45 Women Run Godrej AC Manufacturing Plant

For the first time ever, a manufacturing plant in Pune, India, is being run by only women.

Adi Godrej-led Godrej group has 45 women running its 100% green air conditioner (AC) manufacturing plant. The company set up the plant to take advantage of the talent pool of women professionals.

George Menezes, COO of Godrej Appliances, says the company intends to strengthen female employees to 20% of the total workforce over the next few years.

"We want to give equal opportunity to both the sexes, hence, we have not restricted this initiative just to Pune-Satara factory but also in our Mohali factory with a workforce of around 50 women," Menezes said. "Moreover, the response from the employed female workforce has been very encouraging with a high-retention percentage."

Godrej has installed low-cost automation which helps reduce manual handling of materials at its manufacturing plant to aid in fatigue that females are often challenged by.

"Even though women tend to be frailer for certain functions in the plant, we ensure this doesn't hold back their spirits and installed special automation at the plant for tasks which require manual handling of materials," Menezes said. "These automations aid the female workforce by reducing the physical force required at certain stages of material handling."

Godrej works with campus recruiters at Satara colleges as part of its initiative to employ more women. The company also interacts with parents of the female students to instill confidence about their future in the workforce. "Women are well-suited for some of these intricate factory jobs," said K. Sudarshan, managing partner (India) of EMA Partners. "This is a good step towards empowering them."

Godrej says the all-female manufacturing plant outputs 300 split air conditioners per day and has now begun to work on the company's refrigerator (output of 2,000 per day) and washing machine (output of 300 per day) manufacturing line too.

"This is a novel effort in terms of creating new and interesting opportunities for women," said Saloni Nangia, president of Technopak.

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