“Mumbai Dabbawallahs” demystified as National Entrepreneurship Summit kicks off at IIM Kozhikode

The 2nd National Entrepreneurship Summit, 2012 at IIM Kozhikode started off on a high note on October 27, 2012 with an inaugural lecture by Sri Raghunath Medge, President of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association famously known as the “Mumbai Dabbawallahs”. With the theme-Redefining Entrepreneurship: More than starting up”, the two-day summit promises to bring together ideas and resources from across the state that would boost budding entrepreneurs in their efforts to start a business. Organized by the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIM Kozhikode, the summit will bring together renowned personalities from the entrepreneurial ecosystem including Mrs Rashmi Bansal , author of ‘Stay Hungry Stay Foolish’, Mr. Kartik Vaidyanathan- Founder Free Energy and Mr. Sijo Kuruvilla-Founder, Start-up Village Kochi among others.

In his inaugural lecture, Sri Raghunath Medge spoke in detail about the unmatched efficiency with which the dabbawallahs collect nearly 2 lakh tiffin boxes from suburban homes in Mumbai every day and deliver them at their offices and factories at lunchtime. With a coverage area of 60-70 km and an average of 4 lakh transactions per day carried out by nearly 5000 dabbawallahs, Sri Medge had a quite a story to tell about the way the dabbawallahs operate. A unique coding system designed by Sri Medge himself ensures that each lunch box reaches its rightful owner in time with an error rate of 1 in 16 million. A high precision sustained for more than a century since 1890 when the trust was established has led to an award of six-sigma rating. Sri Medge though refuses to place the entire credit for this precision on the Dabbawallahs alone. “Four of those six sigmas are actually due somewhere else — two to the Mumbai trains and two to our cycles”, he said. He also touched upon the policy of strict disciplinary conduct for nearly 5000 Dabbawallahs where not wearing a cap or being absent without prior notice entails a fine of Rs. 1000. He concluded his talk with the brief snippets of the major achievements and milestones in the illustrious journey of the organization, most notable among them being the visit of Prince Charles and Richard Branson.

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