Germany Day 10: Horauf and Kohler

Our tenth day only had a visit to Horauf and Kohler scheduled. H&K is a family owned plastics company. H&K was assigned to me, and through our research from the introduction presentation, I knew that H&K was going to be small. Also, H&K is the only company of the five that is not corporate, so I was expecting the site visit to be a little different.

The visit began with Dr. Feick explaining to us that there were no employees (that could give us a tour) that spoke English at H&K, so right off that bat, I knew this visit was going to be odd. The tour was fairly brief and not at all impressive. There was nearly no automation, and most tasks were performed by hand. It seemed as if most rooms were disorganized and cluttered, and we only passed one robot throughout the entire tour. Once the tour concluded, we had no presentation, and the Q&A session was held outside near a loading dock. Needless to say, the site visit was nowhere near the standards set by the other corporate companies.

After the visit, we began to frantically work on the large company analysis presentation scheduled for the next day. Through more research and the site visit, we drew a few conclusions about H&K. For one, the R&D sector was outsourced, and thus innovation is at a minimum for H&K. This was evident through the lack of automation, and the dating plastics production process: injection molding. Although I find this process to be fairly interesting, it is clear that additive manufacturing (3D printing) will become most efficient in the near future. There were many other significant flaws such as the lack of diversity in customers (they only sell to BMW) and the employment of unfit workers. H&K seemed to show no effort in trying to keep up with the times, and as a result, our group predicted that the company will no longer be in business in the near future. Overall, I was unimpressed with H&K as a whole.

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