RV Raj Kumar, head of the award-winning Kirloskar pump factory in Coimbatore where all manufacturing is done by women, has many irons in the fire. But these days, he devotes most of his energy replacing the few men at the plant with those from the opposite sex.
Including himself. “I am trying to find a replacement for myself,” said Kumar, 44, whose designation is ‘divisional head-manufacturing’.
He is among the 20 men employed by Kirloskar at the plant—the others include two drivers, persons doing the loading and unloading of stock, and some office staff. “Very soon you will see 100% women here,” he said.
“We are looking for women drivers and conductors to ply our buses. We will be putting out advertisements soon.” He said there are plans to buy fork lifts and other similar contrivances for the loading and unloading—they will be operated by women. The men will be given jobs at other facilities.
The plant was set up in 2011 by the 125-year-old Kirloskar Brothers as an “experiment” on a 4-acre plot at a cost of Rs 11 crore. It now employs about 70 women who assemble one pump every 20 seconds.
Sanjay Kirloskar, chairman and managing director of Kirloskar Brothers, said the plant makes 20,000-25,000 pumps a month, and the quality of output is of such high standard that customers are now specifically asking for pumps manufactured at the Coimbatore plant. Pumps made here are also exported to Nepal and South Africa.
“Having women employees has helped increase in productivity and also churned out good quality products. I am not saying men don’t do it, but women are always extra cautious,” said Kumar. About 25 lakh mini-pumps are sold in India every year, of which 65% are made by the established players and the rest by the unorganized sector.
Source: Economic Times,April 6th 2013.