Mumbai's Dabbawalas - An Entrepreneurial Success Story

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : LDEN028 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges



Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1950-2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers
Industry : Service
Countries : USA


The Dabbawalas who provide a lunch delivery service in Mumbai have been in the business for over 100 years.

In 1998, Forbes Global magazine conducted an analysis and gave them a Six Sigma rating of efficiency.

The case examines how the Dabbawalas operate. It describes their delivery process and coding system and how they work as one team to achieve a common goal.

The case also explores the future of the Dabbawalas' service in light of the changing environment.


  How an entrepreneurial venture starts. The reasons behind the success of an enterprise. How a traditional business can survive threats from the external environment through the years.


  Page No.
A Six Sigma Performance 1
Background Note 2
Organizational Structure and Working Style 3
Delivery System 4
Will the Dabbawalas continue to feed the Hungry? 5
Exhibits 7


Dabbawalas, lunch, delivery service, Mumbai, 100 years, Forbes, Global magazine, analysis, Six Sigma rating, efficiency, operate, delivery process, coding system, one team, common goal, future, Dabbawalas, changing environment.

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