Goedendag! My name is Richard Bagnell from NSCC Truro Campus in Nova Scotia Canada. I am one of five NSCC students selected to participate in the 3 week summer school program, Doing Business in Europe. I was introduced to this program through Robyn Wilkie and NSCC International, who have coordinated with our host Hanze University in Groningen, Netherlands. This busy and exciting program will directly expose us to aspects of international business along with cross-cultural communication and experience, as well as unique opportunities and experiences that we will continue to blog about over the next 3 weeks.
Today we departed Groningen for the day and arrived in Papenburg in the northwest of Germany to visit the site of the largest covered shipbuilding yard in the world, Meyer Werft, a 6th generation family business. Mr. Thomas Witolla, head of research and development, took us on a tour of the highly technological manufacturing facility showing and explaining to us the manufacturing process to build the mass which becomes a luxury cruise liner. Meyer Werft also manufactures other ships including ferries, river cruise liners, research vessels, container ships, livestock carriers and gas tankers.
Mr. Witolla explained how the ships were built in 6000 tonne sections that were shifted, rotated, and lifted by cranes, as well as showing us firsthand the computerized cutting of steel and hybrid laser welding technology. It was easy to see the relation to our studies in business as the logistics of strategically moving these pieces through the warehouse was of high importance to time and cost efficiency, let alone the logistics of filling the ship with furniture, lifeboats, parts, and other accessories over the two year process. Without perfectly tuned logistics within all aspects of the company, the inefficiencies would increase to dangerous levels that would threaten and compromise the company.
Meyer Werft employs over 2500 and receives and considers all feedback from their employees in hopes to achieve utmost efficiency. The company’s research and development team has much to focus on to differentiate itself from its key competitors, but has a strong focus on energy management, energy efficiency, and environmental impact. They even go as far as trying to reduce sound and vibrations on species living in the waters that the ships cruise through.
With ships taking up to two and a half years to complete, it is not rare to see up to 100,000 spectators watching the completed ship leave the shipyard, including employees who watch with tears of pride.
When speaking about the employees working to build the ships, Mr. Thomas Witolla summed it up by saying – “Without the people, everything is nothing.”
Business Administration Student
NSCC, Truro Campus