The beaches of Busan are absolutely gorgeous. I am not a huge fan of beaches, nor am I a great swimmer, but the moment I saw that golden sand and green water, I knew I had to get in. Unfortunately for me, the water was exceptionally cold; I had to force myself all the way in by taking a running start into the ocean and submerging myself all at once. Fortunately for me, once I was in, the water felt marginally better. With that being said, the only people in the water on the entire beach were students from Pittsburgh. None of the Korean locals dared touch that frigid water, and I don’t blame them. As a matter of fact, they stared and laughed as we charged into the water, immediately shrieking at how cold it was.
The company visit of the day was Hyundai Motors. The complex was absolutely massive, with multiple factories producing a total of 1.4 million cars, and the factory process we saw was awesome. I have a soft spot in my heart for anything industrial, so watching the assembly lines was entrancing for me. Loud noises, men hard at work, the stench of heavy machinery; I love it all for no particular reason. As for the cars themselves, they are basically copies of other cars. The Genesis brand in particular, their luxury vehicles, borrows heavily from several German car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi/Volkswagen, as well as the Japanese Lexus/Toyota. That is not to say that they aren’t cool cars, because they most definitely are; they felt luxurious when we were allowed to sit in them. That is to say though that I wasn’t necessarily blown away by the cars themselves, so much as all of the processes that go into the manufacturing and logistics. There is a lot of integration, both horizontal and vertical; according to our tour guide, for instance, large amounts of the steel used by Hyundai Motors comes from Hyundai Steel.
Tomorrow we visit a nearly fully automated shipyard and a training facility for electric workers. While I am not so excited about the latter, the former is sure to be brilliant. I think that, more than any visit we have done so far, an automated shipyard will really give me some cool insight into how smart systems can be used to tangibly benefit businesses and society at large.