Day 4: A Ray of Sunshine

May 9, 2018

Today started bright and early because we had two different company visits lined up on our itinerary. The first company that we went to was called Sunshine Insurance Company. We met up with this woman who was higher up in the Human Resources department. She had attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and then graduated from Peking University in China. She brought us to a large room and gave us a brief intro about the company. It all seemed normal until she started playing a 30-minute documentary on the company’s history.

The video began with dramatic music and waves crashing. Next thing we know, there are Viking ships traveling across the ocean with a deep announcer’s voice in the background. My fellow classmates and I all looked at each other with confused faces but continued to watch. The video continued to introduce the CEO of the company and the struggles he went through in order to make this company successful. He had created Sunshine Insurance Company from the ground up and did become very successful. However, something odd in this video was that it made him seem as if he was a god amongst everyone else at the company. Most of the video put the chairman in a light that made him the most important man alive, which was kind of off-putting. Another thing that I didn’t understand was how successful this company became in such a short period of time considering it is a relatively new one. Especially as an insurance firm, most don’t make profit until at least six years, but Sunshine was able to profit within four. In addition, they had their own university that trained new employees. We were given a tour of this extremely nice campus and almost seemed too good to be true. I am a little skeptical of Sunshine Insurance Company, but it was a good experience to see how a different type of organization is run.

After the visit at Sunshine, we headed off to the headquarters of Xiaomi, which is a top competitor in the Chinese smartphone market. We had met with a man who was the Senior Manager in the Supply Chain Management area and he gave us a presentation of how Xiaomi’s Supply Chain operates. They have a very precise system, beginning with companies they partner with. They want to make sure they can receive the best resources from their partners and have the most efficient production system to make outstanding results. The cycle begins with the production team consistently coming out with new ideas for products. It then transitions to the planning team, which estimates how many of the products they want to sell. The cycle ends with sales and seeing how much profit the product makes. This company visit was very beneficial for me because it gave me a better understanding of the supply chain field.

We ended the day by going to a local restaurant. However, we were faced with a huge obstacle: the language barrier. None of the employees spoke English and none of the other people I was with spoke Chinese, so it was a big problem. I am not fluent in Chinese, but I know enough beginner words/phrases to communicate. So, I knew that it was up to me to figure out how to order what everybody wanted. With the help of my basic knowledge of the language as well as a translator app, I was able to order our meals to share. This was the most difficult experience talking with the workers. However, I was proud that I was able to successfully translate and communicate. We had a meal that was well deserved.

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