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Watchmaker Tracks Assets in Real Time

Titan Industries Ltd., India's largest watch manufacturer, has deployed an RFID system to enhance security and increase productivity within its research and development department.
By Bob Violino
Apr 18, 2011Titan Industries Ltd., India's largest watch manufacturing business, makes roughly 12 million quartz watches annually. Since its founding in 1987, the firm has sold more than 110 million timepieces worldwide. The company, which also produces and sells jewelry and eyewear products, attributes this success to innovation—mechanical technology and styling, combined with marketing and advertising.

Many ideas for new watches come out of Innovedge, Titan's research and development department, based in Bangalore. To stay abreast of the latest watch technologies, Innovedge procures numerous prototypes, samples and finished products from competing companies around the globe. Researchers analyze these products and prototypes, and, based on their findings, help the department create new Titan watches. At any given time, roughly 1,000 items, each with an average value of $70, are housed within Innovedge's lab.

C&B designed an enclosed glass shelf to store and secure the assets.

But the manual system for keeping track of which assets entered and exited the lab was not working, the company reports. Forms were not being filled out properly, and they were often not filled out at all, making it difficult to maintain an orderly inventory of assets. "We had a manual issue-and-return process for these assets," says Gururaj Hariyachar, Innovedge's assistant manager, "wherein employees would make a manual entry in the register for the issue and return of the asset."

Sometimes, researchers would search for assets but fail to locate them, resulting in lost time and decreased productivity. If items were deemed lost, Innovedge had to order replacements, leading to increased costs and delayed work.

Titan's executives decided it was time to innovate. Already familiar with the capabilities of radio frequency identification for tracking small items, they began to consider how the technology might be leveraged to better manage inventory within its R&D lab. Due to such items' inherent value, the firm believed an investment in technology that could help reduce or prevent loss would be justified.

In August 2010, Titan approached C&B Electronics Pvt. Ltd., a provider of real-time location systems (RTLS), to explore the possibility of implementing an RFID-based solution to address its asset-tracking challenges. Six months later, in February 2011, Titan deployed an RFID system to track inventory at its Innovedge lab.
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