Communicating Effectively Builds Trust and Fosters Lasting Relationships: Shilpa Apte

Shilpa Apte, Administrative Officer of PolyWorks India

Shilpa Apte’s journey at PolyWorks India is a narrative of transition, learning, and growth. Having pursued her education in electronics and communication engineering, Shilpa brings over a decade of experience from the service industry and education to her role in Polyworks. Her insights reflect a deep understanding of customer relationships, workplace challenges, and the evolving landscape of women in manufacturing. Through Shilpa’s eyes, we explore the dynamics of the manufacturing sector, her personal growth journey, and her vision for a more inclusive and balanced industry.

In the dynamic world of 3D metrology and digital manufacturing processes, Shilpa Apte stands out as the Administrative Manager at PolyWorks India. She hails from Hubli, Karnataka, with roots deeply embedded in her education at St Xavier’s High School, Belgaum, and further honed skills acquired at KLE College of Engineering, Belgaum. Born to Prabhakar Barve and Pradnya Barve, she has been part of Polyworks India for six years, contributing significantly to its growth and influence in the manufacturing sector. Married to Rahul Apte, who holds a prestigious position as the Senior General Manager with Cummins India Limited, Shilpa’s life is a blend of professional vigor and personal harmony.

PolyWorks India, nestled in Pune, Maharashtra, is at the forefront of empowering manufacturers to embrace digital transformation in their 3D measurement processes. By offering PolyWorks® smart 3D metrology software solutions along with a suite of technical services including support, training, metrology process consulting, and software customization, the company caters to the diverse needs of industrial manufacturers across India. As an integral part of the InnovMetric group, a global software development conglomerate headquartered in Canada, PolyWorks India is on a mission to position 3D measurement data at the core of enterprise manufacturing processes, supported by a dedicated team of over 500 employees worldwide.

3D Metrology and Its Impact on Manufacturing

Shilpa Apte

At the heart of PolyWorks India’s operations lies a commitment to revolutionizing the manufacturing sector with state-of-the-art 3D metrology software. Shilpa Apte, the Administrative Manager, describes the software’s primary applications: “It’s primarily used for dimensional analysis, quality control, and reverse engineering.” This technology is a linchpin in ensuring products meet or exceed quality standards, a crucial factor in the competitive manufacturing industry. Despite being a relatively small team, PolyWorks India boasts a diverse and distributed workforce, “Because of India’s geographical expanse, we can’t confine our team only to Pune. We have employees based in Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Chennai.” This strategic distribution ensures that PolyWorks India can offer seamless support and services across the country, demonstrating a robust model of operational efficiency.

The team’s primary focus is customer support, training on their software, and addressing any technical issues promptly. “We have a hotline for support, ensuring our customers can easily reach us for technical assistance,” Shilpa shares, highlighting the emphasis on customer service and satisfaction. This approach not only aids in the smooth functioning of the software but also reinforces PolyWorks India’s role as a vital cog in the manufacturing industry’s wheel. Shilpa further elucidates their contribution to manufacturing, “Our software and services are integral to the industry’s success.” PolyWorks India, through its innovative solutions and customer-centric services, aids manufacturing companies in achieving their quality and efficiency goals, underscoring the significance of technological advancement in the sector.

Balancing Personal and Professional Life

Shilpa Apte’s professional journey reflects her versatility and dedication, both as a professional and as a parent. With an educational background in electronics and communication engineering, she embarked on a corporate career that spanned seven years in the service industry. However, as her son commenced his schooling, Shilpa made a significant career shift to teaching, a decision driven by her desire to spend more quality time with him. “Corporate life can be challenging to balance, especially with family commitments. So, transitioning to teaching seemed like the perfect decision at the time,” she reflects on her motivation for the change.

This seven-year tenure in teaching was a phase that allowed Shilpa to align her professional life with her personal priorities. Yet, as her son grew older and entered high school, she felt the pull towards the corporate world once again. This led her to PolyWorks India, a moment that marked her return to the corporate sector. At PolyWorks India, Shilpa’s role diverges from her initial engineering background, adding strenght to her adaptable skill set. “Here in India, we’re focused on operations, marketing, and sales,” she elucidates, highlighting the diversity of roles within the company.

Embracing Change and New Challenges at PolyWorks

Despite the stark differences between educational and corporate environments, Shilpa’s previous seven years of corporate experience provided a solid foundation for her re-entry. Supported by an understanding team and a manager who valued her diverse background, she found her footing in PolyWorks. “The cooperation and confidence from my team and manager were instrumental in my smooth transition back into the corporate sphere,” she gratefully acknowledges. “Balancing work and home responsibilities is challenging, but with the right support and confidence in one’s abilities, it’s entirely feasible,” she explains, highlighting the supportive role of her team in making her transition as smooth as possible.

Reflecting on her six-year journey with PolyWorks, Shilpa Apte articulates a profound sense of fulfillment and growth that came from transitioning back to the corporate world from teaching. This transition, as she describes, brought her into a domain that had always fascinated her, one that bridged her interest in the mechanical industry with the operational aspects of her role. “The mechanical industry always fascinated me. Though we’re not directly involved in manufacturing, supporting it brings its own set of challenges and learning opportunities,” Shilpa explains.

The dynamic environment of PolyWorks, coupled with the constant interaction with customers and trends in the manufacturing industry, offered Shilpa a platform for continuous learning and professional development. “Every day brought something new, and with more responsibilities came more challenges and the excitement to meet them,” she shares, highlighting the invigorating nature of her work.

Gender Dynamics and Key Learnings in the Manufacturing Industry

Drawing from discussions with her husband, Shilpa notes the perceptible shift over the past two decades, particularly in the active recruitment of women to the shop floor. “Women on the shop floor are so focused, and the output they deliver often surpasses expectations,” she remarks, challenging the outdated notion of male dominance in manufacturing. Despite acknowledging the current gender ratio disparity, Shilpa remains optimistic about achieving a balanced representation. “The industry is gradually evolving, and I believe we’re on our way to a more balanced gender representation,” she asserts, underlining the gradual yet positive changes towards gender inclusivity in the sector.

Reflecting on personal experiences that have shaped her professional journey, Shilpa emphasises the importance of meticulous planning and transparency in customer relations. Her transition from teaching to the corporate world, coupled with her responsibilities at home, necessitated efficient time management and prioritization. “Planning my day has been crucial in balancing work and home life without compromising efficiency in either sphere,” she explains. Recounting a learning moment, Shilpa highlights the importance of communication, even when unable to fulfill a commitment. “It’s vital to communicate with your customers, whether you’ve met their expectations or not. This transparency builds trust and fosters long-term relationships,” Shilpa advises.

Guided by personal values such as punctuality, discipline, and a willingness to seek help when needed, Shilpa navigates her dual responsibilities at home and work with remarkable efficiency. “For me, punctuality is very important, it has helped me a lot in sorting out things and maintaining the balance,” she explains. This meticulous approach, coupled with her openness to learning and collaboration, has been instrumental in her successful transition and continued progression in the corporate sector. Shilpa’s commitment to lifelong learning, both professionally and personally, remains a cornerstone of her philosophy. “I think learning should not stop, there are so many qualities that you also learn from a person, not necessarily be related to your job,” she muses, highlighting the enriching experiences drawn from both her teaching and corporate endeavors.

Breaking Past Perceptions: #Womanufacturing

Shilpa Apte candidly discusses the nuanced challenges women face in their career trajectories, especially when juggling family responsibilities with professional aspirations. “Sometimes you do take decisions that are more family-oriented,” she reflects, acknowledging the complex decisions women often make that could influence their career paths differently than men. This introspection sheds light on the gender dynamics within professional environments and the personal sacrifices sometimes required to maintain balance.

Highlighting a positive shift in the engineering field, Shilpa celebrates the increasing presence of women in traditionally male-dominated disciplines like mechanical engineering. “But today, if you go to any engineering college, you will find so many girls doing mechanical engineering,” she notes, illustrating a significant change in societal norms and educational choices over the years. This transition signifies a break from past perceptions that questioned women’s capability in fields such as mechanical engineering.

Shilpa’s observations showcase the importance of encouraging young women to pursue their interests boldly, regardless of the field. “I think the girls should go for it,” she urges, envisioning a future where gender parity in engineering and related fields is the norm, not the exception. Her own journey, marked by decisions woven through personal and professional realms, exemplifies the resilience and adaptability many women demonstrate as they navigate their careers. Her message is clear: aspiring towards a future where women and men share equal representation in all professional sectors is not just a dream but a tangible goal. Shilpa’s story and advocacy lend a voice to the ongoing dialogue about women’s evolving roles in the workforce and the collective effort needed to achieve gender balance in every industry.


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