The journey of Dabbawalas began started in the year 1890, and later in the year 1956 they got registered as a charitable trust. The employee strength is close to 5000 people, with an average literacy rate of 8th grade. On a daily basis, the Dabbawallas travel anywhere from 60 km-70 km, carrying 2 lakh tiffins and conducting 400, 000 transactions every day, including return. All it takes is about 8 to 9 hours, and also 3 hours of preparation known as Wartime.

Mr. Raghunath Medge, President of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust (NMTBSA) and Mr. Gangaram Talekar, General Secretary of NMTBSA presented their unique and error free method of carrying out their supply chain of Tiffin. In their to our college Suryadatta Group of Institutes in Pune

This is not the first time a business head has presented or shared their knowledge and business model with us but this time with the Mumbai Dabbawallas it was a completely different experience. The business with the most effective delivery record and logistics network in Mumbai. Delivering close to 2 lakh tiffins with a man power of 5000 workers is surely an achievement in itself.

The points that took me by surprise were that, in todaya’s world, where most businesses rely on technology, the Mumbai Dabbawallas are able to deliver with consistency without any technological backup. Their error rate is estimated to be 1 in 16 million transactions, which is an efficiency rate of 99.99966. To attain this accuracy and consistency most organizations spend a fortune and get their managers trained with courses like Six Sigma.

Marketing is a part of their daily routine as their employees are themselves evangelists to the brand. Mumbai Dabbawalas have established their unique identity with their typical dress code followed not just by the workers but also the higher management. This shows the discipline and the work culture followed by the organization and applies to all. According to us it is the discipline and the dedication towards their work that drives them to deliver consistently each day.

It’s no rocket science but just simplicity that’s the key to their success, be it their uniform or their process of delivery. The coding system is simple to understand, yet complex to explain. But this hasn’t acted as a barrier for them as all Dabbawalas understand where they need to go even with their limited educational background.

In simple words what these Dabbawalas teach us is that it not only the degree and the training that leads to a success story, but the dedication, discipline and art of managing time that can make or break a business or a career.


Nilesh Bhopale

Suryadatta Group of Institutes
3rd Semester PGDM (Telecom + IT Specialization)

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