Bangalore: Can you identify your tiffin box if it gets shuffled among the tiffin boxes of your colleagues? Are you capable of performing your tasks without any technical aid? Yes. Your answers might be a big ‘no’. Okay how often do you or your company commit error? Your answer should be very often. Okay can you think of one company or sector which never had any police cases or any protests?
But if we ask the same question to the Dabbawalas of Mumbai they will boldly say that they commit error once in 6 million times. Isn’t that figure shocking? Yes it should be. The Dabbawalas are the wokers who perform the job of transferring the tiffin boxes given by housewives to their husbands working at offices.
Dr Pawan G Agarwal, chief executive officer of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association was here in the city yesterday to participate in an interactive session with the management students of Adarsh College.
“For the Dabbawalas work is worship. They did not apply for any ISO certificate or Sigma certificate. But they were awarded 6 Sigma certificate and the ISO certification came to them without any application. They might not know how much value or weight the above certificates carry, but they know that they need to deliver the ‘dabbas’ to their customers’ in-time for the lunch” said the ‘management guru’ who has done his PhD on the ‘Supply Chain Management of the Dabbawalas of Mumbai in his motivational speech inspiring the future managers.
Agarwal further carried the students all the way through his presentation and said “Students expect packages before work. They must expect the packages after work and not before it. Also honest matters a lot in the work we do. For instance fearing the increased number of thefts some customers have sent their salaries through the empty tiffin boxes with a confidence that it will reach their homes safely in the empty boxes by evening. That’s the result of the confidence we earned all these years”.
Many high profile companies are inviting the dabbawalas to deliver talks in their successful supply-chain system. Virgin Mobile fame Richard Branson too visited them and insisted of taking a snap with them so that he would hang that at his office and set the Dabbawalas as an example to his workers.
Currently Pawan Agrwal is carrying out his research on the ‘paperwalas’ and he is all set to meet former president of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam for his research as our past president too has worked as a paperwala.
Value Added Services of the Dabbawalas free of cost
In a hurry their customers forget to carry some things like spectacle, files etc to their offices. The Dabbawalas carry the forgotten things given to them along with the tiffin boxes.
Also there are instance where these dabbawalas have united angry couples. In an instance, a husband left to office after quarrelling with his wife with a note that he will not return home. But the wife sent a letter in the tiffin box to his angry husband apologizing and expressing her long hidden love via the dabbas. The husband in return sends the tiffin stuffed with two movie tickets for the night. Dabbawalas are evident in exchanging the messages between husbands and wives.
The Dabbawals use simple resources like match sticks to code the tiffin boxes. If the customer works at different floors they use the floor numbers. They use the names of the towers say EX for Express Towers. They use no name and no address to code.