Wednesday began waking up to another 6:30AM alarm, but tearing the curtains open in the morning and watching the sun light up the sky erased all negativity.
After breakfast we took an hour bus ride to the company my group was assigned to research, Hirschvogel. Hirschvogel is a perfect example of a typical German Mittelstand company. The ownership of the Hirschvogel is passed down within the family from generation to generation, and it provides to a particular niche market, in this case primary automotive parts and mechanics. Although from the outside the facility gives the impression of a simple, industrial factory, the sculpture and office space on the inside portrays a modern, futuristic look; which proved to be a microcosm of the Hirschvogel, itself. The Tier 2 supplier gave immense insight into strategy throughout the presentation, primarily detailing its global footprint, importance to both the domestic and international supply chain, and its plans to expand and account for e-mobility in the future.
Then, we were given a factory tour which featured both modern KUKA robots and old-fashion manual labor. Personally, I felt this distinction showed the structure of the Hirschvogel Mittelstand, as the company proved its innovative capabilities with state-of-the-art machinery, but also demonstrated the pride Hirschvogel has in its roots, not abandoning the value of true manual labor. The plant showcased an enormous steel-import yard, a 2500-ton hydraulic press, robotic assembly lines, and several factory employees with greatly exceeded all of my hopes for the tour. I was truly amazed by Hirschvogel’s success and commitment to the future.
Our day continued to Oberammergau, a small town in the mountains, and we went closer toward the sky by taking a cable car to Laber, a mountain in the Ammergauer Alps. The breath-taking view from the top was absolutely surreal and gave me a chance to appreciate the rural landscape of Germany. After much resistance to leaving this place of solace in the mountains, we took the cable car down and rode the bus back to Augsburg.