Lessons from Mumbai Dabbawalas

Our Bureau Madurai | Updated on April 03, 2011 Published on April 03, 2011


They are known as Mumbai Dabbawalas. They came to light when Prince Charles of England, chose to visit them at their appointed time and place to appreciate them in 2003, for carrying on an activity that started in 1890, so successfully till date. Since then, their operation is viewed as a successful model in supply chain management and a case study for many management schools. They have won accolades worldwide.

Consumer satisfaction has been the only motivating principle behind the activity all along, said Dr Pawan G.Agrawal, Chief Executive Officer, Mumbai Dabbawalas Association, addressing a meeting here recently, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII), Madurai Zone and Young Indians (Yi), Madurai Chapter.

He said that they do 400,000 transactions every day, working for eight to nine hours carrying cooked home food to various destinations, covering as much as 60-70 km. The error rate is almost nil. No strike at work. No police case ever registered. Only a few of them have crossed eighth standard. Their earnings at the end of the month is just Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000. They are not swayed by sense of rights while discharging their duties except adhering to a disciplined and scheduled execution of the job. Their work culture is ‘my work is worship', he said.

In the interactive session, he said that the cost of the operation is held to the minimum and the job is executed through a coding system with group leaders taking the responsibility for the transactions and no one takes leave without a prior notice. The group is largely community-oriented and honestly transacted, he added.

Mr N. Krishnamoorthy, Vice-Chairman, CII, Madurai Zone and Mr K. Nagaraj, Chairman, Yi, Madurai Chapter, chaired the session.

Published on April 03, 2011

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