Growing up in a small town, Suchitra was never a deterrent to dreaming about a career and chalking out ambitions and goals. Pursuing a degree in Engineering was one of her goals, and her ambition was to excel at her area of work irrespective of the position/role. Her aspiration was to work in a reputed organisation and spearhead a team to compete with the best of the best!
Manufacturing had always been regarded as a male-dominated industry, and Suchitra was curious to understand this industry and know more about it. It was this curiosity that led her to apply for a job while pursuing a course in microprocessors. She proudly commenced her career at VCT Labs as a Production Engineer in the Contract Electronics Manufacturing domain. “It was my first job and it was quite enriching in many aspects”, says Suchitra, as she recalls the start of her professional journey.
A couple of decades ago, the industry was rather nascent. It was a great learning experience for everyone in this field – understanding the various nuances of Electronics Manufacturing. As a fresher, Suchitra still recalls being awestruck watching the high-speed pick & place machines whizzing away at high speed and the Printed Circuit Board assemblies getting churned out!
Suchitra then moved on to head Manufacturing at Rangsons Electronics Pvt. Ltd. Today, she is V.P. of Operations at Cyient DLM. She is grateful and indebted to the organisation for never ever discriminating on the basis of gender.
“It was always a level playing field! And of course, the unbelievable support and trust that the management had in me has paved the road for my journey from a rather humble beginning to where I am now”, she says. “Every boss with whom I have worked with, my peers, team members, and customers have been an inspiration and a source of great learning and have left an indelible imprint in so many aspects”.
In today’s world, diversity and inclusion are the key mantras. Many organisations have set up inclusive workplaces which adopt clear policies around diversity and inclusion. Yet, manufacturing is still behind other sectors in gender diversity. Having said that, she refers to how often women are better at multitasking. Moreover, women can display perseverance and determination despite having multiple responsibilities – at work and otherwise. And hence, gender-based insecurities should never ever creep in.
“A person’s capability and competence should be the criteria for selection and growth”
With regards to balancing work and home, she says, “They are two sides of the same coin”. She urges girls to pursue their dreams and ambitions. With the growth of the industry appearing to be vibrant, we can foresee a clear upsurge in terms of growth and opportunities.
As she recollects the time when she was given the task of setting up a new facility several years ago, she reiterates the point that women should not feel intimidated in any manner. “We need to be clear about the job on hand and go about it with confidence”.
With the advent of Industry 4.0, traditional manufacturing has seen a paradigm shift where technology is the key driver to facilitate the automation and digitalization of the otherwise traditional manufacturing shop floor. This aspect should certainly disprove the stereotype images of a tough and difficult shopfloor and encourage female participation.
While there has been significant progress in female participation, there is still a lot to be unshackled in terms of combating the stigma attached to careers in manufacturing as well as the cultural barriers that discourage women from pursuing a career in manufacturing and engineering.
“Ambition and clear goals with a passion for excellence can win over adversities. Never underestimate yourself. Today, women have so many avenues to pursue – unleash this potential and your untapped talent within!”, says Suchitra, as she wishes all women her best on the occasion of Women’s day.