On the lurid-red crate, fenced in by a metal rim, are 30 or so silver tins, sides dented and lids clattering under the strain of the ascent. Kedari, now 47, has been a dabbawala for more than three decades. Organised in a co-operative, they enjoy job security and command respect in this toughest of Indian cities. Kedari started skipping school before he was
Edit The word "dabbawala" when literally translated, means "one who carries a box". The closest meaning of the dabbawala in English would be the "lunch box delivery man".
Inhe informally attempted to unionize the dabbawallas. The current president of the association is Raghunath Medge.
Supply chain Edit A collecting dabbawala, usually on bicycle, collects dabbas either from a worker's home or from the dabba makers.
As many of the carriers are illiterate, the dabbas have some sort of distinguishing mark on them, such as a colour or group of symbols. The dabbawala then takes them to a designated sorting Mumbai dabbawalah, where he and other collecting dabbawalas sort and sometimes bundle the lunch boxes into groups.
The grouped boxes are put in the coaches of trains, with markings to identify the destination of the box usually there is a designated car for the boxes. The markings include the railway station to unload the boxes and the destination building delivery address.
At each station, boxes are handed over to a local dabbawala, who delivers them. The empty boxes are collected after lunch or the next day and sent back to the respective houses.
Appearance and coding Lunch boxes are usually marked in several ways: A colour-coding system identifies the destination and recipient. Each month there is a division of the earnings of each unit.
The local dabbawalas and population know each other well, and often form bonds of trust. Dabbawalas are generally well accustomed to the local areas they cater to, and use shortcuts and other low profile routes to deliver their goods on time. Occasionally, people communicate between home and work by putting messages inside the boxes; however, with the rise of instant communication such as SMS and instant messaging, this trend is vanishing.
Sincewhen the dabbawalas formally came into existence, none of them had ever gone on strike until when the members decided to head towards Azad Maidan to support Anna Hazare in his campaign against corruption. Betweenandlunch boxes are moved by 4, to 5, dabbawalas, all with an extremely small nominal fee and with utmost punctuality.
However, this error rate is conservative as it is estimated from Ragunath Medge, the president of the Mumbai Tiffinmen's Association inand is not from a rigorous study. Owing to the tremendous publicity, some of the dabbawalas were invited to give guest lectures in some of the top business schools of India, which is very unusual.The Mumbai platforms are jam-packed at the peak time, but the dabbawalas move fast, climb up and down the railway bridges with those crates on their heads.
Mumbai local trains, which are one of the most extensive, complex, and heavily used urban commuter rails in the world, give a great boost in keeping together the delivery system of the dabbawalas. In , the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) featured a case study on the Mumbai Dabbawalas from a management perspective of logistics The New York Times reported in that the year-old Dabbawala industry continues to grow at a rate of 5â€“10% per year. About years back, a Parsi banker wanted to have home cooked food in office and gave this responsibility to the first ever Dabbawala. Many people liked the idea and the demand for Dabba delivery soared.
A Dabbawala must catch the right train. Otherwise the Tiffin will be late. The dabbawala system could not function if Mumbai’s extensive train network did not work, as it does, to a high level of efficiency. The Dabbawala network consists of more than dabbawalas, who collectively transport and deliver more than , dabbas or lunches in a day.
In , the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad) featured a case study on the Mumbai Dabbawalas from a management perspective of logistics The New York Times reported in that the year-old Dabbawala industry continues to grow at a rate of 5â€“10% per year.
In conversation with YourStory, three of the 5, dabbawalas of Mumbai explore their methods and legacy. Image: Wikimedia Commons. For year-old Sulochana, her kitchen is her retreat. Away from the hustle of Mumbai, she finds comfort cooking amidst its stained walls and wooden cupboard.
The Mumbai Dabbawallas deliver food every day from the home to the workplace and they do it with minimal technology, processes, or structure. They became world renowned as a six sigma organization, and were studied by Harvard University.