Today was the final company visit. We visited H&K which is an injection molding company which was also located in Augsburg making it only a short tram ride away. Up until this point, all of our tours and company visits have been in English which has been great because everyone in our group speaks English. Today that hot streak ended. We were supposed to have the company visit in English but the person who was supposed to do this was not available today. The solution was to have the tour given in German but with an English translator. This extended the length of the tour, but it also allowed me time to look around at each stop before I listened to the translations.
The tour started in warehouse that contained many molds used for injection molding. They talked about the process of making the molds and how they must withstand tremendous heat and pressure. They then said that they have outsourced their injection molding process to China, but why still have all these molds? They keep all molds that they use in case replacement parts are needed for cars. The molds are large and take up a lot of space and I think that’s why they have outsourced to China.
Next, we visited a room where they are putting together air dampers for a glovebox. They had not automated this process yet and the reason for this is because they are trying to phase out the air dampers.
I got the feeling that the company was old and outdated. Many of their inventories and progress reports are keep on paper and they haven’t moved toward automation in manufacturing as they have only one KUKA robot. The company presenter also confirmed my thoughts as he believes that the company will be obsolete in a few years. They are also completely reliant on BMW as they account for seventy percent of H&K’s revenue and the remaining thirty percent of product ends up in a BMW car through other companies.
After the tour I headed back to the hotel to change out of my business casual clothes that were picked out by my mom and grab some lunch. If you read my previous blog I said that I would be going back to get more doner before I left and that’s exactly what I did today. The owner recognized me from yesterday and he remembered my order from yesterday. I think I may be making a new friend. After another outstanding doner I met up with my group to start our final presentation. The original plan was to meet at the university and start working but there was no place to work. It was like walking into the Hillman library during finals week. Our German counterparts called an audible and decided that we could all work at one of their apartments. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because we were able to order pizza for dinner. It was valuable because I learned that pizza does not come cut in Germany. Minor inconvenience. After a quick pizza break we finished up our presentation and decided who was going to present what sections. Me being an engineering student naturally got to present the political and social PEST analysis sections.