Essay by rdak18University, Master'sA-, November 2014

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The "dabbawalas" are a practical manifestation of optimized supply-chain system. Such a system depends on reliable technology, streamlined operation, acute visibility and minimum choke points. Can simply this achieve six sigma? I will come back to that.

Their backbone technology is the Mumbai railway line, we have talked a little bit about their operations. There are a lot of case studies conducted on Dabbawalas by MBA students worldwide looking at their supply chain & operations. However, that is not the only reason why they are successful in what they do. So I am going to make an effort to show you what the other inputs are to the transformation process are at dabbawalas.

Couple of lecture classes ago we were exposed to topics on how a culture& value system in an organisation affect operations and businesses outcomes. What is quite interesting to note here is many traditional MBA students when approaching a business like Dabbawallas for case studies in Operations management focus a lot of the technical aspect of business, which is good.

The problem with that is this, most of us focus on the task in our hand and can sometimes lose insight on what happens around the task we deliver or expect to deliver. There is human interaction in all parts of an organisation. Dabbawala's innate cultural upbringing is one of the key factors to their success.

So, I have taken a step back to observe this culture. As you all know that we can have the best supply chain, job design, streamlined processes, lean, six sigma experts, etc, we still need the right people to do the job with the right mindset with the right organisational culture & values.

The dabbawalas on average have completed 8th grade and knowing their economic status in India they have...