Organisations must look at diversity beyond gender | Autocar Professional

Asmita Ghate would like to see diversity moving beyond gender. The electronics engineer and Fulbright scholar from Carnegie Mellon University, who started her journey in 1995 as a Graduate Trainee Engineer at Tata Motors and now heads the engineering quality analytics division at Tata Motors Commercial Vehicles, is of the opinion that “we should not overdo gender as the only thing when it comes to diversity.”

She reckons that organisations need to make sure that they look at diversity way beyond gender diversity, and instead, it should be about different ideas and different perspectives.

“We need to go beyond counting the number of women in the organisation. That is needed as it is the basic fundamental thing, but we need to go to see how many decisions or policies or product entries, or product enhancements have been brought into the market, which have come from diverse views, and I firmly believe that women will do a great job in giving those kinds of ideas,” Ghate adds.

Women as decision makers

Ghate, a management diploma holder from ICFAI, admits that Tata Motors’ culture is collaborative, but she would like to see an increase in the number of women in leadership positions. “While we have made good progress, I would like to see more women in leadership roles.” Women comprise 10.8% YTD of the workforce at Tata Motors at present.

Sharing glimpses of her own experience at the company, she says, “Once you prove yourself and show your sincerity towards the task, I have not faced any specific gender bias specifically. While the general phenomenon was that there were hardly any women on the team, in a few days, one could easily overcome that and people would accept you.” “Even when I took the managerial role, it was a bit of a struggle to begin with, till people know who you are, but once they understand your capabilities and how you are collaborating with them, I would say Tata Motors gives a great collaborative environment.”

She goes on to talk about her mentors and how they shaped her career. She had mentors, as she was associated with the Tata Business Excellence Model as well, which was based on the Malcolm Baldrige Model (a comprehensive and holistic approach to measuring performance and increasing competitiveness). For a good seven to eight years, she had been working as an accessor for Tata Motors and external Tata Group companies.

“Business excellence puts the question back to the organisation on the various facets of leadership — be it strategy, or people processes. So that is where the biggest learning came from — from the Tata Business Excellence Model external assessors,” she says.

Ghate particularly recalls one boss, who asked her upon a few days of joining whether she was enjoying her work. “I actually took a step back and this was a very thought-provoking question. The answer was ‘yes’.”  Talking about her biggest learning, she says that it was change is the only constant and she strove for it in all the various roles she has held.

As an active member of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), she serves on the Statistical Methods for Quality, Data Analytics, and Reliability Committee, playing a pivotal role in shaping standards crucial to our industry. Additionally, as the central entity for Standardisation at Tata Motors, Ghate oversees the effective participation of Tata Motors’ Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) at various technical committees at BIS.

“In my capacity as the Head of Engineering Quality Analytics, I ensure that our SMEs actively engage with BIS. Forty five representatives from Tata Motors currently serve across 52 BIS committees and subcommittees. Each SME diligently addresses organisational needs and collectively contributes significantly to the development of Indian standards. These standards serve as the bedrock of our nation’s quality ecosystem, benefiting OEMs and supplier partners nationwide,” she adds.

Ghate laid the foundation of Tata Motors’ journey towards IT-enabled quality excellence by implementing manufacturing IT systems and also enhanced the engineering quality process of failure mode effect analysis by establishing a comprehensive knowledge repository of concept Failure Mode and Effects Analysis or FMEAs.

This feature was first published in Autocar Professional’s March 15, 2024 issue.

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