Day 10: H&K and Final Preparations

Today we went to Hörauf & Kohler.  Their facilities were only a few tram stops away from our hotel.  H&K was much different than the other companies that we visited.  In comparison, H&K was much smaller, with fewer employees and fewer locations around the world than the others.  Hörauf & Kohler is part of the German Mittelstand.  These are small to medium sized companies with strong family values and shared management practices.  The Mittelstand forms the backbone of the German economy.  Unfortunately, the tour guide was unable to speak English and we required a translator for the tour.  It was sometimes difficult to hear the explanations as I feel some details may have been lost in translation.  We were allowed to take pictures inside their production facility including a working KUKA robot, which we weren’t allowed to photograph at any of the other company visits.  We then entered a room where a few elderly women were creating parts by hand.  We were told that the parts aren’t being used anymore and they are in the process of phasing out this sector, however, they will wait until the workers retire to completely shut down the production.  I found this very interesting because in the United States, I feel that this would never happen.  As soon as a part or process is deemed not profitable, it is shutdown and people are laid off.  However, as part of the Mittelstand values, loyalty is important and the company aims to provide income for its workers for as long as they are at the company.  The tour ended and the guide conducted the Q&A session in the parking lot for about an hour.  Our presentations were tomorrow so my group had booked a private room in the library later in the afternoon.  Stephen, Jeremy, and I took the tram to Koenigsplatz to get some lunch.  We went to a place called City Döner, a little döner shop that I ended up going to 5 days in a row because it was so good.  I alternated between the beef and chicken dürüm and can honestly say, was some of the best food I have had in my entire life.  I finished my meal off with some excellent baklava and we headed back to the hotel.

We then grabbed our laptops and headed to the University by tram.  We walked into the library and were told we couldn’t enter and we didn’t know why.  Luckily Marius came and met us in the lobby to explain that we were not allowed to bring our backpacks into the library and that we must place them in the lockers outside before entering.  Luckily we were able to fit all of our backpacks into one locker because each required two €2 coins to use.  We then worked on our presentation for a couple hours and got a few practice runs in, learning that we had to cut our time down for the presentation tomorrow.

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