Thursday, December 25, 2008
Everyone I guess knows about the dabbawallahs or has at least heard about this system. But many few of us know the finer details.
Dabbawallah system started way back in 1890 during the British time. It so happened, that one of the Parsi banker did not want to eat outside food for his lunch because of two reasons, one that his bank balance was rapidly going down and next his doctor fees was rapidly going up. So he hired a personal servant who would go to his home in afternoon and bring his lunch cooked by his wife.
Now Avaji bacchi (I have to verify this name as I could not hear it properly and net connection is too slow to verify) saw this and thought that it was a good market need and that there should be loads of people like the Parsi Banker. So he started the Dabba service and one of the most initial dabbawallas were farmers who practically did not have any work for half the year.
Today that humble beginning has grown tremendously and has survived for about 118 years and one the most primary reasons for it surviving is according to Manish is that all the Dabbawallas are stake holders. Manish high lights some of the key achievements of this system.
1. There are about 450 dabbawallahs in Mumbai
2. Their yearly revenue is about 10Million.
3. And most importantly in all 118 years this institution has not gone for a strike even once :) :).
Manish Tripathi then says that, "Over the years working with this system I have learnt one important lesson, I am going to share the secret of this success with you. And my secret about this is that it is very difficult to manage the educated people"
He explaines, "If I have Karsanbhai dabbawalla and an IIM graduate with me and I ask them to deliver one dabba from Andheri to Dadar. By the time I tell Dadar Karsanbhai would already be running to deliver the box while IIM graduate would be asking hundreds of question as to the best method of doing it and reason for doing it and so on"He then says that 85% of dabbawallas are thumps up i.e they cannot read and write. Then he puts this all important lesson, "I am not saying that you should hire uneducated people. All I am saying is that you should hire suitably educated people. If you need graduate and you hire post graduate then all he/she would do is to go to naukri.com and look for a better job”
Manish finished his talk by giving the important lesson that most important thing in entrepreneurship is to solve the problems. And if you are committed to solving the problem money and everything will automatically follow.
Manish did not use any great poems or great lines to give his talk and it was not pre-prepared talk. It was straight from the heart and what he had learnt over the years, very simple and straightforward, I guess very much reflecting the culture of Dabbawallahs.
I guess everyone would remember the ad of Lijjat Papads that used to come on Door Darshan, I remember that it had this tagline of “Khai Jao, Khilae Jao Lijjat Papad”.
Over years Lijjat papad has remained the symbol of women strength. Started way back in 1959 by seven women with the capital of 80 rupees, today it has grown to about 40 branches engaging about 42 thousand ladies.
The organization structure is very simple. Each department is independent, and manages its own profit and loss. The quality is maintained by a central trust. All the raw materials are procured by the central trust and Aata is mixed in each center. Every morning women come and collect their “Aata mixture” and go home, make and dry papads and return them next day morning to get new “Aata mixture”. They get paid fixed amount per kg, which is about 20 rupees a kg of work. There is not restriction to joining, any women can go and start making papads straightaway after signing and promising to abide by the pledge which states that “work is worship and they would not cheat”. All the decisions are taken by the women internally. There are no men involved in this organization.
And the best thing about this organization is that women get to work from home, that ways they can take care of their family and kids and also contribute economically to the family. This is the best part about this organization. Four ladies of Lijjat Papad had come, and one of them being Jyoti Naik. They did not use any MBA words, neither did talk like revenue targets or how they want to grow. They were very simple. From them it just seemed that one simple mantra of Lijjat Papad is “Papad”, that is what they focus on, nothing more. These women don’t care about the competition, about market ups and downs, they just believe that if they make good tasty papads, at whatever small scale that they can, they would be able to sell them.
Of course you may argue that 42 branches in about 40 years is not such a speedy progress, but then for what they stand for and the system that they have created is really amazing. The idea being to empower women, and now they do lot of other side activities, like teaching women, training them to make other stuff such as pickles etc. I guess it is a great example of how women can come together and create something as big as this.
I am really looking forward to this trip and I always wanted to visit places like Aravind eye hospital and bare foot college. Also we are going to be about 300 people in a train, a special train, staying on train for next 18 days, so everything looks exciting.
The format of trip is mostly to travel at night and visit one of the places during the day time. The purpose of visit is to understand their business model and figure out how each of these have made it big in their own fields. Idea is to learn, and I guess there is no better way to learn than traveling.
The complete list of places that we visit is available here www.jagritiyatra.com,
So I guess my blog coming days is going to be filled with details about this trip, assuming I get a change to blog on train. Most of the blogs will not have pictures as it is simply not possible to upload pictures when you are traveling, so guess would do that when I get to Bangalore
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
I just finished reading this book from "Rohinton Mistry" called Fine Balance.
Very few books have touched me so much as this book. This book is a story about four individuals, bought together by fate, trying to wriggle out of the endless circle of poverty, uncertainty of life, during the time of Emergency (1975)
After RK Narayan, and out of my limited reading habit, this is the best of fiction that I have read till now.
More than that I learnt so many things about Indian history and about the time of emergency that I never read in history books.
Highly recommended read.