MTBSA Change in Management Attitude
The employees in a company are influenced heavily by the managerial attitude towards a process. As previous research shows the company’s code of conduct and management approach heavily influences the employee’s actions in an organization. As such, since the upper-level management in the MTBSA does not recognize how technology can aid in their operations, the employees are not particularly motivated to adopt emerging technological innovations. As Thomke et al. (2010) note, the dabbawala’s have stagnated with the number of employees hovering at approximately 5000 and few additional clients. The top management has maintained a traditional approach to their business processes which has hindered the growth of the organization in achieving greater profits. The current President, Mr. Medge, maintains a critical view of technology with an aim of simplifying operations for all incoming dabbawalas. Since the dabbawalas mainly require physical strength and a good memory for locations, Mr. Medge argues that they do not need modern technological innovations that would help in their supply chain (Roncaglia et al., 2013). Additionally, he argues that rather than diversifying to increase revenue, the dabbawalas should just focus on delivering food as it is also a form of service to their God. This attitude on change and technology, when supported by top management, hinders the dabbawalas from expanding into other areas where their services are needed.
MTBSA Strategic Changes
In order to break out of their stagnation cycle, the dabbawalas need to implement some strategic changes. Strategic changes are key changes made to the way an organization utilizes its resources to achieve a given objective. Strategic changes stem from strategic management, which is a set of managerial choices and activities that determine the firm’s long-term success (Wheelen et al., 2011). The process of strategic management involves evaluating the environment, formulating strategy, implementing the strategy, and continuous monitoring of the strategy to confirm its effectiveness in achieving organizational goals.
Currently, the dabbawala’s sole organizational objective is to deliver food from the residential suburbs to the metropolitan areas of Mumbai. Therefore, they have organized the whole organization to align with this objective. In order to expand to other areas, the dabbawalas need to change their organizational strategy, which would conform to their goals of expansion and increased profit. In regards to their organizational strategy, the dabbawalas have always undervalued their potential. The President, Mr. Rawal Medge, does not believe that the dabbawalas can learn to use technology to increase their profitability. He is insistent that the dabbawalas stick to delivering food as it is traditionally the organizational imperative that also has religious significance. A change in managerial attitude would help in expanding their strategy and business model to other metropolises in India since the working class is now expected to be more health conscious on their food choices.
Their business model of employees as partners is infinitely scalable to other cities and other products other than fresh home cooked food. With minimal changes in their organizational culture and strategy, they can expand their operations to include other metropolises in India.
MTBSA Technological Changes
The managerial and organizational antipathy towards technology is one of the main reason that the dabbawalas have not expanded to scale as expected of such an effective system. While they have and English website, which has garnered widespread academic, and media attention, it has not increased the organization’s customer base. This is due to a lack of a technological infrastructure in the organization where requests made online are submitted to the appropriate dabbawalas by word of mouth. Additionally, there is no system to monitor the inquiries received and whether they reached the appropriate dabbawalas and materialized into sales.
The dabbawalas can encourage people to use their online platform if they would like to contact the dabbawalas. They can also create mobile applications that would appeal to the younger generations while also offering increased convenience. Additionally, they can utilize real-time to track options that can send their customers regular updates on the location of their tiffins. Additionally, if they do decide to integrate vertically, their organizational structure coupled with real-time visibility enabled by technology would help to easily manage larger regions with ease, which would increase their customer base and profitability.
McDonalds gained nationwide recognition through aggressive marketing campaigns on multiple media channels. While the MTBSA may not have the resources to conduct long-term campaigns on traditional media such as TV and radio, they can utilize cheap options such as social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to market their organization. This would require minimal technical skills while also providing a real-time customer response platform.
In this chapter, I conducted a SWOT analysis on the dabbawala organization to determine their strengths, weaknesses, external opportunities, and threats. The SWOT analysis helped to determine the areas that the dabbawalas can work on to move from their current organizational stagnation. The literature analysis revealed that the factors responsible for the dabbawala’s long time success include a flat and decentralized organizational structure, employee ownership, and community. However, while their business model has worked for over a century, it is in danger of extinction from nimbler competitors who adapt their strategies to suit the local environments. In order to mitigate this situation, the dabbawalas need to review their managerial attitude towards technology and employee diversity. This would help in developing new and innovative ideas on how to increase profitability. Moreover, adopting technology in their business processes offers a way to increase their consumer base through cheap web-based marketing campaigns. Technology can also be used to increase supply chain visibility, which would enable them to expand to other regions with ease.