This is Stefan Granner adding a few more thoughts and observations by way of reminder about our experience this past Thursday visiting two major manufacturing plants in southern China. January 15 was an action-packed day, beginning with an expedient continental breakfast and a morning meeting with representatives from Shanghai GM, a joint venture of General Motors and SAIC Motor. After brief introductions, we were taken on a tour through one of the company’s newest facilities, in which we were able to get a glimpse of the inner workings of this major automobile manufacturing plant. We saw Chinese laborers drilling components of the vehicles into place, completed chassis systems ready to be added to frames, detached car doors to which final touches were being set in place, and conveyor systems that helped the overall organization and functionality of the plant, among many other interesting pieces of machinery. All the while, our tour guide was telling us about various aspects of how the plant is able to run smoothly, as well as mentioning key production numbers that gave us a sense of the magnitude of the whole operation. The Cadillac XTS pictured below is one of many impressive cars manufactured on this site.
But no time to lose your breath yet. It was on to lunch and then a visit with Innotec, an inspirational manufacturing company that emphasizes the importance of community involvement, stewardship, and problem-solving creativity. It wasn’t just a bunch of idealistic stories and fancy wordplay that proved that the company truly had these qualities. They became clear through the many ways in which Innotec demonstrated them, most notably in the hiring of two disabled workers, one of which had lost a leg in a mining accident, the other of which had lost fingers on his left hand in a machine-related accident. Networking and dialoging with high-up managers such as Allen Tie from Innotec has been one of the most incredible experiences of this trip thus far. Listening to them and absorbing what they have to say was fun, informative, and interesting.
This trip will continue to bring surprises and opportunities, and we are all excited to see where it will take us next.