ShopTalk: Women in Manufacturing


Women in ERP and Manufacturing

Janice D'Amico, Plex Specialist from Hatch Stamping talks about the lack of women in manufacturing. She offers advice on attracting and retaining women employees in the manufacturing and technology industries. Watch the complete video here. (15:30)

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Women in ERP and Manufacturing

Video Transcription

- [Brett] I'm Brett Larson. We're at PowerPlex. We're talking with Janice D'Amico from Hatch Stamping. You had and interesting ... a different thing that you've done today. You did a women's in manufacturing breakfast. Tell us about that.

- [Janice] Well, this year Plex hosted the first ever Women's Leadership Breakfast. So those of us who were brave enough got up at 7 AM here in Nashville. Little bit of a time change and had a wonderful sold out breakfast time and sharing where we're at today in manufacturing and technology, kind of an unusual field for women and it was really enjoyable.

- Both seem to be fields that are dominated by men. Science being another field that tends to be dominated by men. What do you think is keeping women away from these jobs?

- That's a great question, that's actually what I spoke about this morning, I think what's keeping women away from the jobs is the women themselves. I think that we've had a role that we've been playing out in our heads that we're not smart enough, we're not good enough, we're too old, we're too young. The field of science technology, engineering and production just doesn't fit us. We're still trying to get into that area, but we're seeing a nice trend now out in the industry. Organizations like the manufacturing institute that is really promoting programs like STEP. It's actually science technology, engineering and production, that encourage women to encourage other women to get involved in those fields.

- Now you know, we hear these countless studies of you know, math and things so that women start to kind of fall off on the scale. What do you think goes into a lot of that? Why do you think these things happen?

- Yeah, I don't know. I mean you know, there's the whole left brain, right brain. You know, it's been thought that it's gender related. I don't really think it is. I just think it's skills that haven't been honed. You know I mean, look at how much traditional roles are changing. You know, more men are stay-at-home dads now, and women are working. Things are evolving. So I just think it's been more of a habit, and we haven't honed the skills in those fields. You know, you can...still today, you can go out to a technical classroom, and most likely there's one woman in the group. The same is in the boardroom, there might just be one woman, if you're lucky. But the trend is beginning to change as we see that that it ... it isn't a wall that we can't walk through.

- Right. What are the ... sort of ... is there ... does there need to be some sort of outreach to other women and sort of encourage them to do these sort of things?

- That as well is a great question. You know, I told the ladies this morning that what I want to see is that we really start to develop our sisterhood in the organization, and start promoting each other. I think that women tend to be a little more reserved when tooting their own horn. So I told the gals this morning, "Get out there and let people know what you know and share it."

Really start to embrace each other, defend each other and encourage each other. If we can do that, we really start to operate more with the nurturing skills that women have, we'll start to draw more women in naturally to this field because they're going to be curious, right? If we're all singing Kumbaya together, and really growing on cutting edge technology ... okay. Women thrive in that type of an environment.

- Right, and there ... it's not as though looking back on the history of developing technology that has been free of women, there have been several women along the way that have come up with some solutions, have worked at very important positions in different companies. There's history even at Silicon Valley is peppered with a lot of smart women.

- Sure, I mean you know, Facebook today is being run by a woman. It's changing. It is changing but I think really in the last five years, we've seen more of that where women have had important roles certainly as scientist in technology, and engineers but they've remained in the background, and they haven't stepped forward. You know, which gets back to me saying, "Get out there and toot your own horn" to the ladies today.

- Right.

- Let people know that you have a voice and that you have things to share and things that are important and you know, be your cheerleader individually in the organization.

- What other ... what sort of questions were you fielding in your breakfast this morning? Or is it just more of talking points?

- Well, it wasn't so much that women had questions more you know, I told them that I felt that we had to develop a skill set and that for me personally, those skills were to focus on overcoming, apologizing for who I am, or for what I know. You know, we're hearing a lot of that out in the media today, too. Own it, own what you are. You can firmly state what you believe and what you stand for, or what your position is, you know, on a shop floor or in a boardroom but you have to also temper that with being respectful of other people's opinion and suggestions, and you can do that without damaging your individual beliefs or integrity.

So that was one thing. Another thing that I shared with them is that I think that you know, we have to let people know what we know, and share our opinions, I think. Get involved in the community. Get involved in other women organizations. Start to share with our daughters at home, and the women around us in the workplace the value in getting involved in science technology, engineering and production. Then really to promote each other through that sisterhood opportunity that we have.

You know in 2014, 70% of the new employees entering the marketplace were women and minorities, there's a lot of things that encompass all of that. That's a big group, but only a quarter of that is coming in to our industry. So we have to find out why, and we have to start working at within our organizations, looking for good prospects, promoting them. I made a suggestion that human resource departments start looking internally, and promoting programs for education, not just for young women but single moms, too.

Maybe providing health ... daycare resources so that they can work on their education or online courses, or certification programs that they can take at work. So that we can keep pulling in that work force that's vital to the organization.

- Awesome. Cool. Thank you very much for talking with me.

- Thank you.

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