Janet Stephens stays STEP ahead in manufacturing

‘Not everybody’s cut out for manufacturing, but I do think there’s a certain group of women that needs to be educated more about what manufacturing offers’
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Friday, April 14, 2017

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. –The Manufacturing Institute has announced that Janet Stephens, director of planning & initiatives for SCA’s Global Hygiene Supply Personal Care Americas business unit, will receive the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. HME News recently caught up with Stephens to learn more about what it’s like to be a woman in manufacturing.

HME News: How did you get your start in manufacturing?

Janet Stephens: I started out in computer science, but I didn’t like it. So I took one of those guidance aptitude tests and was told I should be an engineer. I liked chemistry, got a degree in chemical engineering, and, at my first job, found I really love the manufacturing environment. It’s a purpose-driven place to be.

HME: How has working in so many different areas of manufacturing helped you to get where you are now?

Stephens: By the time you get to the site manager level, you’re responsible for all areas, so the more you can understand all aspects of the business, the better off you are.

HME: How have you demonstrated excellence and leadership in your career in manufacturing?

Stephens: On the excellence side, I always ask how can we improve from where we are. As for leadership, I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes, whether it’s an operator on the floor or senior management.

HME: How have you made SCA’s Bowling Green facility a benchmark in production efficiency?

Stephens: The only way to be a benchmark in anything is to engage everybody and focus on setting goals and attaining them. You have to be able to ignite the passion people have within them.

HME: Do women still need encouragement to get into manufacturing?

Stephens: There are definitely more women on the management side, but not really on the production side. Not everybody’s cut out for manufacturing, but I do think there’s a certain group of women that needs to be educated more about what manufacturing offers.