Dabbawallahs of Mumbai (A)
The president of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust had just returned to his office after meeting with Britain's Prince Charles, who was on an official visit to Mumbai. The Trust was the managing organization of the dabbawallah meal delivery network. The dabbawallah's service was cited internationally by management scholars and industry executives as an exemplar in supply chain and service management. The service had acquired a reputation for its delivery reliability in Mumbai. International interest in the dabbawallahs was largely due to a 1998 article published by Forbes. However, many observers now expressed concerns over the future viability of the dabbawallahs' service given the difficulty in duplicating its delivery network elsewhere, the emergence of other lunch competitors in Mumbai, and an array of environmental changes affecting both its customers and the workforce. The case allows a discussion of service and supply chain management issues related to operational excellence.
India, Small, 2003
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