An embodiment of dedication, grit and tenacity…
Here comes another incredible story that features a well-recognized woman entrepreneur who happened to make a name for herself in the business community. Meet Aparna Rahul Karne who is the CEO of Tech-Mark Automation & Controls and is shoving the needle in the manufacturing industry. Today, she is recognized for her assertive leadership skills, strategic analytic abilities, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
She is an apt leader who inspires and motivates her team and dispenses the seeds of comprehensible industry knowledge. Aparna is a passionate leader who is committed to achieving results and driving growth and innovation. Owing to her intrinsic values, creativity, and business acumen, she has been able to take Tech-Mark Automation & Controls to places.
As we arranged an exclusive talk with the ‘leading lady’, we happened to come across food for thoughts and valuable insights that have been sparklingly interwoven in this storyline. Let’s dive in-
Revealing the facts about her past life and how she decided to become an entrepreneur, Aparna states, “After completing my HSC exams, I started working and continued without a break until four days before my wedding. However, after getting married, I found myself sitting idle at home, which was not in line with my nature. At that time, My husband was already in his own business of manufacturing of electrical and electronic devices with a team of around 10 employees.
I began going to his office to learn about manufacturing and the office’s overall operations. Gradually, I found the work intriguing, and I unwittingly became a part of the team. Initially, I answered phone calls, responded to client inquiries, and directed them toward finalizing orders. I did this for almost a year. Then, in the next phase, I learned how to identify components, perform soldering, assembly, test, and procure materials from various sources while negotiating prices.
The final phase was the most satisfying for me because I have always been passionate about working in sales, and Project management. Currently, my husband and I run an automation product manufacturing industry spread across almost 40000 sq. ft., with advanced types of machinery that employ over 100 people and an international branch office in Singapore.
We also have domestic branches in several cities, including Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Kochi, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad. Presently, I am engaged in managing all office activities, including international business, corporate business, project coordination, and more. I feel honored that with the support of my entire team, we could deliver our solutions to the various departments i.e. ISRO, HAL, DRDO, DRDL, BARC, NFC, BEL, BHEL, Amazon, Reliance up to their satisfaction level. I am thrilled to be leading this successful business.”
Extraordinary Business ideology
It goes without saying that Aparna is a distinguished leader. Her commitment to creating high-quality, innovative products that meet market demands, garnering applause. The team she leads places significant emphasis on incorporating advanced technology, optimizing production processes, and implementing efficient supply chain management practices.
They prioritize sustainability and ethical business practices, creating a professional yet enjoyable workplace atmosphere that treats all team members fairly. Furthermore, they prioritize the development of strong professional networks, seek out mentorship and training opportunities, and advocate for policy changes that promote their business’s growth and success.
Company at a glance
Established in 1999, Tech-Mark has become a leading manufacturer of innovative and high-quality automated storage systems, with operations in India and Singapore. They specialize in providing end-to-end automation solutions and cutting-edge storage solutions for various industries. Their products are designed to increase efficiency, reduce operational costs, and improve safety in warehouses, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, and other areas where the material is stored.
They offer a wide range of products, including Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), Vertical & Horizontal Carousels, Vertical Retrieval Systems, Conveyors, Manual & Motorized Mobile Compactors, and all types of Racking. Their solutions are custom-tailored to meet the unique needs of each client, optimizing storage space, streamlining processes, and increasing efficiency.
Overcoming the challenges
In her journey to become a successful ‘shentrepreneur’ and take her venture to the next level, many obstacles have come her way. But she triumphantly overcame them. She explained that manufacturing industries can be challenging for anyone, regardless of gender. However, women in manufacturing often face unique challenges such as-
• Gender Bias: While dealing with certain sectors or organizations, she has noticed that the culture is not always inclusive or welcoming to women. To overcome this, she remains true to herself, showcases her skills and expertise, and establishes a comfort zone with clients who share similar values and priorities as her own.
• Safety Concerns: Working in manufacturing can be risky and hazardous. To ensure safety, she takes necessary precautions, follows all safety guidelines, and advocates for her staff to have access to proper safety equipment and training.
• Retaining the talented members: Retaining key members of an organization can be challenging. To overcome this, she actively seeks out training and development opportunities, conducts feedback sessions, and organizes refreshing activities, annual functions, and office tours to build strong relationships and foster a friendly environment with colleagues. This helps create an open and safe space where they can share their concerns and thoughts without hesitation.
• Work-Life Balance: The rigorous schedules and extended hours associated with manufacturing work can make it challenging to maintain a healthy balance between personal and work-related responsibilities. Women can handle this by giving priority to self-care, establishing boundaries, and exploring flexible work arrangements whenever feasible. In the nutshell, women folks involved in manufacturing space need to be more resilient, adaptable, and proactive. Here, they can attain success and flourish by advocating for themselves, fostering supportive relationships, and prioritizing self-care.
Cultivating a culture of difference
Many studies have supported the fact that a woman leader causes a rippling effect on the culture of any company. It has been evident in Aparna’s case too. She has successfully incorporated significant value into the company’s work culture in several ways. She ensures to establish a diverse perspective and approach to problem-solving that can lead to innovative solutions.
“I could serve as a role model and mentor for other women in the company, promoting gender equality and inclusivity. I foster a collaborative and supportive work environment that encourages teamwork and open communication in the organisation and prioritize employee well-being and work-life balance, leading to higher job satisfaction and productivity,” she enunciated the cultural principles she stands by.
The parting note by the ‘leading lady’
Before putting an end to the conversation, Aparna signed off with an exclusive message, “Stay informed and up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry and the broader economy. Take a long-term view of your investments and avoid being swayed by short-term fluctuations. Be wary of the hype and always do your due diligence before making any major investment or business decision.
Stay open to new ideas and be willing to adapt your strategy as the business landscape evolves. Remember that success in business is often about perseverance and resilience, so don’t be discouraged by setbacks or failures.
For young women entrepreneurs out there, I would like to convey that believe in yourself and your abilities and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed. Build a strong support network of mentors, advisors, and peers who can provide guidance and support. Be willing to take risks and step outside your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice when you need it, and be open to learning from others. Remember that business success is often about persistence and hard work, so stay focused and don’t give up when faced with challenges.