Operations Management: Services offered by Dabbawala


Dabbawala’s service offers an amazing dependability for several reasons, including proper planning, a systematic cycle framework, establishing trust relationships, effective, reliable transport system, and a clear operations management policy. On the other hand, the objectives of operations management regarding the services offered by Dabbawala include quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and cost. Therefore, these goals are relevant to this case study since the nature of operations involved are intensive and require accurate planning. However, the main threats to the service of Dabbawalas comprise transport system failures, competition from alternative service providers, the absence of proper structures, failure to embrace modern technology, and lack of proper networks.

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Five Performance Objectives of an Operation in Dabbawala

Quality refers to the aspect of bringing everything on the right course regarding delivering the goods and services to the clients. Through doing things accurately, it is possible to influence the quality of the services and goods delivered. There are two imperative factors concerning quality, including internal and external. The external quality underscores the ability to influence customer satisfaction, while internal quality affirms the activities that result in the reduction of price through diminishing the degree of mistakes as well as augmenting the dependability through a system of efficient and stable processes (Slack, Stuart, & Robert 2010). In fact, this is relevant to the Dabbawalas since the firm can increase customer satisfaction by supplying quality food efficiently.

Speed is a vital objective of operations management relevant to the case study since delivering lunch is supposed to occur at a certain time. Therefore, this objective underscores the aspect of doing things effectively to decrease the time taken to deliver the lunch boxes. Speed also reduces inventory through diminishing time and risks of holding the dispensation of resources (Slack, Stuart, & Robert 2010). In essence, speed improves customer services since clients do not have to wait long to receive their delivery.  

Dabbawalas are supposed to be dependable as an operations management objective, which will increase customer satisfaction and efficiency. The delivery men should always distribute lunch boxes on time to offer quality service to the clients. The customers should receive their lunch boxes either when they need them or when they were promised to receive them (Slack, Stuart, & Robert, 2010). Dependability offers an aspect of stability to the business.

In this sense, Dabbawallas ought to be flexible to change their operations to suit the demands of the customers. Flexibility involves factors like speed, quality, range of goods, time inputs, and outputs (Slack, Stuart, & Robert, 2010). Another imperative objective of operations management that is relevant with the Dabbawalas is cost. The services of lunch delivery ought to be productive and affordable. Therefore, the lunch services and products should be offered at a reasonable price to increase customer satisfaction and profit.

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The Reason Behind Dabbawalas’ Service Dependability

The workers often start their operations early enough to ensure that the orders are taken, and plan is made toward getting the lunch boxes in time (Askin & Standridge 1993). Next is the preparation of lunch, which is then packaged and taken to the railway station for ferrying (Chase, Jacobs, & Aquilano 2007). Once the lunch boxes arrive in the town, there are distributors ready to deliver them to the customers. In this case, the process ensures that the customers receive their meals at the right time and without any delays whatsoever (Malakooti 2013). Personal networking between the lunch distributors and the clients is another vital reason the Dabbawalas offer highly dependable service. The people in charge of delivering the lunch boxes to the customers have a very high connection with the clients at a personal level (Poluha 2016). Therefore, the collaboration between the clients and employees becomes one of the main reasons why the customers have faith in the company. In such an environment of trust, the Dabbawalas are committed to delivering quality service at any given time to cement the relationship. As such, the Dabbawalas are also very much passionate about their work, a situation that increases their degree of effectiveness and dependability.

The Main Threats to Dabbawalas’ Service

Worth noting is that this service relies on the Indian railway transport system for success; therefore, in the case of delays in the transportation networks, it might become difficult to meet the demands of the customers. Since the Dabbawalas delivers lunch, any slight delay could result in customer dissatisfaction since lunchtime hours are usually fixed (Burnetas & Katehakis 1993). In addition, the entry of alternative service providers could be a major blow to the services of Dabbawalas since the new providers could employ better tactics, offer appealing lunches, and customize the services.

The Dabbawalas are currently operating in a monopoly that the entry of new service providers could challenge. The failure to embrace modern technology could be a major threat to the survival of the business since, in today’s fast-paced society, there is no time for inefficiency (Montgomery 2012). Therefore, there should be an endeavor to increase the efficiency of the services though embracing modern technology (Hill 2000). Under those premises, the Dabbawalas should operate through either mobile phones or internet to reach many customers simultaneously without having to travel physically to where the potential and existing clients are (Buzacott & Shanthikumar 1993). Through embracing change, particularly the new information technology, the Dabbawalas can significantly improve their market situation and achieve more success in future. Evidently, the viability of their business is based on the ability to change.


As indicated in the discussion, the Dabbawalas have succeeded in offering effective and dependable services based on the fact that there is a good connection between buyers and suppliers, good transport system, and the trust. In addition, the services can be improved through the espousal of modern technology in communication. The objectives of operations management regarding the services of Dabbawalas comprise flexibility, cost, dependability, and stability, among others. The services are based on concrete operations management principles that guide the entire process. Therefore, the company must maintain the identified objectives to remain relevant in the industry. However, the services of Dabbawalas are under several threats that undermine their effectiveness and survival. Therefore, to overcome challenges in business, the Dabbawalas must embrace change by adopting modern information technology and improve the intervention between customers and buyers.


Reference List

Askin, R. G., & C.R. Standridge. 1993, Modeling & analysis of manufacturing systems. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

 Burnetas A.N. & Katehakis M. N.1993, “On sequencing two types of tasks on a single processor under incomplete information”, Probability in the Engineering and Informational Sciences, 7 (1), 85-0119

Buzacott, J.A. & Shanthikumar, J.G.1993. Stochastic models of manufacturing systems. Boston: Prentice Hall.

Chase, R. B., Jacobs, F.R. & Aquilano N.J. 2007, Operations management for competitive advantage, 11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.

 Hill, T. 2000, Manufacturing strategy-text and cases, 3rd ed. New York: Mc-Graw Hill.

Hopp, M. S. 2011, Factory physics, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Waveland Press.

Malakooti, B. (2013). Operations and production systems with multiple objectives. Boston: John Wiley & Sons

Montgomery, D.C. 2012, Statistical quality control: a modern introduction, 7th edition. New York: Prentice Hall.

Poluha R.G.2016, The quintessence of supply chain management: what you really need to know to manage your processes in procurement, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics (Quintessence Series). First Edition. New York: Springer Heidelberg ordrecht. 

Slack. N., Stuart, C., and Robert, J. 2010, Operations management. Harlow, England: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

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