One of our students had the distinct privilege of attending a 1 day seminar at Institute of Finance and International Management (IFIM), Electronic city, Bangalore about the logistics geniuses “The Mumbai Dabbawalas”. The seminar was conducted by Mr Pawan Choudhary, the head of R&D for the organisation.
Just a brief intro, the Mumbai Dabbawalas is a 122 year old organisation whose core competency lies in delivering hot food to all of their customers across Mumbai. It has been found that in these 122 years they have made 1 error in almost 16 million deliveries, suffice to say that the dabbawalas enjoy the distinct honor of being a six sigma certified organization.
The chief reason as explained by Mr Choudhary for the success of the organization in particulary Mumbai, is the fact that the local trains are the bloodlines of Mumbai and the dabbawalas exploit this to their core advantage. They deliver tiffins over 60-70 kilometers and have almost a network of 4500-5000 employees/dabbawalas.
The dabbawalas are barely educated till 8-9th grade, yet they have achieved such efficiency which any school or institution cannot teach.
They are not just nationally acclaimed, but also internationally recognized. Prince Charles became so impressed with the mechanism of “Dabbawalas” that he honored them by inviting them to his marriage ceremony. Only 2 others shared this privilege from India.
A lot of case studies have also been brought to light by the IIMs, Harvard Business School about the structure and the supply chain of the “Dabbawalas”. Their model has been under scrutiny for many years now. So what is the key to their success?
They primarily dedicate all their success to the unmoving and unwavering work ethtic, each dabbawala carries with him. They are very well aware that, if one day a delivery is missed, their customers would have to eat out and spend money on outside food. This realization along with their dedicated work ethic make them a perfect organization with very robust foundation.
These were some basic topics covered by Mr Pawan Choudhary and it was a very enriching experience for our student to participate in this seminar.
By: Sanmeet Dighe