Origins of Syrma SGS Technology’s Female Workforce

Before fledging Tandon Magnetics, the predecessor of our company, could gain prominence as an exporter of key components IBM would incorporate into their pioneering floppy disk drives, founder M.L. (Manny) Tandon was faced with two significant challenges: The first early problem was sustaining stable, dedicated workforce. During the mid-1970s, entry-level assembly workers, males in particular, among India’s handful of electronics manufacturers were quick to hop from town to city in search of other career options. After noticing the costs associated with the high turnover, namely constant training of workforce replacements, were gnawing at his bottom line, Manny turned to what at that time was considered a radical solution, avoiding the hiring men in favor of a mostly female workforce. Indian culture frowned upon young unmarried women leaving their households, or even independently taking nearby jobs on their own. But Manny recognized an opportunity to capitalize upon an untapped pool of industrial, female workers. Besides delivering a strong work ethic and long-term company loyalty, the female production floor proved to offer another distinct advantage, superior manual dexterity necessary for high-precision electronics assembly, such as meticulously winding wire around the donut-shaped core of a magnetic bobbin. Solving a Workforce Hurdle While Tandon Magnetics’ female assembly workers consistently delivered top-quality results, the next issue soon arose, how could production output ramp-up meet IBM’s rising demand as the original PC gained popularity around the world? At a time when industrial automation in Indian factories was rare, Manny looked at novel alternatives to standard coil wrapping machines of the day, sophisticated equipment typically retailing as high as $10K apiece. He soon developed a relatively simple solution: adapting a household sewing machine, a pedal-operated appliance most of his female workers were already quite familiar with. Mounting the sewing machine motor on a wooden block, he added a few enhancements, including an automatic counter to ensure the correct number of windings, as well as attaching a microscope to help the operator precisely wrap the smallest coils. After the handmade prototype proved an instant success, 100 more machines were installed throughout the assembly floor, at an estimated cost of about $5 each. Thanks to lower overhead costs and skilled, efficient manpower or, more exactly, female power, Tandon Magnetics would provide IBM with top-quality PC components, at volumes up to 60K units per day, at prices competitors simply couldn’t match. As the early success of Tandon Magnetics evolved into a core specialty at the Tandon Group’s Syrma, high-precision equipment based upon those original revamped sewing machines remains a cornerstone of our 120K square foot state-of-the-art flagship facility in Chennai. From custom-designed transformers to inductors, chokes, and coils, Syrma solves magnetics challenges for OEMs around the globe. Backed by 40 Years of Expertise We contribute our 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise spanning multiple diverse markets. We look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs across the globe. We understand our home Indian market, familiar with its vast regulatory and selling environments. We foster growth opportunities within India through our strong technology incubation ecosystem. We also assist global OEMs in entering the Indian market by leveraging the local supply chain and favorable operating environments for cost reductions. Our flagship Chennai location opened in 2006 and lies within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for electronics manufacturing, offering economic incentives for imports and exports. This primary facility is within 90 minutes of the Chennai seaport and 20 minutes to the international airport. Additional road and rail connectivity links to the rest of India and beyond and infrastructure advantages with faster import and export clearances. We also have labor force flexibility, both technical and manual, to scale to demand rapidly. To learn more about this topic, please contact us.