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Month: March 2019

Supporting Diversity in the Engineering Workplace

What is the most valuable asset of an organization?

Some might argue the real value lies in the investments, the equipment, or the inventory. Miget Perez, Vice President of Human Resources at Advantek, says the most valuable “asset” of any organization is none of those—it’s the people. The people define the strategy, implement the processes, develop the technology, and discover new solutions.

“To work in a space where our primary goal is to attract, develop and retain the company’s greatest asset is a privilege,” says Perez. “It’s my job to help our people, Advantek employees, be the best that they can be.”

Perez has spent the last five years of her career working alongside engineers and other professionals in the semiconductor industry. As a Vice President at Advantek, she’s noticed one significant trend in the industry, and it does not appear to be changing anytime soon.

This trend (or, lack of one) specifically follows women in engineering. The number of women pursuing careers as engineers has been at a standstill.

Over the past 18 years, women have increased their numbers in many professions previously dominated by men, including law, business, medicine, and other STEM fields in the U.S. However, the number of women in engineering in the U.S. has not increased since the early 2000s. SWE, the Society of Women Engineers, reports that out of all the engineers in the United States, only 13% are women.

Conducted research tries to understand why such significant gender gaps exist in engineering today. Some studies suggest the issue stems due to organizational climate or the difference between men and women’s pay. Perez believes an important contributor could be a lack of effort to promote diversity from organizations in the industry.

“Promoting diversity in the workplace is a key step to changing the trend,” says Perez. “At Advantek, our gender diversity index is 40%. Introducing more women to key positions—technical, managerial, or leadership—will encourage more women to pursue careers and industries that have a predominantly male population.”

Perez also suggests companies and organizations make an effort to help more women meet personal challenges that coincide with their careers.

“We can help introduce and retain female engineers by providing a workplace that supports them in managing family demands,” says Perez. “Examples are leave policies, options for flexible work arrangements, provision for child care, and so on. We need to encourage and help women who are at the stage of raising a family to stay active in their career or come back to the workplace.”

Any organization can benefit from a diverse workforce. Diversity brings strategic benefits and value to a business. While the number of women in engineering might be slim, their skills and abilities are obviously not.

“Women, like men, are technically capable, sound decision makers, and effective leaders,” says Perez. “They communicate effectively and tend to be inclusive. They make others feel included, valued, and listened to.”

The first step to closing the gender gap in engineering is to address the problem. Organizations and companies need to understand the value of diversity and the obstacles women might approach when entering the field. Perez is confident the trend can change if organizations and young professionals pursuing careers face the challenge together.

“To women considering a career in engineering: approach other women in the field and talk about your ideas and challenges. Recognize your strengths and leverage those strengths to excel, create value, and make a difference. Together we can work to see the best possibilities for every organization’s most valuable ‘asset’.”

Changing the Industry: Advantek Achieves IATF 16949:2016 Compliancy

For over 40 years, the industry has acknowledged Advantek as a leader in compliance with global standards for quality, environment regulations, and a business code of conduct. The reputation comes from years of perfecting their processes and staying true to their vision: to be the world’s leading provider of precision component delivery systems. They focus on building long-term customer relationships and meeting their demands as the market changes.

With this in mind, they understood how critically important it was to their automotive-specific customers–and the automotive industry as a whole–to comply with international automotive quality standards, IATF 16949. IATF 16949 is a Quality Management System (QMS) standard designed specifically for direct suppliers.

Achieving IATF 16949 certification has been an ongoing project for Advantek. During this process, they learned how their products and production sites were not eligible for “certification”, as none of their products are directly used or installed into automobiles. This is a key requirement in certification.

[IATF 16949:2016 Clause 1.1 Scope: This Automotive QMS Standard defines the quality management system requirement for the design and development, production and, when relevant, assembly, installation, and services of automotive-related products, including products with embedded software]

Although Advantek was not eligible to be certified, their quality objectives still aligned with the goal of IATF 16949. Specifically, the company develops and operates under a quality management system that provides for continual improvement, emphasizing defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste.

After passing IATF 16949:2016 QMS standard audits at their global manufacturing locations in the USA, China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, Advantek was awarded IATF 16949:2016 compliancy—an achievement as close to certification as they could qualify for. They received a Certificate of Alignment, acknowledging that their internal quality management system is congruent with that used in the automotive industry.

“Advantek is again leading the carrier tape industry by attaining alignment to IATF, a global quality standard required of suppliers to automotive companies,” says Helen Mangente, Global Quality Assurance Director.

Today, Advantek is proud to announce their procedures and processes are in full compliance with IATF QMS quality requirements. Achieving IATF 16949 compliancy continues to build on Advantek’s commitment to deliver industry-leading quality and Technology Made For You™.

For more information, please contact Helen Mangente.