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Management Development Institute - Gurgaon

Supply Chain Management

Case 02

Mumbai Dabbawallah
ID Name

SCM Case Presentation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

11P083 11P092 11P094 11P127 11P147 11P156

Jaya Sanjaykumar Choubey Nikhil Sethi Nitin Kumar Gupta Anurag Saxena Madhur Paul Rahul Pinnamaneni Justine Liber

Presentation Date: 05-07-2012

Post Graduate Programme in Management

(PGPM: 2011-13 Batch Section: B) Term: IV (Jun 2012 Sep 2012)

Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Trust

Dabbawallah service started in 1890 Charitable trust - Registered in 1956 Avg. Literacy Rate - 8th Grade Schooling Total area coverage approx.75 Km of public transport Employee Strength - 5,000 Number of Tiffins - 1,75,000 Tiffin Boxes i.e. 3,50,000 transactions every day.

Popularity across the globe: Recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripleys Believe It or Not! President of the trust has been invited by CII, IIM Lucknow, Harvard, MIT, London Business School and other leadership summits Case Studies prepared by management scholars and industry executives Holds the world record in Best time management Successful and famous because of: Efficient supply chain and service management (Failure rate of one in two months or one in every 15 million deliveries) High delivery reliability & Punctuality


Operational Structure

Executive Committee

Group 1 Mukadam

Group 2 Mukadam

Group n Mukadam







Each Team comprises of 5-8 dabbawallahs, headed by a Mukadam Mukadams perform administrative tasks and sort Dabbas 7-8 Mukadams form a profit center, also known as a group Each group is managed autonomously Autonomy and belongingness ensure smooth operations and that the Dabbawallahs watch out for each other

Flow of Dabbas

Baton relay + Hub-Spoke model

No higher education, no course in cryptography and yet

Operating Environment
Competitors: Fast-food chains, restaurants and road-side vendors Redeemable coupons by firms Angadias and other courier services could be potential threats Factors working in the Trusts favour: Mumbaikars prefer home food Home food costs much less than other alternatives

Manual Tagging, Nodes/Links Analogy And Comparison with Delhi

Limitations of Electronic Product Code
Operational Disadvantage Data Privacy Cost of Integration Health Issues

Success can be analogous to effective NodesLinks logistic system of a Multi-Echelon Logistics Channel



Foundations for the Success

Low-cost Delivery

Suburban Railway Network

Delivery Reliability
Foundations for the success

Perceived Equality


1. Low-cost Delivery
Clients typically pay Rs. 150 - 200/- a month 1/4th of the cost charged by a courier company

2.Delivery Reliability
They work as a team with a common goal : No customer should go without food Each one is solely responsible for delivery to his 3035 clients Work is Worship : Work 6 days a week and had never gone on a strike

3. Decentralization
Each group operates independently - helps build cohesion within each group and focus on delivery effectiveness and improvement

4. Perceived Equality
Each Dabbawallah earns equal remuneration Different tasks performed by Senior Dabbawallahs and younger workforce act as a leveler

5. Suburban Railway Network

Longitudinal-based geography helps reduce food spoilage and allows them to cover 70-80 Km in 2 hours

Challenges for Dabbawalas

Shrinking Customer Base
Closure of textile mills has resulted in the decline of the traditional customer base

No incentives for achieving excellence. Difficult to encourage the newer generation to join the service

Workforce Management

Lifestyle Changes
Double-income families becoming the norm, rise in demand for convenience products

New Ventures
SMS Ordering Service:
Upgrading from traditional to mobile based ordering resulting in 15 new orders a day

Online ordering service Sale of Dabbawala merchandise

Adding IT

Use technology to add further lines of business Gear up the Dabbawalas with the ability to sell groceries and other daily necessities, the orders of which could be taken via their mobile phones.

1. Keep operational costs low 2. Complexity opposes compliance tedious systems and processes only bring down productivity, simplify as much as possible and create processes only when you cant do without them 3. Technology should support business and not otherwise 4. Flat organizations are good, leave the decisions to the one who does the job, for he knows whats BEST