SIGMA AND DABBAWALLAH
Delivering The Goods : Forbes rates the lunch-box carriers of Mumbai on a par with Motorola
FOOD EXPRESS: The dabbawallahs ferry 1.5 lakh lunches daily with the help of simple codes.
It was an unusual story by Forbes Global, A marked departure from its sought-after macro-economic reviews and corporate analyses. The US-based business magazine recently zeroed in on Mumbai's dabbawallah.The lunch> logisticians who deliver 1.5 lakh lunch boxes to hungry office goers every day have in the past found mention in the Indian press, but the Forbes story was the first time an international organization had analyzed them scientifically and rated them as if they comprised a ...view middle of the document...
But it is a part of the daily grind. Just as it is for his colleague who sweats it out in the crowded local train to reach, say, south Mumbai's Churchgate terminus by 11.30 a.m. There groups of team members effortlessly sort out the tiffin's-thousands of them in less than 10 minutes-while others pack their carts with the boxes and dash off to the office districts.
By noon, Bhalekar and thousands like him have warm food in front of them. The entire process is reversed after the meal and Bhalekar's dabba reaches home well before he does. Behind this reliable-as-clockwork system is a relay of 4,500 hardworking dabbawallahs and a simple but effective coding system. The residential address, office address, railway stations of delivery and pick up are all crunched into a small series of letters and numbers,hand-painted on each client's tiffin. For instance, Bhalekar's lunch would carry the coding 3MC4, 3 for the carrier who delivers in Nariman Point, MC for his office in Mafatlal Centre and 4 for the floor his office is located on.
In another code below it, 10 is the number for the Churchgate station where the tiffin is offloaded and D for Dahisar station where it was collected. So advanced, and so loved...