One of my favorite parts of the trip was learning and seeing the Dabbawallas in Mumbai. While we had learned about it previously in TO301, it was great to see the dabbawallas in action in real life. Previously, I did not realized that they used public transport via trains and that they didn’t use computers for the supply chain operation. Because of this, it was that more impressive that they rarely ever deliver the wrong lunch. One thing that I noticed was the sheer number of lunchbags that were just at that one station. Picking up a bag, the dabbawalla knew exactly where the lunch was headed based off the coding of the bag. Despite the large number of deliveries, there was clearly strong system behind the approach. Additionally, it was interesting to hear how the dabbawalla profession was passed down the family, though many of the dabbawallas we spoke to mentioned how they wanted better lives for their children. Overall, it was a great experience seeing the dabbawallas’ work in action.
Today we got to visit Sundaram Clayton. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, because the automotive industry is right up my wheelhouse. It was interesting to see how the company implemented quality standards to become a best-in-class company. Also, the company invested in their employees, created a family environment and helped them develop their skillsets and marketability.
After the visit, we had the pleasure of meeting three guest speakers, my favorite being Gopal Srinivasan. After doing some research on him, I was very interested in hearing his perspective on entrepreneurship in India. He did not disappoint, providing insight on the economy, the government, the business climate and the society at large.
We also had the chance to meet Vikram Kapur, who introduced us to the Amma Unavaga cantinas. These cantinas provided subsidized food for the poor from a clean and sterile environment. I take it for granted that when I purchase food from a restaurant, the kitchen is sanitary. For many Indians, that is not a safe assumption to make. This program has its share of detractors, but until a better solution is found, the Amma Unavaga is a great program that improves the quality of life of its customers.
The group took our first visit today. We visited Heritage Village and Mammalapuram, a city that was named after King Narasimhavarman I, who was known as the “great wrestler” who never lost a battle. Mammalapuram is famous for its architecture, with many beautiful open-air relief stone carvings. We took a ton of pictures and enjoyed the scenery, then enjoyed a buffet meal at “MGM” beach resort. The resort happened to be located net to Dizzeeworld, a knockoff of Disneyworld. It is amazing the level of copyright infringement that occurs in different countries. After we got back to the hotel, we changed and enjoyed a welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant. I took that time to get to know some other group members, then headed to my room to start preparing for the next day.