Some people have this mind set which makes them feel men are somehow superior to women. I personally feel that men aren’t in the same league as women. The hardships they face, the persistent comments they disregard, the immense pressure they live under, and much more, yet their smile never fades when they look at their children, their voice doesn’t stutter when they hear someone cry and their arms don’t give up when you need them.
So, I feel this story isn’t an individual’s story; it is the story of the journey of women at Secure.
A woman isn’t born to face difficulties,
She doesn’t live to just cook your meals and snacks,
She is born to be cherished. Because she is the one who brings your humanity back.
Whenever I close my eyes, I see a remarkable journey, and it brings a smile to my face as I go down memory lane to a time when we had only five women working in the production department at Secure. I feel we’ve done well because, at present, the number of women is greater than men which would have seemed a pretty far-fetched thought a decade ago. I am delighted to be part of an organisation that provides such great gender diversity. We’ve met people who tell us that Secure has fulfilled their life aspirations and has provided them with a lifestyle they’d always dreamt of. It’s their words that make Secure stand out.
A long time ago, women only worked in some departments, whereas today, we see some of them operating the moulding equipments, we see them working with the machines on the APP lines and we have an immense sense of satisfaction with what we’ve achieved in such a short span.
Having women work in a manufacturing industry was a thought which is a story for another time. After we convinced the senior management we should have women work in our factory, we began our search for them in Udaipur and its surroundings. We started off with a small number of women and our training cell did a lot of teaching and skilling them. They acknowledged our effort and enjoyed their time during training. They were pretty pleased with the work and the culture at Secure. I firmly believe that a woman can organise anything and when we placed them in the CCA department, the functioning of the entire department changed. The employees, who previously lacked discipline, became the most organised and disciplined after women were introduced to the department. One of our core values is that we can’t disrespect women and we need to maintain our decorum in front of them. I guess that was the reason behind the discipline in the department.
When we brought in women, they were people from different cultures, from different backgrounds and from different families, but they had a common goal, which was to look after their family. They knew what they had to do, thus they kept working every day and they learnt quicker than ever. It was their goal, which kept driving them to strive for improvement. They felt secure and safe here, and spoke to their friends.
As word spread, we had talent coming in from the villages as well. We welcomed them and today we’re glad to announce that we have ladies working with us from Udaipur and forty seven villages from the surrounding areas in production. When we started this initiative, ladies came from a radius of twenty five kilometers; today we have employees who have travelled over two hundred and fifty kilometers to come and work with us. Of all our women employees, over two thirds are from rural areas where a woman is cast out of her home if she works. As a result it takes a lot for them to come out of their homes and move to another place to work. We have to create an environment in which they feel safe and cared for.
At the beginning, we had women who were in need of a job, for their survival and to look after their children. Over time, we now get women who want to work because they are trying to fulfill their aspirations and moving towards a better future. They come early in the morning, every day with smiles on their faces, as if they know that they are about to learn something new. Every day they work harder than they did the previous day, giving us the results, the stability, the quality we were promised. It was their effort and that of their supervisors, combined with the effort of the people at the training cell, which got us where we are today.
A couple of years ago, we were facing difficulties with absenteeism in the ‘B’ shift which was a setback to the organisation. The organisation was expanding and had introduced moulding and gas meter plants. Our hands were full with all the orders that needed to be fulfilled. The absenteeism at that moment was very frightening because it would impact on our ability to deliver the orders on time in full.
We desperately needed a solution that would be stable and long lasting. We were scratching our heads, searching for a way out of this problem which was growing day-by-day, minute-by-minute and it was getting harder to soak up the pressure. We sat down and started tossing ideas about that could possibly solve our problem. We discussed the stability of the ‘A’ shift and how women were playing a huge part in it. So we thought that we could have women work in the ‘B’ shift as well. We took a poll within the team. Thereafter we took the proposal to the ones who would be working in ‘B’ shift, to see what they thought before making a decision. The ladies grabbed the opportunity and told us that they would like to work in the ‘B’ shift. It came as a surprise to us, but it was a pleasant surprise. Then we decided to make it official. They said that working in the ‘B’ shift gave them enough time to fulfil their aspirations and keep working for Secure. This gave them sufficient time to attend college, go for coaching classes and much more.
It was then, that we started with thirty five ladies on the Saral line, because we had our hands full with orders; to meet the delivery date we had to produce Saral in ‘B’ shift as well. The business was expanding and we needed stability, consistent quality and the ability to meet our deadlines. With the ladies a part of the ‘B’ shift, we were able to do this. What was awesome, was that we could play a supporting role in fulfilling their aspirations. I still remember the day when a couple knocked at my door. I asked them to come in and after they sat down, the wife asked “Sir, my husband is working in ‘B’ shift and I’m working in ‘A’ shift. We hardly get to see each other. Could I please work with my husband in ‘B’ shift?” We were more than willing to grant her wish, because internally it was what we wanted as well.
In order for any of this to be possible, we had to get an approval from the government as well as the city authorities, because women aren’t supposed to work in a factory after half past five in the evening. It took us a lot of time and pain to get approval. Today we don’t think of that pain, because the idea has been good for us and for the ladies. There are laws that state that women need to be dropped to their homes at night and that separate transport should be arranged for them during ‘B’ shift. There are many other laws that ensure the safety of women. We comply with all of them not because they are the laws, but because it is our duty to make them safe.
The number of women employees has grown over time. It was the job satisfaction of our women employees that attracted more and more. As a result we have more than three hundred women, which is almost ten times the number when we started in ‘B’ shift. We decided to have a lady guard inside every bus to ensure safety, who also escorts the women to their houses while the bus waits at the stop. We have a guard inside the cab incase a lady lives where the bus does not go. On the whole, we have a strict security protocol that ensures everyone’s well-being and their safety. At the beginning, it was pretty easy because we had only one bus that dropped everyone at their houses. But as time passed and as we kept growing, we kept broadening our horizon to new sights in regards of their safety, and today we have around six buses that travel to different places to drop-off the women in ‘B ‘ shift.
Every night, the site head, the administration head and the HR head receive a notification that says “All women have reached safely”. That’s when we close our eyes and fall asleep with no worry lines over our faces. Security is our highest priority and we have been taking all the precautionary measures to ensure this. Our head count says that ninety percent of employees in ‘A’ shift are women. And there are a growing number in ‘B‘ shift too. The ladies have not only adapted to our business processes but have also begun participating in various events. They don’t feel like employees anymore, they are a part of our big family and they’ve embraced us as their family members as well.
To ensure lifetime employability to the ladies who trust us, we must become a hub for job opportunities, for aspirations, for dreamers, and become the platform that allows careers to take-off, flying high like the Secure bird. I personally feel that ladies working in Secure, is one of the biggest reasons behind our working discipline, behind our quality and behind the stability of our family. They have not only contributed to the company, but have also earned themselves lifetime employability because they have honed their skills and have developed a passion for their work.
There’s a saying “If you educate a women, you educate several generations to come”. We treat them as family because they trust us. We work with them because of their willingness to overcome all the fears that reside in them.