DabbaBefore you ask a Dabbawala isn’t one of the vertically challenged characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nope. A Dabbawala is a person in the city of Mumbai whose job is to deliver freshly made food in lunch boxes called Dabbas (see image to the left), to office workers.

Over 200,000 lunches are delivered every single day by around 5000 Dabbawalas.

Seth Godin pointed out the other day on his blog that a recent report suggested an error rate for these people is a phenomenal one in six million!

How can this be? Apparently it’s all down to teamwork and time management.

The teams are dedicated and committed and are comprised of a mainly male workforce. It’s an amazing chain of delivery which simply goes from order-takers to deliverers, all overseen by a single layer management team.

Efficiency is powered by pride and each dabbawala is required to supply and maintain their own equipment for the role. Two bicycles each, a wooden crate for the dabbas, and a white pyjama style uniform and cap.

Pride in the role means that nobody wants to get it wrong – what and be the laughing stock of 4,999 other dabbawalas?

So, how’s your customer service doing?