MUMBAI DABBAWALAS

AN INSPIRATION TO MANAGEMENT

The genesis of the dabbawala system ‡It was the time when English were ruling the India.Mahadu Havaji Bache started the dabbawala system with a handful of friends. ‡The employees started hiring people to deliver lunch at their workplace. bridges . ‡New government offices . ‡Noticing this trend in 1890Hon. ‡Slowly this evolved into the present 5000 strong Dabbawala system. post offices . . etc were being constructed.

zero disputes. zero modern technology. . ‡ They must wear their uniform. customer is God. must respect customers and always carry identification cards. zero investment. and unity is power. ‡ They have zero fuel. time is money. and 100 percent customer satisfaction.MANAGEMENT PRACTISES ‡ Their main beliefs are: work is worship. ‡ Decisions are made instantly without meetings and conventions. must report on time.

300/month/customer ‡ Standard price for all (Weight. ‡ Diwali bonus: one month¶s salary by customers.‡ Error Rate : 1 in 16 million transactions ‡ Approximate six sigma error rate 1 in 80 million (Forbes magazine) ‡ Cost of service Rs.4000 to 5000 p. per Dabbawala. ‡ Earnings . Space) ‡ ³No strike´ record as each one a share holder. .m. Distance.

THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE ‡ Each employee is a shareholder and an entrepreneur thus ensuring responsibility from every single member. ‡ Even the president and other high ups work and deliver boxes. ‡ The organization follows a flat structure of business hierarchy with only three layers for better communication. ‡ Development of a smooth and strong heterarchical and network designs. .

Working 2.00.000 lunch boxes 25-30 people in one group 4 supervisers per group Delivery by rail. cycle or by foot .

1 Grant road 2 3 Churchgate 4 Lower Parel Point of sorting a b c d e 5 6 Office distribution Collection from home .

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there have so far been only two females to take up this job -Mrs. sex or religion. .000 a month. There are no specific selection criteria like age. and any person can work till he is fit enough to carry on the tasks required of him. Unwarranted absenteeism is not tolerated and is treated with a similar fine. After that period.000. The antecedents of the candidates are thoroughly verified and a new employee is taken into the fold for a six-month probation. usually on Sunday.Anandibai of Andheri(E) It is also interesting to note there is no retirement age. The Gandhi cap serves as a potent symbol of identification in the crowded railway stations. Not wearing the cap attracts a fine of Rs 25. Bhikhubai of Borivli(E) -Mrs. Every dabbawalla gets a weekly off. the employment is regularised with a salary of Rs 5. however.DISCIPLINE ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Consuming alcohol while on duty attracts a fine of Rs 1.

ACCOLADES ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Six sigma certificate Feature in ³Guinness book of records´ Ripley¶s ³Believe it or not´ The Dabbawalas have been so successful that many top schools such as Harvard Business School and companies including Microsoft. NSE. and SAP invite these poorly educated employees to speak on the business management process! ‡ Many business institutes across the world include the case-study as part of their curriculum . Accenture. RBI.

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