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The Six Sigma Dabbawalas of Mumbai

In this video from Samatvam Academy, we see how the lunchtime food delivery service in Mumbai, India is handled by the renowned dabbawalas.

Mumbai middle class workers travel an average of three hours and spend eight hours or more at work. An on-time lunch at their workplace is important for 200,000 of them every working day. That lunch is provided by dabbawalas.

These lunch meals have a shelf life of four to five hours, so quality of service demands that they be delivered in a timely manner to the correct person.

The average lunch box (a tiffin box) changes hands at least six times before reaching its destination and at least six times in its return. With the 200,000 customers a day, and say 12 changes, there are 2.4 million changes and a total of 400,000 deliveries in the three to four hours before noon and the three to four hours after noon every day. This is all done by 5,000 dabbawalas, and except for use of trains, there is no modern technology involved at all, just bicycles and hand carts.

As stated in the video, the error rate in deliveries is only one in 16 million. That is better than the quoted 3.4 parts per million Six Sigma level. The dabbawalas for the most part are only literate at the 8th grade level. And this business is over 114 years old with the average age of a dabbawala at 52 years.

Dabbawalas work in autonomous groups of average size 20. A single dabbawala is expected to make 40 deliveries and/or collections a day. The level of service they provide requires exceptional commitment and time management.

You can watch the video here!

2019-12-14T09:44:39+00:00 By Endrea Kosven|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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