Dabawala of Mumbai

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Case Study on Dabbawallah of Mumbai

Submitted by : RIL -MDP
Taruna Upadhyaya
Pankaj Nimavat
Siddhartha Chaturvedi

Assignment Questions for the case:
1.What is the basis for the success of the Dabbawallahs of Mumbai? What factors need to be in place for a service like the Dabbawallahs to work effectively? Basis for the success of the Dabbawallahs of Mumbai is that they were all working for a single purpose of delivering a dabba in time for the customer’s lunch. Several distinctive and supporting success factors include: Dabbawallah Profile.

All the dabbawallah were from the same geographical area and spoke the same language. This gave a kind of cultural profile to the Trust and high degree of cohesion amongst each other. •High disciplined staff to ensure timely delivery. No strikes reported so far. •Each dabbawallah considered themselves as entrepreneur and not employee which led to the high level of ownership and cohesive environment to work in.

Decentralization
Each group was responsible for the smooth functioning of the day to day activities entirely independent of the trust. •There were no centralized records of incomes and expenses for group clients, dabbawallah or Mukadams. •Decentralization had been instrumental to building cohesion within each group, and operational autonomy helped to provide focus on delivery effectiveness and improvement.

Perceived Equality
Each Dabbawallahs in the group earned equal remuneration; irrespective of the seniority and the amount of time and effort put. •This system was leveler that helped forge equal relationships among the dabbawallah. •The financial equality was leveled with the distribution of the work load with physical work being handled by younger generation over the older dabbawallah.

Delivery reliability
There was no governing hierarchy that defined working relationships with clear work breakdown structure. •They lived and worked in in-groups. There was no dilution of service culture or erosion of the basics. •Each Dabbawallah was solely responsible for the delivery for his clients. •Dabbawallah were able to provide highly reliable service with failure rate of 1 in 15 million deliveries. This lead to high degree of customer satisfaction.

Low cost delivery.
Home cooked food delivered by the dabbawallah services were cost effective as compared to the food which a person will have from outside. •The low cost was achieved due to near zero logistics cost due to use of bicycles, hand carts and Railway transportation. •There is a balance between low cost charged to the client (as compared to normal courier Delivery Company) and making enough money for a living for the Dabbawallah.

Suburban Railway Network
Dabbawallah made extensive use of Mumbai’s suburban railway network which provided most convenient and economical mode of transport for the dabbas. •Mumbai’s longitudinal-based geography provided a great deal of latitude in logistics management •On an average dabbawallah covered 70 km to 80 km in two and a half hours by train; on bicycle dabbawallahs covered much less territory.

Monopoly
Dabbawallahs have a niche of their own. They work in a unique operation space where they have a monopoly. •The Indian culture of having home cooked food also drove the customer towards the dabbawallah services. This gave them a strong demand from the customers.

Factors required being in place for a service like the Dabbawallahs to work effectively is: •Strong homogeneous team with common basics and values.
Entire team alignment towards common goal ensuring reliability of operations. •Team working on equality basis thus balancing the system and forging equal relationships without competition for personal incentives. •No centralized governance or interference.

Individuals owning the responsibilities of day to day activities. •Simple and effective coding system for sorting to ensure timely distribution of dabbas. •...
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