How do you start off the typical day in America?
Do you eat donuts, coffee, bacon and eggs?
To start the day in Germany, try waking up at 4:45 a.m. and drinking a scolding hot German cup of coffee yah. I learned the phrase “yah” talking to a waitress. She says it is filler when talking to people, somewhat equivalent to the American word “umm”. This morning, breakfast was absolutely delicious. I ate smoked ham with Swiss cheese and warm croissants. I noticed a vast difference with food in Frankfurt, Germany. The portion size is smaller, but the abundance of richer homemade ingredients makes the meal so much more worth it. Even the jelly tasted like it was made with more fruit and less sugar.
On the business side of things we visited John Deere in Mannheim, Germany. We took a very detailed tour that showed the manufacturing process that John Deere implements everyday. We were not allowed to bring cameras or phones because of the prototypes of new machines being processed. They stated that they spend $2.2 million everyday on new research and manufacturing processing. The thing that intrigued me the most was the line processing. Each worker has an individual job that needs to be completed in a timely manner. Each part is then passed on a conveyer belt to the next station so the next worker can start his own specific assignment. If you have any knowledge of Henry Ford, this is the same process that he implemented in his car factory.
John Deere does implement some robotic technology, but most of what I saw was controlled or processed by human hands. After the tour we made our way to the Q&A part of the tour, where two of the top human resource directors briefed us on what their job entails. Most of what their job consists of is building relationships and assessing job performance in order to increase product production. The most interesting information the HR directors shared with us is pay. In America, there are several factors that could increase your pay. These factors are education, knowledge, experience, and seniority. In Germany, you are paid the same amount as everyone else that is doing the same job. The example they gave us is that a person processing gears for 15 years will get the same pay as a person who just started two weeks ago. Though education will get you a better job, sometimes having the people skills and being able to understand certain situations will also increase your pay. John Deere in Mannheim was definitely an interesting experience. Even though the seminar was directed more towards people in HR and engineering, I appreciated this experience greatly.
Also the most important thing I learned today occurred at dinner. When you order “lemonade,” it is not lemonade at all! In fact, it is a Sprite or 7up. I could not decide which. Now that I think about it, it also could have been a Sierra Mist!