“Mumbai’s Superheroes – The Dabbawala”

Have you heard of it ” The Dabbawala’s”, if you’re an Indian then you might have heard of Mumbai’s Dabbawala’s. Mumbai, the mega city that never sleeps, on the move, vibrant, fun and here is one of the best lunch delivery system called “THE DABBAWALA’S”.

The Dabba = a tiffin or can be called as Container and Walla = Worker. Typically the box person who collects tiffin boxes from the house of office workers and deliver it to their workplace and carry it back to the residence. Those who engage the services of dabbawallas tend to be middle class office workers who embrace the Indian preference and pride in ghar ka khana (home cooked food). Customers pay about 180 rupees or around $3 per month for the delivery service. Mumbai’s committed 5000 dabbawalla’s deliver over 3,50, 000 lunches per day to office workers across the mega city.

What’s most amazing is that the delivery system uses no computers or sheets of paper for such a big delivery of food, and using computers or paper’s will make no difference as most of the dabbawalla’s are illiterate. The dabbawalla’s rely on coding system that employs letters, numbers, colours and symbols which signal each tiffin’s delivery path.

When all tiffin’s are gathered, they are separated according to their destinations. To complete this vast delivery, Tiffins are often carried overhead onto trains – efficient yet challenging nature of Mumbai stations. Dabbawalla’s wear a signature Gandhi cap – a uniting visual feature in chaotic rail and road contexts.

Its hard to believe but the dabbawalla’s are very precise with their time of delivery and delivering the right lunch box at right place without use of any pen or paper. According to Forbes Magazine, the dabbawala’s make less than 1 error in 1 million deliveries, it is beyond precision. They were awarded with Six Sigma rating, which means less than one error in 1 million transactions. Only company like Motorola was awarded with such rating.

The Dabbawalla’s, delivering lunch with Love,  precision and efficiency.


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