What a awesome evening I had today….

Finally got chance to meet and hear the actual people on whom so much has been written and who have literally been discussed in almost every B-school…..

The mumbai Dabbawallas were in totally contrast to what I had perceived about them. I was there in the talk organized by Murugappa Group in our corporate office and got opportunity to hear them live. The Dabbawallas were a blend of down to earth attitude to boasting  at times but always ensuring that boasting was mixed with element of humour so that it did not send wrong signals….

But they have every right to talk big about their business since they have produced results which not everyone can. I really enjoyed the dig they made on various people/associations in India that started recognizing the Mumbai Dabbawallas as great only after Prince Charles visited them. Their one short sentence that “Prince Charles is our brand ambassador” said everything without saying anything……

It is really amazing why their work was never recognized or appreciated anywhere and we had to wait till a foreign person who was no way connected with them recognized their supply system. The refusal to meet Prince Charles at Five Star Hotel and instead asking him to meet them at Churchgate station during their delivery hours when they could spend 10 minutes with him was not just surprising but showed a character and dedication towards their business. The little digs at MBAs by Dabbawallas was also equally enjoyable……..

The talk had some great things which included importance of Self-Discipline for every employee and their “Green” Tiffin service …..I really enjoyed his statement saying that the smile on your customer comes through smile from your employee and therefore if you can bring smile to your employees, the smile on customer face is 100% sure…….Dabbawallas mentioned about various Six sigma, ISO and other certifications that they got in due process but for them the real certificate of success is smile and satisfaction to every customer on each delivery. It is surprising that there are hardly any errors even though on an average one tiffin box exchanges 6 hands before getting delivered to final destination.

The most interesting part of the talk came at two seperate times. First when they shared the reason why their deliveries are never late. i.e. They dont wait for more than 10 seconds to get Lunch boxes from housewifes and the result is not just maintaining timelines but also creating a fear of Dabbawallas among Mumbai housewives. And no doubt when said that Mumbai house wife is more afraid of Dabbawallas than their husbands or any one else

Another interesting point came when Dabbawallas provided their reply to question which is frequently asked to them i.e. with being single in fashion and fast foods on rise, when do they feel their business can come to an end?

“Answer”: The dabbawalla business will never end, except the day Indian Husbands stops loving their wifes and doesn’t want home made food anymore”

No better reply than this 🙂

Long live Dabbawallas who have sustained their business for over 114 years and with third generation employees are still maintaining the same passion…..

Heard so many things about Differential pricing strategy adopted by everyone. And its relation of pricing by value.  So if anything is more valuable to you you should pay more than same thing when had less value.

i remembered the example of Giant Cola company adopting this…so if weather is extremely hot and you want chilled drink than normal drink you should be paying more simply because the chilled drink is giving you more value to you.

You must be wondering what the hell is this all got to do with Chennai Autos…..

well the best lesson of Differential pricing can be learnt from Chennai Auto Drivers. These fellows know really really how to dupe their customers. If you are a Chennaite/South Indian chances are you would be charged high for any given trip. but, If you are North Indian you would be charged very high.

And what happens if you are North Indian and trying to get auto while its raining heavily and you are stranded in middle of road…..

The soft hearted people might say to give help to such a guy…..but not auto drivers here……….So during one such situation when I tried to catch auto…..Auto Driver looks at me thinks about weather and then open his mouth and his reply made me burst into laughter…..his charges for destination was 250 bucks . Remember the normal rate to reach designation was 80-100  Rs. 

Now clearly this is a differential pricing as he understood that a north Indian guy standing in mid of rain and fully drenched is desperate to take auto and so would be willing to pay maximum for the service and therefore extract maximum out of him……… Though I didnt took that auto and preferred to wait…..but was left wonderstuck as what impact differential pricing can make especially if its not decided in proper context…..

May God give more sense to Chennai Auto Drivers or atleast rule of going by meter is imposed in chennai as at present none of autos in Chennai run on meters –

 Strange but True …..

the title of the blog says it all……….

Have heard so much Gyan and fundas of customer oriented business during my MBA days, And fortunately my recent trip from Chennai to Ludhiana gave me opportunity to have a first hand experience of the same when my journey involved travelling on jet airways and subsequently on Punjab roadways , I believe the two put together covered up the two extremes of the present way of doing business….

Jet airways :

The brand name itself  puts you at ease and we feel more or less comfortable to board the plane….. right from e-ticket to option for web-check in there are various options available to make life of its customers at ease …….on top of it u can also expect wonderful crowd on plane…..mix of chicks as well as top notch business professionals……. The sumptuous TAJ food with a friendly tone of crew members brings smile on people’s face.  The internal environment during flight looks busy with most people busy with their laptops doing business activities or watching movies……. I believe people feel proud of themselves when they board the jet Airways plane and somehow its clearly seen at their faces…..Its rare to see anyone having bad experience of Jet and even if its people do treat those as exceptional cases…..

that was the journey from Chennai to Delhi airport…now next leg of journey starts from Delhi ISBT(Bus Stop) from where I am supposed to catch a bus for Ludhiana…..

I have always felt that the Bus Transport is one thing which has not been given due importance that it deserved in our country….Standing inside ISBT , Delhi one can easily misunderstand that the place holds no importance for any Delhites ….The place is in such  a pathetic condition that one can not believe that New Airport and existing ISBT are part of same Delhi………. and u better not dare to see towards roof while inside ISBT ,as you can see so many dangled electrical wires that it might be a place waiting for disaster….

Anyways, once it was confirmed that there are no other roadways busses for Ludhiana from ISBT till morning 5 am except Punjab Roadways buss (PUNBUS)…hesitantly I boarded the bus….being native of punjab I know what the hell punjab roadways are and how they operate,……

Punjab Roadways:

The brand name evokes mostly negative reactions considering their past performances…….looking at PUNBUS which is a long route bus….the legroom space is minimal inside bus..and sitting inside it for continuous hours is a hell…thats what happened,,…for 4 stratight hours I could barely move and was sitting upright till bus stopped at Ambala bus stop… The refreshment place was complete shit…with absolutely nothing…but a small tea shop & a pathetic Dhaba……the tea absolutely was worse and no surprise that almost all passengers left Tea cups as it is …but the passengers were literally angered by the the kind of place where bus stopped for refreshments…many people were coming frm long routes by train , flight and few from outside india too….The interesting part is the response of Bus Driver/Conductor to Passenger compliants………”I have permission to stop only here in route and if I dont do then I get fined 500 bucks”……….even worse no compliant book is there in the Bus and passengers are told to talk to Government authorities directly if they have any compliants…. ,… thats nothing but “Customers Go To hell” kind of attitude

And the rest of Journey I was left wondering my extreme experience in the journey…… this was not the first time I experienced both extremes but guess my MBA did brought a change in me as it forced me to think on business models of the two and dig more deep


The other day I was reading article on the immediate strategies that might be needed at the sales force level for any company . It refreshed me few fundas about Sales & Distrbution course and pushed me to look for more

I believe that the article “Breadth of Salesman” makes a great sense in today’s times. As the sales is no longer transaction sales and it has gone way beyond that and have reached the stage of enterprise Sales, which will ensure strategic relationship between cross functional teams on either side .

Below are some of the interesting strategies that any company can try to implement during recession times:

– Make sure that Sales force are targeting Right customer. This is perfect example of what was time and again enforced by our Professor V.K. Murthi as to be very sure about “whom to pursue” in any sales job.  This is important because during tight budgets, most of times the authority to spend more money is shifted upwards in the hierarchy and therefore the kind of customers being targeted might no longer be in position to decide…

– At any point of time if a senior level person is accompanied by the sales force to customer then it brings amount of confidence to the customer. And specially when the decision power would have shifted upwards, the reason to take senior people out to customers make all he more logical for cracking the deals.

Hope to write more on this !!!!

It is generally said that MBA brings on host of opportunities and great moments in one’s life….and here was another one for me……………

Apart from Classroom learnings , I believe MBA has given me a chance to meet and listen to great people …………..

Last time I wrote about meeting with Dr. Dipak Jain…….and now its the address from Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia to students of Great Lakes Institute of Management. It’s been so many years that we have been seeing this gentlemen on TV and listening to his views on various issues.  And this opportunity became even more interesting once Former Chief Election Commissioner Mr. T.N.Seshan also joined and directed the questions & Answers section for Dr. Montek’s speech.

I also had a chance to see the master skills of handling Press meets by Dr. Montek once he finished his address to Great Lake students. It was so clear how the journalists were trying to bend questions from different angles and trying to get his views on various topics …(ofcourse including Satyam Fiasco)….and trying to put words into his mouth , which they wanted to hear………..but glad to see that wonderful personality of Dr. Montek could not budge down infront of journalists and he discussed only those things which he wanted to do so……..

Dr. Montek Singh with Great Lakers

Dr. Montek Singh with Great Lakers

Very few people would get a chance to stand right next to Dr. Dipak Jain, Dean, Kellogg School of Management, North western University.

And I am one of those lucky people. …..

It was simply amazing to listen to this great man who rose from a small place in Assam and has gone to a level where he heads one of the best Business school of the world. It is amazing to see that the great man has his feets totally on ground and is so humble and down to earth while interacting with students…….

The kind of comfort that we bunch of students felt while interacting with him during dinner party was soothing………never ever we were completely awed by him but he ensured that we all had a very friendly talk………

And today when I sit back and think over the interaction that we had…..it is amazing to recollect the realities that he told ….he made us realize about things that we think are very simple and often overlook but are most critical……….

Whatever learnings we get from our MBA course……this inspiring talk will be right at top…..

1st Row: L to R : Dr.Taruna Gupta, Dr. Dipak Jain, Dr. "Seenu" V Srinivisan, "Uncle" Bala, Mr. Sankaran, Prof Sriram

1st Row: L to R : Dr.Taruna Gupta, Dr. Dipak Jain, Dr. "Seenu" V Srinivisan, "Uncle" Bala, Mr. Sankaran, Prof Sriram

on 2nd Sept we had HR conclave in Le Royal Meridien in Chennai. It was a grand event and was a major success. We had a fantastic response and had a great feedback from HR faternity from various corporates.
Our chief guest Hon’ble Union Minister of Corporate Affairs Mr. Prem Chand Gupta was also present and was great in his speech.

One of most defining moment was when Mr. Muthuraman ( MD – Tata Steel group) came to stage and addressed audience. To see and hear views from such a great man was really amazing and something which I will always remember.

For more details: