We are in jewellery manufacturing and retailing business in India. 1995 to 2003 we were making losses and the international consultant we had engaged , recommended to close down our manufacturing plant , and out source instead. This means 500 people may loose their job.
The management team could bargain and get two years time from the board to turn around the manufacturing plant. The management decided to turn around the plant by sensitising and educating all employees on innovation. ( Including workmen )
An institute for imparting knowledege on innovation and tools& techniques for idea generation was formed within the company. The whole initiative was called INNOVATION SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT. A six months course with three days of class room session , followed by posing challenges ( for inorganic improvement in productivity )to the students ( our own employees ). The students were given four hour free time per week and two hous of mentoring by senior management. In three years time the employees had created many new bench mark in the industry, to mention a few 1) Stone setting production improved from 100 stones to 1800 stones 2) Wax setting production improved from 350 stones to 2100 stones 3) Plain gold jewellery manufacturing lead time reduced from 30 days to 6 days 4) The stone bagging operation was automated with a Robotic equipment. We have two patents and 5 patent pending manufacturing innovation.
The manufacturing team continues to focus on innovation with an innovation portfolio of 41 Path breaking projects.
In India , Titan Industries Limited ( a part of TATA group of companies ) , a watch maker since 1987 , ventured into jewellery manufacturing & retailing in 1995. The intent of getting into jewellery business is to act as a gold standard, and act as a catalyst in transforming the industry , which was not offering purity.
Jewellery market in India , which was a 80000 Crore RS ( currently 2,35,000 CR RS ), was dominated by family jewellers, and lacked transparency in retaling , and as studied by the regulatory authorities , were offering 12 to 36 % under karatage jewellery. The loss to customers per annum was estimated at RS 12000 Crore. There are over a million gold smiths in India , and while they learn their craftmenship from their family , it acts as a cottage industry and lacks proffesionalism.
Titan , being a part of Tata group , entered into jewellery business a) To trasform the industry b) To bring in proffesionalism in manufacturing c) Improve the life style of gold smiths d) In the process create a sustainable business in Jewellery.
Titan as a company , has a well crafted ,vision , mission and value statements on innovation , customer centricity , Respect for people , Ethics and governence ( All co created with employees ). The mission statement is to create wealth for all stake holders , BY TRASFORMING THE JEWELLERY BUSINESS. Doing our business in a ethical way , and genuinely looking at the interest of all the stake holders at all point of time , and being customer centric are some of the strengths of Titan.
The constraints faced by us initially are many , and to name a few a) Creating awareness on purity to the prospective customers , without exposing the Family jewellers b) The domain knowledge on precious metal & jewellery manufacturing were low ( intially ) c) Change management at Gold smith's place , to build purity in to process with Right eqipments & processes.
Today , we are the largest branded retail chain in India with over 1.5 Billion $ as our yearly revenue, and having plans to double it in the next three years.
Because of the various constraints ( Please see earlier ) articulation, and a huge investment , that has gone behind in setting up a world class manufacturing facility , and since the awareness level on purity was low with customers ( unaware that they are being exploited by family jewellers ), our products with right purity were perceived to be expensive. The cost of manufacturing was more than double when compared with market ( which produces jewellery with primitive equipments , by which purity cannot be gurenteed ), we were making losses from 1996 to 2003. International consultant engaged by the company , had recommended closure of the manufacturing plant .
We believe in values and we beleive in people , and it was hard to imagine 500 people loosing their job , for no fault of them.
This was the trigger for innovation . Since incremental improvements in productivity will not help , and we were needing quantum leap in productivity, we started our innovation journey , in a rapid yet systamatic way , by involving all our employees. The Head of the departments were trained on innovation champions followed by training the employees in batches on innovation & tools & techniques for idea generation.
The trust & tranparency between the management and employees helped in accelarating innovation efforts. The trye champions are many ( otherwise considered as workers ) employees on shop floor who had come out with stunning ideas to the challenges ( Questions without any immediate answer , needed to be resolved for our survival ) and implementing them with passion and Zeal , and in the process creating many patents and patent pending innovations.
Today we are making huge profits and the business is becoming robust and bigger , and the best part is that , we at manufacturing are continuing to reinvent ourselves every day , with Innovation School initiative and continuing to create history, which was otherwise recommended to be Condemned.
1) We started with theme based innovstion , branding the same widely , within the company , and inviting ideas and having a structure to scrutisise ideas till implementation. Sensitising and exciting people to understand and participate is important
2) Every year the theme will be changed and to name a few A) in 2004 we started WHAT IS NEW ? , Each department is given a white board , where they should capture , three new things that they are pursuing, every month.Compettetive spirit was brought in by attaching rewards to departments systamatically following this initiative. 14 departments , and 3 ideas per month , and 12 months , gave us amazing results B) In 2005 , we involved the vendor fraternity, with the innovation initiative called " Leap for lasting leadership ", challeging them to reduce the manufacturing lead time fon plain gold jewellery from 30 days to 3 days , studded jewellery from 58 days to 9 days , and kundone jewellery from 60 days to 3 days. All these have become reality today and we are enjoying the benefits. The challenge here was to train them and take them into confidence by implementing many genuine welfare initiatives to Gold smiths C) In 2006 , the innovation initiative was " SIMPLIFY AND AUTOMATE " , we were at RS 1000 crore turn over and when we reach 5000 Crore in 5 years time , letting people to imagine how the manning will be and the complexity it will pose. 10 Projects were identified , and most have them have been implemented by now. We have 9 robots working in our jewellery plant, and though we are a RS 7000 Crore company , we are managing with the same man power as in 2006 D) Having tasted the hidden strengths of employees and partners , since only 20% of the employees were actively participating in innovation, in 2008 , We came out with INNOVATION SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT , with the view to make all stake holders innovators by 2015. So far 50% of our employees have been converted as trained innovators, and manufacturing innovations contribute to around 30% of our profits E) From 2010 we have tasted the power of open innovation through TATA INNOVERSE , an open innovation platform promoted by TATA group bringing all tata employees togetherF)In 2011 , we created two huge events called INNOVATION BAZAAR , a two day event to show case employee ideas , and INTERWEAVE a one day event , to bring all brand executives under one platform. These event were attended by over 3500 people , and this was done to Cross pollinate ideas within different businesses of TITAN G) This year we have created an innovative temple for innovation ( An innovative building ) Called Innovation Centre, to engage & Inspire people to innovate. In Innovation centre we are giving the right ambience for employees to come , see the challenges , think and submit their ideas. A small protocentre , library , discussion rooms are part of Innovation centre. Also this year we are taking space in IIT , a premier enginnering institute in Idia, and having a strategic tie up with them to have IIT brain and their facilities to work on resolving our challenges
All the above are done by the members of TITAN INNOVATION COUNCIL ( 16 senior leaders ) formed by our MD and mentored by me.
Challeges : 1) Enrolling employees to innovation initiative was a problem faced 2) Enrolling the vendor fraternity was even a bigger problem 3) Even when a bright idea comes resistance from the others in imlementing was the other challenge
Actions to surmount the challenge : It has not been one quick fix idea , but has been a series of genuine efforts which has helped us to over come most of the challenge 1) The culture should be employee friendly , If employees are not participating in innovation , we believe that, it is not their fault , and look at what we should do and what we are not doing 2) Engaging with opinion makers and giving them a serious listening, and fulfilling some of their grievences and making them a light house for innovation 3) Creating a structure to focus on innovation , INNOVATION COUNCIL , FUTURE GROUP ( Has 15 managers working full time on innovation ). Innovation Council works with 5 pronged agenda a ) Innovation enablers (organising many innovation activities ) b) Providing platform for idea generation c) Educating people to innovate d) R& R programs e) Measurement on innovation( to know where we are doing well & where we should improve )
Our learning is that A) Believe in people B) Take responsiblity ( do not blame it on people ) C) Keep definite time to review innovation D) Keep challeging questing floating always E) Grand R&R F) Measure / bench mark where we are on innovation & improve
1) We are reinventing ourselves on a continious basis through our collective innovation efforts
2) From 500 crore turn over with few crore profit , we have grown to 7000 crore turn over with over 8% profit
3) To mention a few stunning outcomes from innovation School of management
a) Production quantity per shift per person in stone setting improved from 100 to 1800
b) Wax setting production improved from 350 to 2100
c) Manufacturing lead time on plain jewellery reduced from 30 days to 6 days
d) Studded jewellery manufacturing lead time reduced from 56 days to 9 days
e) Robotic bagging automation intoduced ( Otherwise we would have engaged 150 people for this job )
f) Colour & lusture matching automation
1) Every employee can innovate ( Given the right culture & opportunity )
2) Never blame people for not innovating. Always ask yourself what is that you could have done better
3) Keep sensitising people to innovation ( this should be an ongoing effort )
4) Create specific structure for scrutinising ideas ( Otherwise people will loose interest )
5) Take idea to next step immediately. ( Even if you fail , you will learn fast )
6) Educate people on tools & techniques to come out with ideas
7) Always publish challeging questions to make people to think beyond their routine
8) Liberal Rewards & recognition programs
9) Always ( once a year ) measure the status of INNOVATION ECO SYSTEM in your company , to improve
10 ) Learn the art of managing the present without loosing focus on future ( TOP MANAGEMENT )
The credit shoulkd go to our MD , Mr. Bhaskar Bhat for having a) Created a people friendly culture b) The members of the innovation council and c) The wonderful employees who continue to innovate