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Lunchbox Legends: The Dabbawalas of Mumbai

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Mumbai prides itself on being a resilient, make-it-happen, 24 hour city, and no one embodies that spirit more than the Dabbawalas. Every day, 5000 Dabbawalas (or lunch couriers) deliver 350,000 lunches to their clients in stacked metal lunchboxes. Each lunchbox is picked up at the client's home (where it has been filled with home cooked food by a family member) and delivered to the office (still warm, in time for lunch). On this trip across the mega-city, each lunchbox will pass through the hands of at least twelve Dabbawalas, travelling by bicycle, local train, and foot. This in itself is an incredible enough operation, but what makes it truly remarkable, is the operation's error margin - an unbelievably low 1 in 6 million. A 125 year old operation, the Dabbawalas have only recently shot to fame, with a Forbes Magazine article in 2002, which acknowledged them as having exceeded the criteria for Six Sigma certification. Meet the men behind the world's most efficient organization. Two representatives of the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association traveled for the first time to Vancouver. Spokesperson Subodh Sangle, and Supervisor Kiran Gavande, showed a short film about their work, and shared their stories, organizational methods, and tips for entrepreneurial success.
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