Skip to Content
"Dabbawalas" are a unique group of men in Mumbai who collect packed meals from homes and deliver them to their customer’s offices by lunch time. Easily recognizable by their plain white cotton attire, a Gandhi cap, and carrying over a dozen lunches before lunch hour/afternoon. They have come to stand for excellent organizational skills, on time delivery and close to zero error rates.
The island city of Mumbai is a long strip of land where thousands commute tens of kilometres each day in order to make a living. As most of them wake up early in the morning to make their long journey to their workplace, they lose out on homemade meals. The Mumbai dabbawala bridges this gap by bringing homemade food to them in uniquely coded lunch boxes (dabbas).
Punctuality, unity, discipline, and a unique coding system that is comprehendible to the semi-literate ones enable the 5,000 Mumbai dabbawalas maintain an almost zero error rate, delivering meals to over 200,000 people on a daily basis, "It is like a relay race, if one person is running late, the next one compensates for the lost time," explains one dabbawala in service.
Over the years, the business model of the Mumbai dabbawala has remained simple, relying heavily on the modes of transport that include trains and bicycles. The frequency, speed and reach of the city’s rail network have been instrumental in the success of this model. Most of the city’s population banks on trains as they are reliable, convenient and economical; the trains also witness technical advancements from time to time. No wonder, the Mumbai rail network has the highest passenger density in the world.
Propulsion and electrical systems developed by Siemens power the Mumbai rail network, ensuring safe and comfortable travel. The advanced passenger information system enables commuters to always stay updated about train schedules. This facilitates many success stories and efficient systems like that of the Mumbai dabbawalas.
Mumbai is home to 20.5 million people. As many arterial roads are often blocked due to an overload of vehicles, many rely on Mumbai’s suburban rail network to commute in this densely populated city.
For almost a decade, Siemens has been providing holistic solutions for the Mumbai rail network to improve mobility, safety and reduce the carbon footprint. It designs train coaches that make the travel experience comfortable for passengers. In view of the heavy passenger load, the trains are designed to carry 16 persons per square metre. Another strategic design is the equipment mounted below the coach, which is flood proof up to 760mm from rail level. This proves useful during monsoons. Besides, there is a forced ventilation system in each compartment, which is crucial during peak hour rush.
Siemens powers the Mumbai trains with its high-end technology solutions. It has a software in place that provides jerk-free acceleration, aided by the improved track conditions. Siemens’ regenerative braking technology installed in the trains ensures that energy generated during braking is transferred back to the grid. It also helps to save energy considerably, by almost 30%.
Siemens’ technology solutions benefit passengers and motormen alike, as they can track useful, real-time information in audio-visual format through electronic display systems. The trains are also equipped with Siemens Auxiliary Warning System (AWS) that stops the train if signals are misinterpreted, thereby reducing chances of accidents due to human error.
Click and Win
The contest is now closed.
…And the winners of the #WhatsForLunch Contest are:
Heartiest congratulations to each of you!
We saw an incredibly large number of participants in this contest and we extend our deepest gratitude to each entrant. Our pursuit wouldn’t have been brought to fruition without each and every one of you.
We at Siemens, are trying to bring to the fore the contribution Mumbai Dabbawalas , who have helped create the city’s very own packed home-meal-delivery-service that ensures that 200,000 people in the city healthy, home cooked food.
A clever marking code and use of bicycles and local trains, makes the Dabbawalas an efficient six-sigma quality service. Siemens propulsion and electrical systems help Mumbai’s local trains run smoothly, efficiently and on-time.
Do catch the triumphant story of the unfaltering 125-year-old Dabbawala industry here: