It turns out in India, same day delivery is alive and well, and has been so for over a century.
At lunchtime in downtown Mumbai, thousands of men called “Dabbawallas” — literally translated “meal-carrying men” — scurry about the metropolis, delivering home-cooked meals to executives directly from the hands of their family members at home.
The old-world system, dating back to the era of English colonial rule, is made possible by simple color coding of boxes and a low-tech supply chain consisting of light rail and dilapidated bicycles.
…oh, and they deliver 32,000 lunches per day…
Despite the absence of high technology routing and delivery mechanisms, errors are extremely rare, and when they do happen, are usually owed to colors rubbing off the boxes from years of reliable use.
My favorite quote from the article:
Says career dabbawalla Kondaji Chowdhury,”There is a service called FedEx that is similar to ours.”
I love it. 🙂
[thanks to Jason Crawford at Pelago for the article]