This morning we took a bus ride to the Burke E. Porter Machinery Company where we took a company tour. Founded in 1953, Burke Porter Machinery Company specializes in creating machines to test cars before they are sold. They focus on end-of-line testing, laboratory products, automotive power train, and special machines for industries ranging from automotive to regulatory. As well as having the highest quality and most intelligent machinery, they also aim to have the best quality support system in their industry. One way they do this is by making it their mission to respond to each customer inquiry within 20 minutes. Finally, some companies that they work with include GM, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, and Tesla, along with many more.
Before the tour began, we listened to a very in depth presentation of the company and the products they create. The presenter gave a very thorough explanation of the technologies they are implementing into their machines, and it was a lot of information to take in at once. This being said, it was cool to learn about what goes on behind the scenes with the safety testing of the cars we drive. After the presentation, we did a walk through tour of the building where they build the machines. Something we learned that was not expected before the visit was how many big car companies Burke Porter works with. While we were on our tour, our host mentioned how different the expectations of quality were between European and American products. He mentioned how in Europe this are more tightly packed together and tidy, whereas when he was in America he saw that they had different standards for the machines. Throughout this whole trip, and today during the visit, we noticed that Europeans like to explain a lot and they often go very in-depth when answering questions. We feel that this is slightly different from the U.S. just because of the extent they are willing to explain things, and even go off topic and start talking about something else. Because they spoke English, it was very easy to understand what they were saying which we appreciated because there have been times during our travels where it was hard to have simple communication. Overall we enjoyed the opportunity of touring this company and learning more about how a company based in Grand Rapids is doing global business.
– Donny K. and Joel B.