With an increasingly digitised world, innovation has been at the helm of steering a revolution for products, processes and companies. The spotlight has shifted to creating a differentiated product—one that would not just change the perception of a company as an innovator but also be based on data that is collated from the customers to give them exactly what they demand. The attribute of catering to the demand in the market through a differentiated product has also laid the groundwork for another imperative need for companies— bolstering the productivity of their products.
Focus on productivity
Boosting productivity has been an age-old concept for companies aiming to embolden their stand in the market. However, with magnified connectivity through various physical and software technologies, productivity has garnered a level to match up to. Productivity has become synonymous with creating a unique offering that spells efficiency in use for customers and cost savings for those manufacturing the products. For Titan, increasing productivity for customers has been at the heart of the products, which have showcased innovation at its finest. The journey of innovation for the company has transcended from being limited to product design and the manufacturing R&D teams to being imbibed in the company’s core values and efforts.
Fifteen years ago, the manufacturing sector led the company to the crossroad of gratifying the enormous demand for a single component of a watch and innovation became the saviour in the process. The company began producing two components of the same variety simultaneously, using a single die-set and single strip and the process cut the cost by 50% while the cost of raw materials plunged by 20%. Years later, Titan added another layer on top of the innovation by improvising the design to produce nearly seven components of the same variety using a single die-set and single strip.
Today, however, the market has changed yet again for watchmakers, with demand surging for variety and customers demanding more uniqueness in the offering instead of volume. This reflects the demand for multiple varieties of progressive die-sets, which has been snowballing, to imbibe new movement developments in small quantities. These movements like Slim Mechanical, HTSE and Safety & Newton mechanical movement are required to be delivered in the shortest time possible, despite conventional methods dictating the requirement of a separate die-set for each component.
The additional hurdle was the high cost of creating a die-set, which typically lies in the range of Rs 15-25 lakhs. This is when the light of innovation shined upon us and we reckoned that the need of the hour was to integrate multiple die-sets into One Smart Die-Set by taking the route of Smart Tooling.
Imbibing culture of innovation
Four different components are produced through single die-set instead of four individual die-sets without any additional cost/investment. This novel innovation is a never tested solution by any watch industry globally. Instead of taking the conventional step of keeping the strip layout design on the x-axis, Titan moved to designing another layout along Y-axis as well.
The process led to the following results:
Potential saving of Rs 1.10 crore every year through horizontal deployment
40% lead time reduction for new movement development
Die-set storage space reduction
Energy savings: Simultaneous feeding of two parallel strips into the smart die-set-2 reduced the energy consumption for the press
Raw Material saving: 60% of die-set manufacturing raw material was saved, which helped in preserving natural resources, reducing in carbon footprint, etc
Thus, Titan began its journey of innovation with its quartz watches that repurposed the entire Indian watch industry. From Single Point Solutions to every OEM customer, the company made its mark in the watch market by focusing innovation at every step. Within just five years of beginning operations in 1984 in a joint venture with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, Titan Edge, the world’s slimmest watch, was launched. Since then, the company has progressed to sell 200 million watches around the world and manufactures over 15 million watches annually.
Next step towards diversified innovation
This new project for the company marks the next step towards diversified innovation from being limited to just the product design and the manufacturing R&D teams. The company also opened its Innovation School of Management in 2012 to nurture students to think out-of-the-box using various tools and techniques and bring innovation to work.
Meanwhile, the Titan Innovation Council (TIC), a cross functional team of senior & middle management, works tirelessly to create fresh ideas that have the potential to form a culture of innovation in the company. The council has been instrumental in developing initiatives like Innovation Bazaar, which showcases various creative ideas in varied functionalities like process, services, design or product and marketing, retail and customer service. The initiative has also paved way for employees to know what is happening in other divisions and functionalities and motivates them to improvise their processes.
Another such initiative is Tata Innoverse, a web-based social networking platform by TIC, that allows employees from all Tata companies to come together and inspire innovative ideas to challenges being faced by senior leaders. The effort brings together fresh ideas from across the board and opens doors for employees to try their hand at seeing their ideas being taken forward. Such initiatives towards cultivating a culture of innovation have become a necessity.
Companies today have long found themselves acknowledging and accepting the need for progress and change with the consumers if they wish to uphold a brand or a customer base. Hence, the tryst with innovation is essential for companies to inch closer towards profitability and market-standing. ☐