Dabbawalla and Six Sigma

Essay by satyasudiptaUniversity, Master'sA+, March 2008

download word file, 13 pages 3.0


Introduction 3

About Mumbai Dabbawallas 3

Staffing and Recruitment 3

Organization Structure 4

Culture 4

Operations of Dabbawallas

Color Coding Scheme 5

Scheduling 7

Flow Logic 8

Six Sigma 9

What is Six Sigma? 9

Dabbawalla and Six Sigma: How is it achieved? 10

Practices followed 13

Implementation of Poke Yoke 15


Awards and Recognitions 16

References 18


About Mumbai Dabbawallas

The highly talked about, Mumbai's amazing Dabbawallas form the operating core of the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association which is a streamlined 120-year-old organization with 4,500 semi-literate members providing high quality door-to-door service to a huge pool of loyal customers. This small army of 'Dabbawallas' picks up freshly made food from homes in 175,000 lunch boxes, carry them and deliver them to harried students, managers and office workers on every working day in the city of Mumbai at their desk at 12.30 pm sharp with the warmth and freshness intact.

Though the job appears to sound very simple, it is actually a highly specialized and customized business that has become a significant part of Mumbai's culture. Although the service remains essentially low-tech, with these delivery men in barefoot as the main players, the Dabbawallas have now started to go high-tech by embracing modern information technology. They now allow booking for delivery, online as well as through SMS. Their official web site, named mydabbawala.com, has also been added to allow for on-line booking, in order to keep up with the tech-savvy customers whom they serve everyday.

The success of their distribution system depends on teamwork and time management that would be a challenge to any modern day manager. The dedication and commitment of these barely literate delivery men is highly remarkable who form contact points in the extensive delivery chain. A simple colour coding system acts...