General Management

Mumbai’s Dabbawalas

Amazing facts about Mumbai’s Dabbawalas

Mumbai’s Dabbawalas

1.They are not employees but self-employed entrepreneur. And they equal shareholder of Dabbawalas Trust.

2.Approximately 5000 dabbawalas in Mumbai to deliver Lunch boxes.

3.They cover nearly 60-70 square kilometer every day in and around Mumbai city.

4.They carry 4lacs dabbas (Lunch boxes) every day.

5.The most interesting fact is “they never used single piece of paper” to maintain any records.

6.All these men (dabbawalas) have different numbers and color coding system.

7.They got international recognition for their efficiency and punctuality for last 125 glorious years!.

8.They have colored number system like : CST3 (here  CST means Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus with route number 3, this is origin railway station code)  and 9AI22 (Here number 9 means Nariman Point and AI = Air India building  with number 22 means 22nd floor of the Air India building the dabbas are to be delivered)

9.All the dabbawalas are low educated. An average dabbawala is educated up to 9th grade schooling.

10.And their service is always uninterrupted, even in monsoon heavy rains.

11.Dabbawals have fans all over the world for their efficient management skills.

12.Prince Charles to Richard Branson to name a few all appreciates dabbawalas and theirs skills.

13.Now Dabbalawals are certified International standard: ISO 9001 in reliable quality management system.

14.Their transport system is – bicycle, Mumbai local trains and crates on their heads! (And Thanks to Mumbai Local Trains for the part of this world class service and timely connectivity) across all routes in crowded city of Mumbai.

  1. 6 sigma delivery rate i.e. 1 error in 6 million deliveries. (MBA grads and other management people should learn from them!).

16.Efficiency is : 99.9999%

17.Extensive research made by top B-schools of the world like Harvard Business schools, IBS, FedEx, IIM’s and IIT’s.

18.And, last but not least, they achieved six-sigma quality tag!


  • No alcohols drinking during duty time / business hours
  • Wearing white cap on head during business hours
  • Must carry identity cards
Penalty, if found:
  • Drinking during business hours: Rs.500
  • Smoking during business hours: Rs.100
  • Not wearing white cap: Rs.25
  • Not carrying ID card: Rs.25
  • Leave without intimation: Rs.1000/- (or sacked, if repeated 3-4 times)

Dabbawalas can be reached here for more information