Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mumbai Dabbawalas - Amazing Entrepreneurs!

I based my blog on my thoughts. So when something is on my mind for a while, I type it and publish it..
This time its about people who are delivering me tiffin for quite sometime now...'MUMBAI DABBAWALAS'.    
     
Waking up late, getting ready, reaching office and finding an excuse every now and then for being late. That's my story. No matter how late I reach, One thing which I find always on time is my tiffin. Red lights, traffic jams, pedestrian crossings,cruel weather nothing  stops Dabbawalas.
 
 Majority of us have heard about them, many of us depend on them, and yes they are indeed amazing with their work. Mumbai Dabbawalas are not employees but each one of them is a self-employed entrepreneur. They are equal shareholders in the Dabbawalas Trust. Its 115 year old business operation beats any of our current businesses in simplicity, low cost pricing, efficiency and values.
 
How do you recognise  Dabbawalas....
A Gandhi topi(cap), white/red  coloured cotton clothing and a bunch of tiffin boxes in their hands.


 
 
Some important stats
Average literacy rate: 85% are illiterate
Total area Coverage: 60 km
Employee strength: 5000
Number of Tiffin Boxes : 200000 ie, 400000 transactions per day.
Time taken : 3 Hrs
 
'NUTAN MUMBAI TIFFIN BOX SUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION' is an organization which is SIX SIGMA and ISO 9001:2000 certified, fans like prince Charles and Richard Branson (Of virgin Airways), Ripley’s believe it or not and Guinness book of world Records registration
 
Things I learnt from Dabbawalas :

Pride towards their work:
 Although they earn just enough to fill their stomach there is a sense of pride and satisfaction  in them.
 
Discipline and time management :
Come what may you will never find dabbawalas late. No alcohol consumption during working hours, carry ID cards.

Co-ordination
The entire system depends on team work and meticulous timing. Tiffin boxes are collected from homes between 7 am and 9 am, and taken to the nearest railway station. At various intermediary stations, they are hauled onto platforms and sorted out for area-wise distribution, so the single Tiffin box could change hands three to four times in the course of its daily journey.

Honesty
 I have heard about people sending money or important documents in lunch boxes in early days when there was no electronic transfer.

Hard work
The amount of hard work of Dabbawalas is visible.  The fact that they still manage to wear a smile on their face is commendable.
 
 With this I would like to conclude by  thanking the Dabbbawalas for the unnoticed things they taught which I didn't realise before.