May 14: New Thinking, New Possibilities

We started off the day by visiting only one company, Hyundai Motor Company. As I am sure you know, Hyundai is automotive manufacturer with its largest plant in Ulsan. This plant is responsible for making a variety of Hyundai models, including their hybrid cars, SUVs, and Genesis luxury cars. We were able to see many of the newest models in their showroom as well as many of their factories. It was prohibited to take photos in the factory, which was my favorite part of the company tour. I had never seen an assembly line in action before, so it was extremely interesting to see the employees at work. To my surprise, the car building process is not automated and the company takes pride in the fact that employees are integral in the final step of car building. The plant is enormous, with 32,000 employees working there. In the plant itself, there are so many cars that employees are not allowed to bring cars inside; a shuttle is provided to enter the campus. The plant also provides dormitories for employees who may be students or need housing, their own police, and a firetruck. It was as if Hyundai Motors was its own community!

It was interesting to learn that most of the parts for the car actually come from other companies; Hyundai is just responsible for creating the engines and transmissions. Approximately 8,000 to 9,000 trucks come in daily to deliver parts. Although the manufacturing process is not automated, it is extremely efficient. In a given day, a car is built every 10 seconds. I was truly baffled when the tour guide said this. Overall, completing a car takes between 20-30 hours. To my surprise, the longest part of that process is the paint job. Painting takes about 10 hours in a factory that is highly regulated. It is so restrictive and controlled because a tiny speck of dust can ruin the paint job. Furthermore, after completion, each car is driven on a test drive course for quality control. Visiting Hyundai was surely one of my favorite company experiences so far. I learned a lot from the tour and seeing the manufacturing process firsthand.

Leave a Reply