05.27 of tiffins & telecoms

here's a lil excerpt from an e-mail to patrick on 01.13:

i got a chance to chat with a lunch delivery man the other day. these guys are incredible - deliver like 10,000 lunches each day. they get all the orders straight too. could you imagine if you had that kinda service in north america?

the tiffin men were incredible. patrick tells me it's their six sigma rating (fast and efficient). they were studied by multinational courier companies, who couldn't replicate their service levels. what's also interesting is their business model. each tiffin delivery man and each tiffin assembly woman is a shareholder in the company. it's in each employee's best interest to be efficient and exact. let's see if ups or fedex can match that.

it's because of cheap labour, and a huge workforce of largely poor and hungry which that india has been catapulting onto the world stage for the past few years in terms of business reach. arrey! national pride is lost to the savings from offshore labour. i once called air "canada" customer service, to get "rose" (aka 'rosina' from india) on the other end... not so canadian after all, eh? even the organization i work for was using a consultant who wanted us to outsource our fundraising calls!! i read in the times in india that two of the world's biggest companies: walmart and airtel (the world's largest telecom company) were signing a partnership.

but this progress comes with downsides and risks.

the economic divide is widening too fast. i was in a downtown mumbai dessert place with abbas one night. they wouldn't let a woman come in because she looked poor... just one of many times i witnessed bad class action. in most circumstances, a paying customer is always welcome. now india's rich (many of whom are not even indian) are getting richer, while the rest are left to their own devices. beggars even have become choosers. they will often pass up food and just ask for money.

what is scarier is the potential risk. the amount of foreign investment in india is at an all-time high. meaning that a large and growing proportion of india's population is reliant on this foreign interest. but how long can this last? it's only a matter of time before india's workforce gets up to market, and when that happens, well all that foreign dough goes out the window and back home. leaving india's workforce in a lurch.

but for now the boom boom is india and india's where it's at.
check out the hindu business line article, in which jayati ghosh reports on the amount of foreign direct investment into india. the numbers speak to india's incredible labour force, from to tiffins to telecomms. oh, did i hear someone say re-colonialism??


Patrick said...

the growth of the indian economy is exploding, but i am not ready to get on the bandwagon yet to say that india is "on its way", because that growth is so rapid it doesn't seem sustainable just yet. and you make several very good points about india's reliance upon foreign investment. i can foresee the size of the middle class in india exploding in the next ten years, and i wonder how this will affect "cheap labor". i am not really that up-to-date on the state of the indian economy, but it is quite fascinating, watching it grow.

salima said...

yeah, i'm not an economist in the least, but i agree that it doesn't seem sustainable. i hope the growing middle class doesn't move to the US!