‘Women today are ready for all challenges and hurdles in their path’
Meenal Kelkar, Head-Supply Chain Management, Finearc Systems Pvt Ltd, Pimpri, India.
Do workplaces of today provide equal opportunity in the true sense gender wise?
Well, at the outset let me state that all the views expressed are my personal views and pertain to the operation of my company Finearc Systems Pvt Ltd!
At Finearc Systems, we truly provide an equal opportunity gender wise. However, it may not be practical for women to work in some areas of the company and hence we do not interview women for such posts. In our company, it is possible for women to rise up the corporate ladder as long as they are dedicated, motivated and capable of performing their tasks in their respective departments. The basic humanitarian values are strongly cherished in our company and are strongly followed. This creates an almost family atmosphere for the employees.
Do women in general expect to be treated differently or are they ready for any challenges?
The women of today are ready for all the challenges and hurdles along their paths. I believe, women are born multi-taskers and their efficiency is compounded with age. Women today do not shirk or shy away from difficult scenarios. Deadlines are met, long work hours are managed keeping the company’s interest at heart. However, support from the family is a must. Without that, it would not be possible.
A healthy work as well as a family environment is essential for the well-being of everyone concerned. So, in my opinion women in general do not expect to be treated differently and are ready for all the challenges that they encounter.
For a woman, is a career in engineering more demanding than other streams?
Since, I have been working in the engineering field for my entire adult life, I would say so. It is definitely more demanding than other career options, however, if you love what you do, then it would not seem so.
Many successful career women have on record stated that often they have shied away from challenges and regretted that later. What is your experience?
I have not regretted any decision in my working life. I have worked for companies in the United States as well as in India. The working culture of each company is different, and you have to adapt to it.
At Finearc Systems, since it is a family owned company, human values play a crucial role in the day to day operation of the company. All the challenges are discussed internally and a collective decision to tackle the problem is reached.
How does India compare, in your view, with other developed countries in this respect?
As a follow-up to the above question, in my opinion it is easier to work in a company with the right basic human values. The cut throat culture of the bigger corporates is challenging and exhausting. Both on a physical and mental level.
Working culture in India has drastically changed over the years. The lacklustre attitude has been replaced with professionalism, accountability and productivity. You are responsible for your job and results should speak for themselves.
What would be your message to young women entering the corporate world?
I strongly advice women of today entering the corporate world to stand up for their rights. They have to fight for their compensation package and it needs to be at par with their male counterparts. All the women in the corporate world need to be competitive, authoritative, professional and ambitious.
They need to have excellent communication as well as negotiation skills along with the right technical background. Also, there is no alternative to hard work and in the long run that always pays off. You will definitely rise up the corporate ladder with the right attitude and team spirit. Whenever you encounter a problem, propose a solution to go along with it. Then the management can decide the route to go.
Lastly, the most important message that I can give young women entering the corporate world today is always be true to yourself. Nobody and nothing can touch you if you have nothing to hide. This philosophy is empowering and has served me positively throughout my working career.
Finearc Systems is known for solutions in welding & cutting as well as material handling. How automated is the company on its own shop floor?
Finearc Systems is a solutions provider. We manufacture machines that are being used by other companies to produce millions of parts, e.g., 4-wheeler exhaust systems manufactured by Honda or Toyota for their cars. Hence all our assemblies are skill based. Each and every machine is custom made to meet the individual needs.
We provide robotic systems to automate the welding parts of our customer, but the robots are programmed by Finearc engineers, which is a very skilled operation. Hence Finearc Systems’ assembly of machines is not automated but we ensure that our customers’ shop floor is automated to meet the global standards.
One of your responsibilities is promoting new technologies. Please tell us about some of these.
Finearc Systems is a pioneer in the welding industry for the past thirty years. Our main USP has always been introduction of the latest technologies available.
Finearc Systems is leading the Industry 4.0 revolution. All our machines are implemented using the latest technology by establishing I/O links in these machines through single cable protocols. Depending on the customer standards, we routinely provide our machines with Modbus, Profibus, Profinet, Ethernet IP connectivity.
Component traceability software is incorporated in our machines, whereby the customer can trace each and every individual component welded on our system. This data can then be uploaded onto the cloud platform, where their global partners can review the data.
I oversee the controls engineering department for timely processing of project flow, engaging the engineers in brain storming sessions in discussing the possibilities of using the latest hardware technologies available in the market. The responsibility also includes inviting different automation companies to hold training sessions as a part of improving employee skills and knowledge.
My position in the company enables me to interact with the suppliers of these new technologies, discuss their potential use in our machines and promote them to our engineers. It is very important for me to make use of this unique position to our company’s advantage.
What would be your message to companies in the SME segment, those that are still sitting on the fence when it comes to automation?
My recommendation to SMEs would be that in order to progress and sustain in this competitive market, all companies will have to review their operations and move toward automation for sustainability, profitability and maintaining quality of their products.
(Finearc Systems Pvt Ltd is pioneer in providing customised welding solutions for a vast array of industries. Finearc Systems provides end to end customised solutions including robotic welding solutions in the fields of automotive, nuclear, boiler and various other industries.)