May 8th, 2019
Today was the day that Brett, Steph, Nick, and I would visit our presentation company with Matthias, Luca, and Freddy, who will be working with us. The day began the same as always, with an early breakfast and an 8:00 departure.
The bus ride would be the longest one yet, about two hours from the Ibis Hotel to Regensburg. It was a beautiful morning, so I tried to stay awake as long as possible so that I could take in the scenery. I saw many farms with pretty, open views. I took note of some German farming practices that I hadn’t observed in the United States, including the use of wooden structures to allow some plants to grow upwards.
Sleep eventually won the battle with twenty minutes left on the bus ride, but I desperately needed the sleep. When I woke up, we were on the outskirts of Regensburg. We began our time there with a very interesting city tour, the highlight of which was St. Peter’s Cathedral. The church was the best one yet; words cannot describe the beauty of the stained glass windows and other artwork in the Cathedral. I would venture to say that their beauty rivaled that of our view from the Alps!
After our city tour, we took a short bus ride to the Continental facility at Regensburg. I saw the car of the day there, a European-only Volkswagen Sirocco R:
Mark, from HR at Continental, gave a very informative presentation and overview of Continental as a company. We learned that Continental is much more than just a manufacturer of tires; the company makes many other components of automobiles and is using its experience with rubber in other industries through its ContiTech division. The company has five major divisions: tires, ContiTech, Chassis and Safety, Interior, and Powertrain. The Regensburg plant primarily works with the latter three divisions and is home to about 7,700 employees. Siemens and Continental share the facility at Regensburg.
After about forty-five minutes, we broke for lunch at the company cafeteria. I had some good schnitzel and talked to Luca about some of the cultural differences between America and Germany.
We learned about current challenges facing Continental from both Mark and Herr Thomas Gallner, the Head of Corporate Innovation Management. The company is taking steps to give itself a competitive edge in the areas of intervehicle connectivity, autonomy, electrification, and ride-sharing applications. Herr Gallner gave a very informative presentation regarding ownership and leadership that will prove especially helpful in preparing our company presentation.
After Herr Gallner’s presentation, we took a very interesting tour of Continental’s production facility that manufactures circuit boards and other circuit elements to be used by auto manufacturers, such as air bag deployment sensors and nitrous oxide detectors for exhaust systems. It was incredible to see the amount of process innovation occurring at the facility; autonomous robots cruised by our tour to resupply machines with circuit components, and we saw a new, highly efficient storage system for these components in action. The tour was certainly the highlight of the visit.
We departed for Regensburg at about 4:00, and we had an hour to explore the city before dinner. My friends and I visited a diecast model car shop we had seen earlier to admire the models. We additionally visited several curio shops and revisited St. Peter’s Cathedral to see the stained glass one more time. We then had dinner at Weltenburger. I ordered schnitzel, which I felt tasted too close to fish. I had schnitzel for lunch at Continental, though, so I’m not ready to write it off yet.
We departed for Augsburg at about 7:30, and our team organized our next meeting for Sunday on the way home. This evening, I am going to do some further research on the company to ensure I am prepared for our meeting on Sunday.
I’m super excited to visit Audi tomorrow. Something tells me that the factory tour will be like heaven for us car guys!