By June Ramli
The gender gap in the workplace has been a topic of interest for many years.
In Malaysia, half of the working-age population are women, but they constitute only two-fifths of the labour force.
Women experience many hardships in the workplace, especially when pursuing senior roles in a company that is male-dominated.
One such woman who has come out triumph is Niro Ceramic Sales and Services Malaysia Chief Supply Chain Officer Anne Chua.
“I was looking for a change in my career after my first job in a telecommunication company after eight years, and it was the right time for me to explore my interest in the manufacturing industry — which differs greatly from what I had ventured into before.”
Despite being dominated by the opposite gender at that time, Chua was still intrigued by the manufacturing industry, and had viewed the male dominated career as a challenge instead of a bane.
Her positivity had translated well for her and and as a result of that she credits her career at Niro Ceramic Group of pushing her achieve so much personally and professionally.
“It is definitely a steep learning curve filled with constructive experiences as it took me a lot of courage and determination especially when I had just started in this industry.
“Just like any other individual entering a new industry, it’s just a matter of time.
“As I learned more and became more familiar with the industry, environment, people, and materials, that was when I felt I belonged here.
“In the workplace, it is not about gender but the contributions of an individual that makes the person relevant and competent.
“As long as you put your best foot forward and focus more on what you can accomplish, you’ll be able to go far — not only in this industry but in any industry, so to speak.
Asked whether the worst was over for the supply chain disruption Chua replied in the affirmative.
“In my view, we’ve already reached the end of the aftermath — I do believe it’s the same for other industries worldwide as well — and the situation is just going to get better from now on.
“Having a diverse network across the globe enabled Niro Ceramic Group to become the leading supplier that is backed by large stock keeping, ensuring prompt delivery with great credibility and customer satisfaction guaranteed.
With multiple sourcing and distribution centres worldwide, we are able to ensure sufficient stocks are produced to meet huge project scales when required.
Niro Ceramic Group has built a reliable supply chain over the years that can consistently supply tiles all over the world at any point in time.
The company has factories located in strategic, resource-rich countries to produce tiles and sanitary ware.
Coupled with stringent quality controls, they are able to ensure consistency in the technical specifications and design of each tile.
“At Niro Ceramic Group, we look into different sourcing locations to optimise production and delivery lead time as well as cost-effectiveness for our customers.
“We have offices across Asia equipped with warehousing facilities to manage stocks produced and deliver as and when required by customers.
“We are also looking forward to a new ERP system this year that integrates processes among our offices throughout Asia to enable us to make faster and better decisions on our supply chain.
“Apart from that, we also invested in programs — such as training, seminars, talks or any activities to help boost motivation — to enhance our workforce within the supply chain department.
“We believe strongly that people are assets, and the activities were introduced to ensure that we are able to implement our supply chain strategy effectively.
Chu also said that the company was moving towards digitalisation and automation as this was crucial to stay ahead of its competitors.
“With the rise of technology and 3D printing, we foresee the creation of tiles whose designs are able to mimic a 3D effect.
“We also foresee tiles becoming slimmer in the future, which would make them more cost-effective and easier to cut and install — as well as more environmentally friendly.
“Tiling techniques are being refined and improved for ease and convenience.
Advancements in digital printing technology will result in tiles that have more interesting and aesthetic designs.
“Better technology to help in manufacturing and distribution processes like robotic engineering will help speed up processes and enable the workforce to be more efficient and in terms of ESG, that will help reduce injuries,” she added.
June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli