A Dabbawala (one who carries the Box), is a person in the Indian city of
Mumbai whose job is to carry and deliver freshly made food from home in
lunch boxes to office workers. Tiffin is an old-fashioned English word for a
light lunch, and sometimes for the box it is carried in.
The product Element here is basically a service they provide to the office
goers by delivering their Tiffin box or more commonly called as ‘Dabba’ in the
city of Mumbai.
There are other ancillary physical products such as Tiffin Box, Gandhi
Cap, Video CD on Dabbawala, Dabbawala Mug, Dabbawala T-shirt. These
products are sold by the trust to earn more money and to work for the welfare of
Place And Time
The Mumbai dabbawallas journey start from Andheri station. At this
place they put all the dabbas collected from different places of houses. They
load the wooden crates filled with tiffins onto the luggage or goods
compartment in the train. Generally they choose to occupy the last compartment
of the train. After that they unloading all the dabbas on the Church Gate Station
which is there destination place. They re-arrange the tiffins as per the
destination area and destination building. In particular areas with high density of
customers such as Nariman point, Fort, Cst a special crate is dedicated to the
area. This crate carries 150 tiffins and is driven by 3-4 dabbawallas.
After that return journey start at all destination stations. Here begins the
collection process where they have to collect tiffins from different offices where
they have delivered an hour ago. Then they segregate the dabbas at destination
stations. Finally they again reach to there origin place (Andheri station) where
the final sorting and dispatching takes places according to their origin area.
The journey of Mumbai dabbawallas start in morning at 9:34-10:30. They
collect the dabbas from different places between 10:34 to 11:20. They travel in
the local train and choose the last compartment. After that between 11:20 to
12:30 they unload all the dabbas and re- arrange according to their destination
area and destination building. Then the collection process starts between 1:15 to
2:00. They pick up all the dabbas where they had delivered an hour ago. Now
the group members start segregating the dabbas according to destination
between 2:00 to 2:30. Between 2:48 to 3:30 the return journey by train takes
place after routine of dispatching and collecting. Since it is more of pleasant
journey compared to earlier part of the day, they ligheten up their moment with
merry making, joking around and singing. Finally the stage between 3:30 to
4:00 where the final sorting and dispatch of dabbas takes place as per their
Promotion and Education
• Dabbawala’s are in Tiffin distribution field since last 125 years hence
they don’t need any promotional tool for their business. Though they are
used by other business units as promotional tool for their business units
• Orders through SMS and online is accepted by the organisation and they
have come up with a site named mydabbawala.com
• As reliance power is making best use of them. If you receive dabba it is
very possible that you will get IPO application along with it.
• Maharashtra government has roped them in to spread of AIDS awareness.
• Film industry is using them to promote their films. Example at time of
movie tashan release they were used and the response to it was very good.
• World record in best time management with Six Sigma rating.
• Name in “GUINESS BOOK of World Records”.
• Registered with Ripley's “believe it or not”.
• World record in best time management.
• Participated in “Deal Ya No Deal Contest” by Sony Entertainment
Price and Other User Outlays
The Cost of Service per person is Rs250/month it is Standard price for all
(Weight, Distance and Space). The Dabbawalas Turnover is Approx Rs
50cr.Total Earning of 20 people is Rs125000. Earning per person varies from
Rs5000 to 6000/month. Maintenance Cost is Rs 35000 per year. Tiffin Luggage
Basket pass is Rs 180 per person. Maintenance Cost of cycles is Rs300 that is
for 2cycles per month .Maintenance of wooden boxes is Rs100 per person .If
any Police robbery of Tiffin is Rs500 yearly. An organizational fee is Rs 15 per
head and Puja held per station Rs50 per head. They get Diwali bonus one
month’s from customers.
Other physical products
• Dabba ( Tiffin box) is Rs.200/-
• Gandhi cap is Rs 50/-
• Video CD is Rs.200/-
• Dabbawala Mug is Rs.300/-
• Dabbawala T-shirt Rs 400/-
Mumbai is the financial hub of the country. It is the most populous city in
India and the second most populous in the world, with approximately 20 million
inhabitants. It generates a big part of income generated in India. The climate of
Mumbai is humid between March and October, and rains lash the Mumbai from
June to September. Mumbai is facing high problem during the rainy season.
They are mainly facing the problem of floods from last three to four years. But
still Dabbawala are working their work continuously.
So we can say that they have to do hard work to survive in the Physical
• Providing service in highly populated city.
• Have to travel 60-70 kms in a route.
• Have to travel by walking, cycle, carts and even by Local trains.
• Have to travel from one place to another in hot summers.
• Have to face the lot of crowd for the fulfilment of service.
• Even they have to provide service in high rains.
The person who serves Tiffin to the customer is well known about the
physical environment of that area and because of that Dabbawalas are able to
serve in every season so this helps a lot to Dabbawalas in achieving Six Sigma.
This is the process that is being followed by the dabbawalas to carry on their job
efficiently and with precision.
• This time period is actually the journey time. The dabbawalas load the
wooden crates filled with tiffins onto the luggage or goods compartment
in the train. Generally, they choose to occupy the last compartment of the
• In particular areas with high density of customers, a special crate is
dedicated to the area. This crate carries 150 tiffins and is driven by 3-4
1:15 – 2:00 pm
Here on begins the collection process where the dabbawalas have to pick up the
tiffins from the offices where they had delivered almost an hour ago.
2:00 – 2:30 pm
• The group members meet for the segregation as per the destination
2:48 – 3:30 pm
• The return journey by train where the group finally meets up after the
day’s routine of dispatching and collecting from various destination
• Usually, since it is more of a pleasant journey compared to the earlier part
of the day, the dabbawalas lighten up the moment with merry making,
joking around and singing
3:30 – 4:00 pm
• This is the stage where the final sorting and dispatch takes place. The
group meets up at origin station and they finally sort out the tiffins as per
the origin area
Dabbawala’s are serving people from last 125 years and the individuals
who are associated with dabbawala’s in serving people are 8th grade pass, so we
can say that dabbawala’s are helping affluent class by serving them and also the
needy class by making them serve.
The very interesting facts which we would like to mention over here is
there are 5000 dabbawala’s and each and every dabbawala is shareholder of the
system. 635 of them are senior employees, but there is no hierarchy and
president of the company also works as dabbawala, travels with them, and share
with them. It shows that the people associated with this company are down to
earth and this is the reason why there is not even a single strike during 125 years
of their work.
In Mumbai the dabbawala must be Marathi and if he got older than he can
refer his relative in his place, so we can say that all dabbawala’s are from same
region so there is least chance of conflict between them.