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Creating Lead Time

Creating Lead Time

How demand forecasting helped Titan increase lead time.

It is known as the second largest moon in the solar system. Closer to home, Titan is an Indian company that manufactures over nine million watches. But the similarity doesn't end with the name.

With its trademark signature tune and a brand name Titan has ruled the consumer durables industry for over two decades -- much like the race of powerful deities by the same name that ruled during the Golden Age in Greek Mythology.

Established in 1984 as a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation, the company today has a customer base of over 80 million.

Its watches are sold through six different market channels including -- an international market, 240 World of Titan showrooms, over a hundred Time Zone outlets and more than 12,000 retail outlets.

On the other side of the supply chain, out of its 800 vendors, 70 per cent are key and are responsible for over 80 per cent of Titan's inventory. These include stainless steel, tool steel, leaded brass, engineering plastics, components, etcetera to make the specialty movement and finished watches.

All its market channels are serviced by 32 CFAs (clearing and forwarding agents). The network up to the CFA level is the integrated supply chain group, which is responsible for making right products available at the right time, at the right locations, within constraints of costs, location and capital.

But what exactly is 'right'? How does the company know which market demands for which specific type of watch, which manufacturing unit should cater to which retailer? And exactly how many watches will he need?

The answer, rather feebly, lay in an inaccurate demand forecasting system.

The system was not dependable as it hinged on the opinions of the field sales force -- opinions that were not backed by numbers for the most part.

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