NEW DELHI: If you think that the Indian auto industry is a man’s world, think again. This International Women’s Day on 8 March, here are some stories that will tell you how the times are changing.
In a development that comes as a testament to gender parity across workplaces, MG Motor India has just had a car made by an all-women crew in its facility in Halol, Gujarat. A car made entirely by women would be unthinkable a few years ago, but not anymore. The car in question is the 50,000th unit of the Hector with which the British carmaker began its India innings a couple of years ago.
The initiative has created a new benchmark while celebrating ‘diversity’—one of its core pillars according to Morris Garages. In this first-of-its-kind development where women led the end-to-end production, women-only teams were involved in panel-pressing of sheet metal and welding to painting jobs as well as carrying out post-production test runs. According to the British legacy automaker, it features an industry-leading 33% share of women in its workforce, wherein female professionals work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts across all business functions.
If MG is to be believed, it aims to achieve 50% gender diversity in its organisation in the future and pave the way for a balanced workforce. Since its inception, as its core focus area, the brand has worked closely with the local panchayats near its Halol manufacturing plant in the Panchmahal district. Doing so has encouraged more young women to work in a safe and secure environment at the MG plant.
Speaking on the development, Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India, said, “MG has always been a progressive brand with diversity, community, innovation, and experiences as our cornerstones. We believe that it is something that has broadened our perspective as a brand and unlocked efficiencies in every aspect of our business operations. The rollout of our 50,000th Hector by an all-women crew comes as an honour to their contributions and hard work. It also demonstrates that glass ceilings no longer exist even in an erstwhile male-dominated industry such as automobile manufacturing. We believe that it will inspire more women to join the automotive industry in India and abroad.”
Since 2018, MG has hired many female associates in its manufacturing facility via various initiatives. Today, these women are driving core areas of manufacturing at the facility. MG’s manufacturing facility is equipped with Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for various workshops. RPA is used by the automaker in Body Shop for Robotic Brazing, Paint Shop for Robotic Primer and Top Coating, and GA Shop for Robotic Glass Glazing. According to MG, if trained well, both men and women handle the machinery with equal competency and this approach makes the company more gender-inclusive in an otherwise labour-intensive automotive sector.
CEAT ALL-WOMEN STORE
One of India’s leading tyre manufacturers, CEAT Tyres, has introduced the concept of only women operated stores across India, which are called CEAT Shoppes. According to the company, these all-women Shoppes will be its endeavour to empower women especially in the male-dominated tyre industry. The stores are owned, managed and run by a team of women which will give them equal opportunity to grow and make a mark in the tyre industry. The first of such Shoppes has been opened in Bhatinda, Punjab. This will be followed by the introduction of 10 Shoppes in the next few months across the country.
The all-women CEAT Shoppes include women workforce for all service-related assistance to customers. This also includes manual jobs like wheel changing, balancing and operating various machinery to service a vehicle. CEAT says that it will be investing in providing end to end training to the women running these stores. In all, the company has more than 300 Shoppes in the country.
Amit Tolani, Chief Marketing Officer, CEAT, said: “CEAT recognises the value of gender diversity at the workplace. We have been offering equal and fair opportunity to women in every field including our manufacturing plants. From shop-floor engineers to leadership roles, CEAT has a diversified female workforce taking up challenging roles and growing in their respective fields. The all-women CEAT Shoppe, is an industry first initiative which further reiterates our commitment to allow women to grow and make a mark in the Tyre Industry which is predominantly male-driven business. The initiative will not only provide financial stability to the women but will inspire many others to join this industry as we plan to expand our footprints across India with many more such outlets in the months to come.”