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Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach to longterm success through customer satisfaction. In a TQM effort, all members of an organization participate in improving processes, products, services and the culture in which they work. The methods for implementing this approach come from the teachings of such quality leaders as Philip B. Crosby, W. Edwards Deming, Armand V. Feigenbaum, Kaoru Ishikawa and Joseph M. Juran. A core concept in implementing TQM is Demings 14 points, a set of management practices to help companies increase their quality and productivity: 1. 2. 3. 4. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and services. Adopt the new philosophy. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. End the practice of awarding business on price alone; instead, minimize total cost by working with a single supplier. 5. Improve constantly and forever every process for planning, production and service. 6. Institute training on the job. 7. Adopt and institute leadership. 8. Drive out fear. 9. Break down barriers between staff areas. 10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations and targets for the workforce. 11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the workforce and numerical goals for management. 12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship, and eliminate the annual rating or merit system. 13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement for everyone. 14. Put everybody in the company to work accomplishing the transformation.


Dabbawala was started in 1890 by one Mr. mahadeo havaji bachche. He was once asked by a parsi working in the britishers rank, will you bring my tiffin from my home? he simply answered yes, i will, no problem. from that day onwards, he started to collect tiffins from homes and delivering them to the respective workplaces. . In 1890, there was one dabbawala and one customer, and now, there are 5000 dabbawalas and 200,000 customers, which means, one dabbawala carries approximately 40 tiffins. The maximum weight comes to 65-70kg; carrying that much weight in the crowded local trains is a lot of hard work Why do they do it then? Work is worship. And, as far as qualification is concerned, you will see that the average literacy rate is 8th grade schooling; which means the dabbawalas are illiterate and yet they have managed to achieve a six sigma quality rating, which means only one wrong service in a 6 million deliveries. Ownership is a feeling that an employee has to instill in oneself, and unless you get that feeling of ownership you cannot work excellently. In 120 years, it has never happened that a dabbawala has failed to deliver. Its impossible. They will never tell you that the trains are late today, and even if mumbai trains are late, the tiffins cant be late. The dabbawala knows that if hes not going in time, his customer will eat outside food, pay money for it and waste time. The dabbawala knows the consequences of going late. So he always goes on time. Which is only possible through total quality management.


VLP : Vile Parle (suburb in Mumbai) 9EX12 : Code for Dabbawalas at Destination EX : Express Towers (building name) 12 : Floor no. E : Code for Dabbawala at residential station 3 : Code for destination Station eg. Churchgate Station (Nariman Point)

Let us now look at an example of these codes on the Tiffin's to better understand the system and what it all denotes.

Another thing is the coding system; about 100 years ago, they were using colour codes. Then when Mumbai grew and the number of customers increased, they started using alphabets; A for Andheri, B for Bandra, etc. And today, they write a proper code with details of the source, destination and all the dabbawalas involved in that particular delivery. When this tiffin is coded and then washed, sometimes the coding becomes unclear, so the dabbawala takes colour out of his pocket and overwrites the code. He doesnt complain about it, he just finishes the job. Due to the overcrowded Mumbai local trains, some people enter the luggage department, and when they do, the tiffins stick to their heads. So they start fighting with the dabbawalas and the dabbawalas also fight with them but only till the station arrives, because after that theyre more interested in the delivery. They use carts for longer distances. In running local trains, they sort the tiffins to save time.




Mumbai trains are late, the tiffins cant be late. The dabbawala knows that if hes not going in time, his customer will eat outside food, pay money for it and waste time. The dabbawala knows the consequences of going late. So he always goes on time. The people of Mumbai say with confidence that our lunch can go wrong but not the Mumbai dabbawalas. So nobody can stop you from being punctual. In a lot of institutes, I have found that there are a number of teachers, a number of professors, who always come late because, according to me, they decide to go late. Time is very important and it is possible to be punctual if you have a strong structure. Dabbawalas dont know the meaning of structure. Let me speak about (mukdal) group leaders. A group has 10, 20, or 25 dabbawallas, depending on the density of customers in your area, and their in-charge is the group leader. The responsibility to keep the dabbawalas and the customers happy is on the group leader. Despite the fact that he doesnt get even a rupee extra for the extra10% that he works, he feels proud to be a group leader. For example, the group leader also takes care of the train passes of the dabbawalas, to check whether they have expired or not; he reminds the dabbawalas in case their passes are about to expire in the next 2-3 days and also buys the pass for the dabbawala if he fails to do so himself in order to ensure that timely delivery doesnt suffer. I will tell you an instance of how one dabbawala performs duty in one day. He collects 40 tiffins from a particular area and drops them in the Vile Parle railway station because his customer is from Vile Parle. He cant deliver all of them because he would have to go all over Mumbai, so he leaves these 40 there. Thats his first job. His second job is to collect 35-40 tiffins from his group leader and deliver them to DADAR. His third job is to deliver 30 tiffins to CHAVANI ROAD, and in the fourth job from CHAVANI ROAD, he delivers 30 tiffins to Churchgate. His fifth job is to go from Church Gate to deliver 30 tiffins to NARIMAN POINT. Finally, in his sixth job, he delivers 30 tiffins to Express Tower to the customers before lunch time and after lunch, he will reroute back to his original area and deliver the same tiffins from where he had collected them. After all this, Forbes has found 1 erroneous delivery out of 6 million deliveries, but they dont accept that either. They are unhappy that that one error has occurred.

People work so hard for three and Four Sigma but dabbawalas got Six Sigma because they didnt care about the certification and cared only about customer satisfaction. It is a big achievement especially without the use of technology. Even if the dabbawalas use technology in the form of mobile phones, they cant because both their hands are used in delivering tiffins. Technology is useless for them for delivery. And after all this, they charge only 400 rupees per month for delivery. So, I asked one dabbawala why they charge so less. He said his customers are poor. I asked him how much he earns; he said Rs 6000-7000 or Rs 8000-9000 a month. If they want more income, they work extra. Dabbawala then gave me an example of a teacher, who earns only Rs 5000 per month as a government rule. He said, Despite the teachers double graduation, I earn more than him, so Im happy.

AS we know that, any company had just started any new business and after that company get success in his business, then company is leader in their business. If the company has just entered the market, so if they need to be more who were first , and they are market leader. In that way Mumbai dabbawala had develop first business like to carry dabbas from door to door and to supply its respective destination.


They work as workis worship. Their motto is 100% customer satisfaction, with no error. Their logistics and supply chain system is top in the world. With six sigma rating, they work on central, western and harbor raily lines. We care for health of our customer by providing home cooked food prepared by their loved one.

Error rate is 1 in 16 million transactions. Six Sigma performance (99.999999) Technological Backup: Nil. Cost of service - Rs. 300/month ($ 6.00/month) Standard price for all (Weight, Distance, Space) Rs. 36 Cr. Turnover approx. [6000*12*5000=360000000 i.e Rs. 36 crore p.a.] No strike record as each one a share holder Earnings -5000 to 6000 p.m. Diwali bonus: one month's from customers modern

Zero % fuel Zero % technology 99.9999% performance

Zero % investment 100 % Customer Satisfaction Zero % Disputes


Recent developments
AFTER, the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, security has been reinforced which has complicated life for the dabbawalas. They may have to wait at the security desk for the customer to come and pick up his box which can affect a tightly planned schedule, or they may have to leave the box with the security guard and run the risk of dabbawala infamy, a lost box. Ideas have been tendered for system expansion. But the dabbawalas have preferred to keep it simple and stick to what they do best. One suggestion was to get into the cooking business. Other ideas focused on the transport side. One was to bypass the railway system, thus avoiding any infrastructure snafus. Another was to use faster motorbikes in place of the bicycles. One innovation that has been tested is the delivery of advertisements or product samples with the lunch. But attaching the flyers to the boxes and keeping accurate sorting added complexity. Just one or two such projects are taken on in a month. The case closes with the possibility of using communications technology to enhance the system. The operational committee must decide whether to expand the website to allow online ordering and whether to equip the dabbawalas with cell phones for text messaging on order inquiries. But as Indian cooking has changed little over the millennia, Mumbai lunch delivery might not change much in the next few years. Selling hi-tech to the lo-tech, lo-error dabbawalas is going to take some spicy persuading.

After referring the Mumbai dabbawalas service strategy, we get to know that their total quality management is best in the world with six sigma quality standard. Apart from that they dont use any technological tool for work, though they provide their excellent services to their customer, and they provide tiffines time to time to their customer. Six sigma service providers and 100% customer satisfaction level achievers r really satisfied .though they r earning very less amount from their business, though their job is to hectic in nature, though they dont have any social security measures for their safety but their glazing eyes though they are satisfied with their job. Customer is god and service to customer is as same as service to god. Dabbawala whatever they earn from serving tiffines boxes which is not enough to fulfill their basic need, but they never think about it and they provide services on time and achieving their daily target of delivering Tiffins within a time. Dabbawala is symbol of honesty, time management and loyalty.