Tata Group innovation awards for Tanishq, Steeljunction, Tata Motors

Tanishq, the jewellery division of Titan Industries, Tata Steel's Steeljunction and Tata Motors new two-cylinder diesel engine, walked away with the top honours at the Tata Group's first ever Innovation Day awards ceremony held on July 8, 2006, at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, Mumbai.

Tanishq's winning innovation was its patent-pending process that completely "de-skills" intricate inlaying of precious stone in jewellery making — a process through which it achieved "zero-defect" in its jewellery manufacturing operations throughout the year and quantifiable cost savings of Rs 5.5 crore. The industry defect rate is between 0.4 and 0.5 per cent.

The innovation of the process has also dramatically increased productivity. "Workers who earlier studded 150 stones per day after two-three years of experience, can now stud upto1,100 stones," says Tansihq's manufacturing manager Manimaran. "The process has been so de-skilled, that a worker can start studding 1,100 stones, with a day's practice," he explains.

Tata Steel's Steeljunction, for its innovative concept of retailing steel to the consumer, and Tata Motor's development of the two-cylinder engine, for the sub 1-ton commercial vehicle Ace, were ranked as the two next best innovations of the year.

Innovations in processes, systems and products were presented by 101 teams, from 33 Tata companies for the Innovation Awards. After six regional rounds, 18 were short-listed for the finals.

The entries for the finals included Tata Chemicals' innovative environmental project for the conservation of the whale shark and the Tata Kisan Sansar; Roots Corporation's chain of non-star category Ginger hotels and Tata Refractories' utilisation of dolomite wastes to make a binder for castables.