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Dabbawalas of Mumbai

THE DABBAWALAS OF MUMBAI: The Dabbawalas who provide a lunch delivery service in Mumbai have been in the business for over 100 years. In 1998, Forbes Global magazine conducted an analysis and gave them a Six Sigma rating of efficiency. * The description of Dabbawalas 1. Descendants of soldiers of the legendary Maharashtrian warrior-king Shivaji, dabbawalas belong to the Malva caste, and arrive in Mumbai from places like Rajgurunagar, Akola, Ambegaon, Junnar and Maashi. 2. write an essay about that day changed me forever They believe in employing people from their own community to create a sense of bonding among them. The Organization: Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association: History: Started in 1880 Charitable trust: Registered in 1956 Average literacy rate: 8th grade schooling Employee strength: 5000 dabbawalas + 800 supervisors(mukadams) No of tiffin’s: 200000 i. e. 400000 transactions per day. Time taken: 3 hrs. Distance: 60 km Error rate: 1 in 16 million approx. Turnover: Rs 5 crore approximately. Earnings/employee/month: Rs 5000-6000 Organizational structure: 40 BOXES 40 BOXES Process flow: Tiffins are collected from homes between 7. 30 am and 10. 0 am, and taken to the nearest railway station. At various intermediary stations, they are hauled onto platforms and sorted out for area-wise distribution, so that a single tiffin could change hands 3-4 times in the course of its daily journey. At Mumbai’s downtown stations, the last link in the chain, a final relay of dabbawalas fan out to the tiffins’ destined bellies. Lunch hour over, the whole process moves into reverse and the tiffins return to suburban homes by 6. 00 pm. To better understand the complex sorting process, let’s take an example.

At Vile Parle Station, there are four groups of dabbawalas, each has twenty members and each member services 40 customers. That makes 3,200 tiffins in all. These 3,200 tiffins are collected by 9. 00 am, reach the station and are sorted according to their destinations by 10. 00 am when the ‘Dabbawala Special’ train arrives. The railway provides sorting areas on platforms as well as special compartments on trains traveling south between 10. 00 am and 11. 30 am. During the journey, these 80 dabbawalas regroup according to the number of tiffins to be delivered in a particular area, and not according to the groups they actually belong to.

If 150 tiffins are to be delivered in the Grant Road Station area, then four people are assigned to that station, keeping in mind one person can carry no more than 35-40 tiffins. During the earlier sorting process, each dabbawala would have concentrated on locating only those 40 tiffins under his charge, wherever they come from, and this specialisation makes the entire system efficient and error-free. Typically it takes about ten to fifteen minutes to search, assemble and arrange 40 tiffins onto a crate, and by 12. 30 pm they are delivered to offices.

Elegant logistics In the dabbawalas’ elegant logistics system, using 25 kms of public transport, 10 km of footwork and involving multiple transfer points, mistakes rarely happen. For one, the system limits the routing and sorting to a few central points. Secondly, a simple colour code determines not only packet routing but packet prioritising as lunches transfer from train to bicycle to foot. Factors Contributing to TEAM WORK: * Autonomy: Here nobody is an employer and none are employees. Each dabbawala considers himself a shareholder and entrepreneur.

Each dabbawala, like any businessman, has to bring some capital with him. The mini-mum investment is two bicycles (approximately Rs 4,000), a wooden crate for the tiffins (Rs 500), at least one white cotton kurta-pyjama (Rs 600), and Rs 20 for the trademark Gandhi topi. * Competitive and streamlined collaboration: Each group is financially independent but coordinates with others for deliveries: the service could not exist otherwise. The process is competitive at the customers’ end and united at the delivery end. Monthly meetings: At these meetings, the Dabbawalas discussed their problems and explored possible solutions. The problems could be with the police, Municipal Corporation, customers, etc. They also adjudicated disputes among Dabbawalas using their own system. The Trust collected Rs. 15 from each Dabbawala every month to maintain a welfare fund. * Trust and loyality: They believe in employing people from their own community to create a sense of bonding among them. * Commitment and customer satisfaction: The service is uninterrupted even on the days of extreme weather such as Mumbai’s characteristic monsoons.

The local dabbawalas at the receiving end and sending ends are known to the customers personally, so that there is no question of lack of trust. Also they are well accustomed to the local areas they cater to, which allows them to access any destination with ease. Ocassionally, people communicate between home and work by putting messages inside the boxes. This method was used before the accessibility of telecommunications. * Discipline: No alcohol during work hours, wearing cap and uniform, carrying identity cards. OB CASE STUDY-TEAM WORK THE DABBAWALAS OF MUMBAI SUBMITTED BY: MANAV KHURANA ROLL NO: 11PGDM032 SECTION: A

SWOT ANALYSIS STRENGTHS * Supply chain management * Time management * Customer Satisfaction * Low operational cost * Process consistency * Delivery of six sigma standard. (less than 1% error) * Unique colour coding. * No strikes since inception. * Ownership and pride in work. * Trust and loyalty. * An old and respected institution. * Reliability of service. * No dependence on technology. * No dependence on documentation. | WEAKNESSES * High dependence on local trains. * No professional growth * Limited access of employees to other jobs/opportunities. * No welfare schemes due to fund flow limitations. OPPURTUNITIES * Expanding network in other cities. * Recently started service of booking through internet needs to be popularised. * Generate revenue by promoting other brands. * Partnering with food joints serving healthy, low calorie food. | THREATS * Flexi timings/work from home culture * Cafeterias/food joints opening at workplaces. * New websites like snapdeal. com offering food coupons at cheap prices. * Increasing preference of people for outside food. * Working couples. | Outcomes of teamwork: 1) Six sigma level quality delivery(less than 1% error rate). 2) High customer satisfaction. ) No late delivery even in monsoon season. 4) Replacement readily available to cover for absenteeism. 5) A sense of ownership in the organization. 6) Renowned and respected around the world for teamwork and commitment, having name in case books of Harvard and other reputed management institutes, being invited at Prince Charles wedding. 7) No need for depending on technology guided by achievement motivation, trust and loyalty. 8) Sense of competitive collaboration. Advice to Retain Glory: 1) Increase the fund flow through associating with other brands to generate revenue for spending in employee welfare schemes. ) Develop new markets through expansion in adjoining cities of Mumbai. 3) Leverage the brand name by partnering with restaurants offering Healthy, low calorie food. 4) Engage more locals from Mumbai rather than from Pune to have longevity and sustainable competitive advantage. 5) Promote the use of new technology like solar heaters to keep food hot. Promote recently launched internet booking facility. 6) Venture into a restaurant chain offering home cooked food at affordable prices to the common man to take advantage of brand name.