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Doing what needs to be done

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“We do all the work that needs to be taken care of,” says Narayana Murthy of his responsibilities in the kitchen. “Everyone supports everyone else and we do what needs to be done.”

After helping with the actual cooking process, where his work involves rice cleaning, supervising steaming cauldrons of boiling rice and vegetable preparation, Narayana is busy loading steel containers packed with hot meals into waiting food vans. Feedback taken from schools every day tells him exactly how many containers need to be packed in each vehicle.

An hour later and he has changed from the rich blue kitchen uniform to the khaki brown outfit of a driver. All the food vans are neatly packed and ready for delivery.

There are five routes covering all the schools that Akshaya Patra reaches out to in Mysore.* Each one comprises of approximately 14 to 15 schools. The route that Narayana will drive has 14 schools. “We’ve mapped out the schools for each route. The steel containers are packed in the order that the schools are located on a route,” he explains.

On the lid of every container is the route number itself, followed by each school’s assigned number for the route. This numbering system makes it easier for them to keep track of every school’s requirements.

“We always know exactly how much food each school asked for. Once we make the delivery, we also ask the teachers what they may need for the following day. This feedback is then given to the supervisors so that there is never any shortage at any school.”

*As of February 2011

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General

Running a clean, healthy workplace

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"No matter what happens, we have to deliver food to all schools on time. No matter what," says Someshekara. Though it is no easy task serving freshly cooked food to more than 17,000* children everyday,
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Food and Education

Loading food for nearly 780 schools in Hubli

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It would be natural to assume that after all the freshly cooked food has been packed into steel containers most of the work in the kitchen is done. But as Mallesh H.K., Loading Supervisor explains, this is not the case. Our Hubli facility has 35 food vans travelling on specific routes around the Hubli-Dharwad region, each one distributing food to an average 22 schools per route. Determining the number of containers and amount of food that each school along a route needs, is one of the challenges Mallesh must address everyday. The containers need to be packed to optimise time spent at every stop, because with so many schools to be covered, each van has little time to waste when they arrive at the schools.

Mallesh underwent one week of training which included on route travel as well as kitchen work and then worked for a year on routes before becoming a loading supervisor.

“Our route supervisors collect information from every school about how much food we should deliver for the next day, based on approximately how many children will be attending. They fill in a form which contains all the schools in the route and the projected number of containers of food each school needs. This is then consolidated into a separate sheet for all routes,” he says pointing to a sheet which contains details such as the number of schools per route, the total quantity of rice, sambar, curd or sweet that is required (depending on the menu for the day).

Written in the rows of a consolidated tracking sheet are the names of each route around the Hubli-Dharwad region. Its columns represent the quantity and type of food. “If there is 25 written in the column headed 50% under ‘Rice/Palav‘ on a row containing the name ‘Mugad’, we’ll know that for the Mugad route in the Hubli-Dharwad area, a food van must have a total of 25 steel containers packed only to 50% capacity of rice or palav,” he explains. The containers come in large, small and medium sizes, he adds and all of them will have been labeled the previous evening with a corresponding route name and required quantity.

The loading and distribution processes have been perfected over time, says Yagneswar Das, who heads the entire operations of the facility. They recently optimised the number of routes needed to cover all schools, bringing it down from 38 to 35. “We all got together and decided to make it more efficient,” he says. “The route optimisation was done by us, in-house,” he says. We use optimisation techniques not just in distribution, but also in the actual cooking processes to reduce costs. Akshaya Patra’s all India cost for one meal is just Rs. 6. Today, for every rupee donated to the Foundation, 9 paisa is spent on administrative costs.

Mallesh and his team work diligently everyday, adhering to a strict schedule to ensure food vans leave on time. When their day is over, they will have loaded a total of 5000 containers into all 35 vans.

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General

Effluent Treatment Plant in Hubli

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An appealing garden graces the Hubli kitchen campus, adding a serene quality to the sleek modern architecture of the building. Immaculately maintained, it is a testament to Akshaya Patra's 'go green' efforts in Hubli, where
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