The concept of ‘sharing’ is as old as the human brotherhood itself. Off late, it has gained renewed popularity thanks to the online social world. In Mumbai, India, which is the world’s fourth most populated city, the term ‘share’ took onanother meaning.
Apart from Bollywood, India’s stock market and its pulsating spirit, Mumbai is also famous for its Dabbawalas, which translates into ‘lunch box carriers and deliverers’.
This is a 125-year-old institution that employs over 4,500 delivery boys and transports over 200,000home-made lunch boxes everyday. Come rains, heat or floods nothing stops these dabbawalas from getting the lunchboxes to their customers.Dabbawalas, in collaboration with the Happy Life Welfare society, started the ‘Share My Dabba’ initiative. The lunch receivers, using a tiny red ‘Share’ sticker, can decide to share their leftover food with street children.
On a daily basis, there is about 16 tons of food wasted that now ends up being utilized. Once the meal has been eaten by the individual, he or she can choose to put the ‘Share’ sticker on their tiffin. Later these are segregated and its contents become a wholesome meal for the kids. This initiative helps feed Mumbai’s 200 thousand starving street children.
Mumbai’s Dabbawalasuse no technology (apart from local trains) and have an error rate as low as one in 8 million deliveries. Since most of the delivery men are illiterate, the lunch boxes have a distinguished color coding system which communicates their pick up and drop points. Their system has been called one of the most efficient in the world. They are certified Six Sigma for their superior service performanceand are a Harvard Business School case study for their low-cost, simple yet highly error-free operating system.