Mumbai Dabawalla Logistics

Topics: Supply chain management, Customer relationship management, Tiffin Pages: 8 (1715 words) Published: January 30, 2013

A dabbawala (one who carries the box), sometimes spelled dabbawalla or dabbawallah, is a person in the Indian city of Mumbai whose job is to carry and deliver freshly made food from home in lunch boxes to office workers Basically they are the Tiffin box carrier. The dabbawala originated in 1880, when India was under British rule. Mission of the Dabbawalas is “to server their customers on time”

They are the delivery persons responsible to deliver the home made food to the customer at the desired location and time. Instead of going home for lunch or paying for a meal in a cafe, many office workers have a cooked meal sent either from their home, or sometimes from a caterer who delivers it to them as well, essentially cooking and delivering the meal in lunch boxes and then having the lunch boxes collected and re-sent the next day. This is usually done for a monthly fee. The meal is cooked in the morning and sent in lunch boxes carried by dabbawalas, who have a complex association and hierarchy across the city.

A collecting Dabbawala on a bicycle A collecting dabbawala, usually on bicycle, collects dabbas from homes or from the dabba makers. The dabbas have some sort of distinguishing mark on them, such as a color or symbol. The dabbawala then takes them to a designated sorting place, 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 rail station to unload the boxes and the building address where the box has to be delivered. At each station, boxes are handed over to a local dabbawala, who delivers them. The empty boxes, after lunch, are again collected and sent back to the respective houses. This service was originated in 1880. In 1890, Mahadeo Havaji Bachche started a lunch delivery service with about 100 men. In 1930, he informally attempted to unionize the dabbawallas. Later a charitable trust was registered in 1956 under the name of Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Trust. The commercial arm of this trust was registered in 1968 as Mumbai Tiffin Box Supplier's Association. The present President of the association is Sopan Laxman Mare. Nowadays, the service often includes cooking of foods in addition to the delivery.


History : Started in 1890
Charitable trust : Registered in 1956
Avg. Literacy Rate : 8th Grade Schooling
Employee Strength : 5000
Number of Tiffin's : 2,00,000 Tiffin Boxes i.e 4,00,000 transactions every day •Time taken : 3 hrs
Total area coverage : 60 Kms to 70 Kms
Error Rate : 1 in 16 million transactions. •Six Sigma Performance (99.999999)
Technological Backup : Nil
Cost of service : Rs 250-300 per month i.e $6.00 per month •Rs 30 Crore Annual turnover i.e. 6.5 million dollars.
No strike record as each one is a share holder.


Zero % fuel
Zero % investment
Zero % modern technology
Zero % disputes
99.99999 % performance
100% customer satisfaction.


Low cost delivery
Delivery reliability
Perceived equality
Suburban railway network



VLP: Vile Parle
(Suburb in Mumbai)

9E12: Code
for Dabbawallas at

E: Express Towers
(Bldg. Name)

12: Floor No.

E: Code for
Dabbawallas at
Residential station.

3: Code for Destination station
(E.g... Nariman Point)



Simplicity in organization with Innovative...
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