except for
the dabbawala system couldn’t work during the Mumbai floods. In addition to this, the
dabbawalas have a very rare communication code as we can see from the picture.
In an extremely fast-paced modern metropolitan like Mumbai, there is a big shortage of time. The
dabbawalas have mastered the art of time management, where they have only 20 seconds
between railway stations, where they don’t get any time to pass on messages, so these codes
work as the best mode of communication, and they are so efficient, there have hardly been any
complaints about a wrong parcel. So their methods if used in corporate life, then the allocative
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
efficiency of a firm will increase significantly, the cost of production will reduce and there will be
both consumer and producer surplus.

Dabbawalla system as a model for the rickshaw industry
Another service sector that could adapt the system of the dabbawalas is the auto rickshaw
An auto rickshaw is a motorized, three-wheeled vehicle used for public transport and it’s a source
of transportation for millions of people across India especially those who belong to the middle
class, as this is their only means of transport to and from their workplace.
The rickshaw industry is a significant industry mainly in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka.
However, they lack regularity and efficiency as that of the dabbawalas. There is no specific system
that controls the working of rickshaws. This makes it difficult to for those who use this service
frequently, particularly when it comes to finding a rickshaw to travel to work every morning.
Hence, like the dabbawalas collect the dabbas from specific homes and drop it to specific offices
every day, the rickshaw-walas could drop specific people from their homes to their offices every
morning at a specific time and receive a fixed amount of fare for it every day. A similar system can
be used to drop the workers home as well. Following this, the rickshaw-walas can carry on with
their regular way of working. This assures the rickshaw-walas a fixed income, regardless of how
much they earn through the rest of the day and also helps the workers reach their work place on
All in all, the dabbawala system is very efficient, and although it can’t be employed in every situation, there are certain ethics and skills that it exemplifies which can be adapted in multifarious
fields of life.
Another service sector that could use the efficiency as that of the dabbawalas is the auto rickshaw
industry. The rickshaw industry is a significant industry mainly in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri
Lanka. An auto rickshaw is a motorized, three-wheeled vehicle used for public transport and it’s a
source of transportation for millions of people across India.
However they lack regularity and efficiency as that of the dabbawalas. Many rickshaw workers
refuse to work on rainy days and have regular strikes to have the rickshaw fares increased. It is
extremely evident from the frequent strikes and reluctantcy to work that they are very money
driven. However the dabbawalas have only had a single strike in 2011 that too to support the drive
started by Anna Hazare. This elucidates that the dabbawalas have a strong desire and motivation
to help people and are extremely passionate about their small practice of delivering little tiffins of
food to people. The rickshaw drivers should adopt this practice.

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
The dabbawalas do not even stop on rainy days and continue to do their job. There is excess laziness seen in the rickshaw as they cease to work on rainy days and on other days of uncomfortable
weather. The amount of rickshaws available for transportation drops significantly and therefore
millions of people are deprived of a medium to travel. This causes a drastic impact on other industries because workers who travelling by rickshaws everyday have no way to reach to office and
thus this brings down the overall efficiency and output of other industries too.
If a dabbawala is sick or cannot come to work due to certain reasons, there is a replacement to fill
in for him. However this doesn’t persist for rickshaws. There is a shortage then, too. To solve this
problem, all the rickshaw drivers can work under a certain organization where they are employees
under a certain rickshaw employer. In this way, even if someone fails to report to work, another
driver can take his place from the organization. This assures that the number of rickshaws in a
certain city remains constant and all citizens have a medium of transportation.
All in all, the dabbawala system is very efficient, and although it can’t be employed in every
situation, there are certain ethics and skills that it exemplifies which can be adapted in multifarious fields of life.
By Dhairya Shah, Hithika Panjabi, Sneh Kewalramani, Daria Durandin


Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

07 Creation of Label and Logo for the two systems
This logo presents a typical Indian dabbawala travelling on his bicycle with many steel boxes of food
strapped to his cycles’ handles silhouetted against the
colors of the Indian flag: saffron, white and green.
Everything in the image holds multitudes of meaning.
To begin with, the cycle itself is reminiscent of the
most widely used mode of transportation in Mumbai,
which is the commercial capital of India and also
home to the infamous dabbawalas. They use these
cycles as an efficient, costless and environmentally
friendly mode of transportation and we felt like this is
a vital characteristic of the dabbawalas.
The cycle is well observed against a colorful background. All of these colors have their own unique
meaning which we will explore next.
Saffron, a shade of orange, is cleverly used as a color of the sunrise, which shows how early in the
morning they start their job and how hard they work. Saffron itself is a widely used, typical spice in
India and is rich in flavor as well as monetary value, being one of the most expensive spices in the
world. Other than that, the color is used in the Indian flag to remind its citizens to work hard and
to work selflessly for the betterment of their country, something that the dabbawalas are
observed to do.
White shows honesty and cleanliness in the Indian flag, which can be transferred to the high levels
of discipline and hygiene consistently maintained by every single dabbawala.
Lastly, the green represents earth, prosperity and stability. India is the land of rich soil and organic
produce, which is the basis of cooking in many Indian households. This is the food that the
dabbawalas transfer from one place to another.
The chakra of the Indian flag has 24 spokes which are meant to show the 24 precious hours of the
day and encourages Indians to make optimum use of the day, specifically the dabbawalas. It also
shows the impeccable punctuality exercised by the workers every day. Another thing that can be
observed is that the lines emerge from one common point¸ each line being a different route that
the dabbawala takes to get to a different place using various different modes of transportation.
The label can be ‘waqt par, har roz’, which is Hindi for ‘on time, every time.’

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
German Postal Service
The logo that we created for the
German postal service shows a sole
truck speeding towards a certain
destination with three lines behind it
to show that it is moving fast. An
envelope is seen on the visible facade
of the truck. The elements show
many different things.
To begin with, the envelope is
projected on the truck to contrast it with the size of the truck compartment. This works because it
shows the many different parcels that the German Postal Service is able to transfer from one place
to another; we saw that the postal service sends different sized parcels to different locations to
increase efficiency and get each parcel the attention it needs. To show this attention to every
single parcel, the envelope is shown to be as big as the entire truck.
Following, the truck itself shows the vast amounts of technological advances in the entire postal
service. Technology is used in every aspect, from collecting the mail to sending it forward and we
felt that this is something that must be reflected in the logo.
We drew it from a front perspective to show the truck moving towards the viewer, thus making
the viewer think that the truck is speeding towards them. Because the truck moves towards the
viewer, it shows that the goal of the postal service is for the betterment of the people and to get
the mail to the people. This is also shown by the houses in the background that are there because
it shows that every mail must be sent into every individual house.
Lastly, the background will be yellow while the trucks and the houses will be black. The yellow
remembers the history of postal service in Germany as in the old days, yellow taxis were used to
deliver mail to the royals because the color is bright and eye-catching. We felt like while we
embrace technology and modernization, it is important to remember the past and where the
system started from.

By Vinay Chandnani, Pradyot Agrawal, Yasemin Kaftan, Muskaan Khemani

Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?

08 Future Models of Distribution
They daily serve home-cooked food to over 200,000 Mumbaikars, on occasions putting their own
lives at risk. Now, the world-renowned dabbawalas are planning to secure the lives of their 5,000
strong workforces. The 120-year-old foundation is also planning to provide food to street children.
Realising that its ill educated employees were
exposed to road mishaps and accidents as
they rushed to deliver home-cooked food in
time, the Dabbawala Foundation, in
association with NGO. The Happy Life Welfare Society has started providing them
medical cover, opened bank accounts and
secured PAN cards for its employees.
“Many young executives join us as interns to
understand our efficient business module. It was one of them who recommended we give benefits
to our workforce. We had never thought of providing medical cover or insurance or postretirement benefits to our workforces, but it was a good idea,” Dabbawala Foundation vice
president Abhishek Dinkar Ekal said.
The dabbawalas live a precarious life to meet the deadline and deliver on time. They jump signals
and are sometimes hurt in the manifestation. As 85 percent of their workforce is illiterate the
foundation provides medical, financial and educational aids in the future.
Customers are charged between Rs. 400 and Rs. 800, depending on the size and weight of their
tiffins. A dabbawala on an average earns anything between Rs. 6,000 and Rs. 8,000.
In the future, we hope that dabbawala has an online system or an app to enhance the distribution
as they could increase their turnover and help the Indian economy, they must look for a merger
with the renowned company flipkart in order to reach larger population. In the future dabbawalas
would be in great demand therefore, it would be suggested to improve the way of transportion to
increase efficiency by travelling in motorcycles. They should use motorcycles because they are very
much more efficient. A normal cycle is used without a motor. If there was one the drivers could
carry much more lunchboxes. But to drive a motorcycle you need a driver’s license. If the
organization would pay it to the drivers they would help them a lot. The driver’s license is a first
step in their more successful life. They can learn more and they did the first step in to an educated
dabbawalas hold a strong future in Indian economy as most of the population is poor. They
support the poor people and help them to get nutrition. The dabbawala must increase the storage
capacity to give it to the middle class people. They must open more chains all around India to
benefit the society .This would help reduce unemployment as this job would be relatively easier
without any skills required. This would help add on to the economy.
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016


Distribution – Transport or Transformation?
Since the Dabba system is going strong the dabbawals must plan to expand their business worldwide and they must become a multinational company in the future. If the dabbawalas would be in
Germany, it would be a good part time job for example refugees. This would help to integrate them
and they could save money to get into a better life.

Postal Services
One of the future models is a drone. They are fast, environmentally friendly and efficient.
Drones work like planes or helicopters but there is one difference,
drones can find their way on their own or can be controlled from the
The package is lodged in the middle of the drone. Then the drone
flies straight to your house or to a special drop station. At these drop
stations the drones take on the packages and they can be delivered to these stations. DHL tested
this system as the first company of the world in the year 2016 from January to March in the small
town Reit im Winkl.
There are different companies, which are working on the drones to deliver their packages for
example Amazon, DHL, Zalando and Google.
Positive and negative aspects of the drone delivery: A positive thing about the drones is that they
are so fast, you can get your package in half an hour. They are electronically operated so they are
very environment friendly.
A negative point is that it could be very dangerous if there are so many drones in the air and it is
very easy to take down a drone by shooting it or hacking it. And it will be easy to steal the packages
when they are in the garden or in front of your house.
Consequences of using drones are: Birds could be irritated by the
drones and they could attack the drones and get hurt by them.
Another consequence is that the drones will take the jobs of the
drivers. That means the economy will be worse because of all the
workless people. And a lot of people could be disturbed by the
drones. If a drone falls down from the sky because of a mistake in
the engine, people could get hurt especially in the city.
By Aayush Kedia, Johannes Kunzelmann, Lukas Kuhn, Tim Kirrman
Eumind Project: TVET – Technical and Vocational Training and Education – IGEP 2016