Working at Saathi: How I Became a Prototyping Wizard
Written by Harshal Panchal, 11/23/16
Hello! I'm Harshal, a graduate Mechanical Engineer from Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, Ahmedabad. Nine months ago, I was searching for an opportunity with a manufacturing startup to practice my skills and develop myself. My search ended with Saathi, a startup with the mission to provide women fully biodegradable sanitary pads.
A bit about myself: I like to explore new processes, materials, and machines. My best skills are machine designing and 3D modeling. I care about the environment and want my city, and all of India, to be less polluted. Before working for Saathi, I worked for a major MNC. Also, I laugh a lot and people find me funny! (I don't know why...)
From the first day I joined Saathi as a Mechanical Engineer intern, I was already working on cool projects. My typical day started with scrum planning and reviewing the previous day’s work. Then on some days, I would brainstorm how solve our latest challenge, such as a faster way to process banana fiber. Once I had a worthwhile solution, I would use our fabrication tools to make a prototype and test it. On other days, I would set up instruments, find new suppliers, finalize orders and more. The biggest advantage of working in the startup like Saathi over a larger, older organization is the variety of responsibilities and thus skills one can learn. You are also given the freedom to think and work on some crazy and out of the box ideas that sometimes work!
I started working before Saathi even had a manufacturing plant and am leaving in amazement at our growth. Being a part of the transformation from making prototypes, to a few samples, to several hundred products a day is rewarding. I have grown as fast as the company, and now have the ability to rapidly prototype, negotiate with suppliers, document my work and so much more. I see a bright future for Saathi, and India, that is based on our country’s roots: sustainable living.