The Excitement Builds: Plus3 Italy Pre-Departure

Hi I’m Jason Sosnowski. I’m studying Electrical Engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering. I’m going to be going to Italy for 2 weeks this summer with Plus3.

The pre-departure meetings were where everyone attending the trip gathered together for a few hours on Sundays and discussed business, Italy itself, and travel as a whole. I was introduced to many new concepts that I think would’ve made the trip much harder if I didn’t know them. I had never even heard of supply chain management prior to the meetings. It seems to be the main way that companies are able to expand far past what you’d expect. It seems like evolution in the animal kingdom. You start off as some lowly animal, but you slowly get smarter and more optimized. This helps you beat out the competition because they can’t match what you can. You slowly become the apex predator. When we talked about the example of Walmart, I think this analogy was very accurate. Supply chain management applies to every type of business too. It’s not just about having massive, well located, optimized distributors, you can make little optimizations even with a local business. If you are owning a business, you’re going to be thinking about this even if you’re not labeling it as “supply chain management”. Talking about this is going to aid in my conversations with the Italian companies because I have a greater understanding of what they’re doing to be as successful as they are. I have some insight into the kind of questions they have to ask themselves.

In terms of going to Italy, there were many points I may have never thought of. Every time I’ve been outside of the country in my life, there had been very highly orchestrated events that I was going to participate in. Whether it be due to my parents being the ones planning, doing a bus tour, or what have you, each time I went abroad I never had to plan anything for myself. This would’ve hurt me because we’re left on our own a lot during this trip. I’m doing research to figure out where to eat and what to do with my free time so that I’m not scrambling just to come up with something to do once I’m already in Italy. That would just be wasting my precious time. I’m only going to be there for 2 weeks and in the specific cities for even less time, so I can’t be wasting it with last minute planning. I also hadn’t thought of the fact that I had to tell my bank that I was going abroad. My parents had always been the ones who handled the money when I went abroad or we had gotten the money prior to leaving. I never thought that people just go abroad and then withdraw money there. It makes sense though. If you don’t tell your bank, they’re going to assume that you’re being robbed.

During the meetings while talking about the different Italian businesses that we’re going to be visiting, I noticed something. All of the smaller Italian fashion companies seem to be aiming for the same kind of cookie cutter mold; they want to appear to be a small family business that prides itself on custom, small batch, personalized, hand crafted, Italian goods. I don’t see that all that often in the states. They seem to be catering to someone who cares a lot about knowing that the workers are in good hands and that although they may have to pay more, the products that they’re buying are made with love. Maybe this is a business culture difference or perhaps just a general cultural difference. This is an interesting idea that I want to ask about once I’m in Italy. In America, perhaps the equivalent would be something claiming to be made in America or from local, organic farms. All of the non-GMO, cage-free, etc would probably fit the same category. It’s where being more ecofriendly or treating the people who work for you well becomes trendy. It’s sad that the way to push forward towards being more moral businesses it has to be incentivized by the fact that putting these buzz words will make their products sell, but regardless of why, what’s happening is good for the world.

All of these thoughts came from what we talked about during the meetings. These meetings provided insight into ideas that I may not have come up with by myself and likely would have hindered my experience in Italy without it.

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