All in a Day’s Work

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A system that came out of nowhere, whose origins remain hazy somewhere in the latter half of the 1800’s, whose creators cannot possibly be identified. It’s been described as one of the most efficient systems in the world, Harvard has drafted case studies on it and Forbes has certified it six sigma. It’s a system that directly affects over 200 thousand people every day. It’s run by people who do not have college degrees, who do not understand structured education.

And it’s possible only in the amazing city of Bombay. One can’t really say that they’ve boosted tourism in Mumbai, but the dabbawallas have definitely rocketed themselves to international fame; what with a photo opportunity with Prince Charles and all. Following a dabbawallah for a day is not yet a popular thing to do in Mumbai. And the best part is their efficiency still remains a secret, probably to themselves as well. How do they do it?

And as we sit pondering trying to figure it out, they’ve come up with something even more amazing. Those dabbawallahs, I tell you! They are a common places to see in Mumbai during lunchtime. They handle around 120 tons of food on a daily basis; around 16 tons of which goes to waste. Somedays, your just not hungry, or you simply aren’t in the mood for the lauki and tinda that has been packed with so much love. How do you save 16 tons of good food, in tiny differently sized portions divided among 200 thousand dabbas, with no loss of efficiency in your six sigma system? Trust these guys to come up with a solution.

And that too as simple as this! A small round, red sticker with the letter “share” written on it. You have food leftover, just put a sticker on it. On their way back, the dabbawallahs separate the dabbas with stickers on them. These are given to a bunch of volunteers who distribute and share the food among Bombay’s almost 200 thousand starving children.

There’s no such system anywhere else in the world, let alone the country. Simple, Ingenious & Efficient – Just another day in the life of a dabbawalla!

As the newest member of the content team, Shivangi Rajendran comes from the world of professional dancing. With a passion for travel and a flair for writing, the Masters in Mass Communication is just an added advantage. A gypsy at heart, she doesn’t believe in planning and is always ready to pack her bags and leave.

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  • My Say! India.

    very nice post and awesome click Shivangi !

    • Shivangi Rajendran

      Thanks….these guys are damn cool!