Mumbai Dabbawalas adhere to basic human values: Dr Agrawal

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Sep 2017 09:43:01


Business Bureau,

The Mumbai’s 5,000 odd ‘dabbawalas’ have never undergone any skill development programme. They did not go to any management school. Neither do they make use of modern communication devices nor computers. But they still manage one of the world’s best logistics and supply chains that works with 100 per cent accuracy. It is possible only because the ‘dabbawalas’ strictly adhere to basic human values that made the whole difference and brought them on global platform.

Dr Pawankumar Agrawal, Director of Mumbai Dabbawala Association, highlighted this in his motivational speech on Thursday.
He was a keynote speaker at the seminar on ‘Mumbai Dabbawala Hero to Zero’ organised by Koshish Foundation in association with NIT Group at Chitnavis Centre, Civil Lines.
Anil Deshmukh, former Maharashtra Minister, Vijay Darda, former Rajya Sabha MP, Salil Deshmukh and others were present on the occasion.

Agrawal said, “Customer is God for ‘dabbawalas’ and they worship their job. Dubbawalas have great respect for their clients and always ready to walk extra mile to satisfy them. Setting aside the all odds, they deliver tiffin boxes on time not just for the sake of earning a meagre amount of Rs 500-600 per month per client but they do it as they want their clients to eat on time. In many tiffin boxes, there are medicines along with food and the ‘dabbawalas’ know that it should reach the concerned person at any cost.”

For the past 125 years, the ‘dabbawalas’ have been collecting tiffins from clients staying in various suburbs of Mumbai and deliver it in offices and other working places.
They deliver nearly 2,00,000 tiffin boxes everyday on time. For their convenience, they have developed a typical coding system which works so precisely that the margin of error is one in every 16 million deliveries.

The unique management and operational style have become subjects of management study for many global business schools.
“For some people, the job of ‘dabbawalas’ is just to pick up tiffin boxes from the door steps of the clients and deliver it to their workplaces. But for me it is a very complex task handled in a very logical manner,” Agrawal said who has done Ph.D on the subject. The topic of the his research was ‘A study of Logistics and Supply Chain Management of Dabbawala in Mumbai’.

Though the ‘dabbawalas’ come under unorganised sector, they have themselves evolved with a full-proof and tested supply chain which many corporate companies wish to learn.

The entire world has acclaimed the dedication and hardwork put in by the ‘dabbawalas’ because of which many top institutes and multi-national companies like Cadbury, SAP, Volvo, Honda, HC, HSBC, Maruti Suzuki, Vodafone, Dell, IBM and Microsoft among others invite me for learning how the system runs in an overcrowded city like Mumbai, Dr Agrawal said.

Some of the ‘dabbawalas’ were invited to attend wedding ceremony of Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles in UK in 2005. The talk was followed by question and answer session which received overwhelming response.