The Dabbawalla’s secret

Zaki points us to the phenomenon of the Dabbawalla. These men deliver thousands of lunches every single day in Mumbai… from the person’s home to their office, hot and fresh.

The reported error rate is one in six million.

How is this possible? How do you create and run a service with thousand of employees, no technology and a poorly-educated workforce and have better than six sigma quality?

Simple: the dabbawallas know their customers. If they rotated the people around, it would never work. There’s trust, and along with the trust is responsibility. By creating a flat organization and building relationships, the system even survives monsoon season.