Day 10: Hörauf and Kohler

Today’s Hörauf and Kohler factory visit was our last company visit of this trip.  H&K is an injection moldings company located in Augsburg.  The site is only a short streetcar ride away from our hotel; however, for me, this ride was a stressful one.  Once we got on the streetcar, I immediately realized that I did not have my bus pass, causing me to experience slight panic and paranoia the entire ride because if I got caught I would have to pay 60 euros for my transgression.  We have never been checked before, but I knew that with my luck, this would be the time.  After worrying for an entire streetcar ride that felt like it lasted forever, we finally were at our stop and I got off without getting caught.

We arrived at H&K a little early, so we were left waiting outside until our tour guides arrived.  The one tour guide who could speak English was unfortunately sick today, so we were led by a German speaking tour guide accompanied by a translator for the entire tour.  This extended the speaking part of the tour and made the tour slightly more difficult to follow.

During our tour, we walked through the different parts of the factory where they make their injection molding pieces and air dampers.  Honestly, I didn’t understand exactly how the processes worked and what they were doing in each part of the factory, but I tried to follow what was going on and then left the rest for the group covering H&K to explain in their presentation.

At the end of the tour, we had a never-ending Q&A in the middle of the parking lot.  During this session, our tour answered different questions asked by the H&K German students and a few were translated for us to understand.  The most interesting point made was that everyone at H&K knows and admits that the company’s survival perspective does not look too good.  The company is only continuing to produce their air dampers because they want to take care of their workers and continue to employ them.  And for the rest of their products, there are other companies that have better processes and more innovation in the field.  So far, we haven’t had a company straight up admit that their future is grim and that they probably won’t be around within the next 15 years.

After our tour and Q&A ended, we went back to the streetcar and my panic came back.  We, luckily, didn’t get checked and I distracted myself with conversation the entire ride, which made the way back a little less stressful.  Once back at the hotel, we had the rest of the day free.  A few of us went out to the food window stands close to Maximillian street.  I got a nice street food pizza and a smoothie from the coffee stand.  The pizza was alright and the smoothie was delicious!

After we walked through a couple different shops around where we were, my group went back to the University to work out the kinks in our presentation.  I feel like we are well-prepared for tomorrow and after we practice we will be ready to go!

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