The day started with a bus ride to Cooper P.S.T.C in Shanghai. The head of Cooper Power Systems Technical Center China, Mr. Dr. Roger Perkins, welcomed us at the entrance. Cooper Industries has seven different divisions of which Cooper Power Systems is one of them. Cooper Power Systems is also a subsidiary of Cooper Industries.
First he gave us a brief introduction of the company, which vision is “One Team, One Dream, One Billion”, and then he invited us to have a walk through the factory. They splitted us up into three groups and gave us funny looking goggles for eye protection. The main products of Cooper Power Systems are transformers, regulators, connectors and fuses.
In other words, Cooper Power Systems provides tools to regulate the power flow. As mentioned by Mr. Perkins, many of the Chinese employees are young (average is below 30!). Mr. Perkins also told us about the differences between businesses in America, Europe and China. The relationship and thrust between employee and employer is very important for Chinese workers (also known as Guanxi). It is also to be recognized that a hierarchical structure is mainly demanded by employees. During the visit of the production plant we saw many half automatic machines instead of many workers. After the visit of the plant we were invited to have lunch at their canteen. We were delighted because it was one of the best meals we had so far here in China. After lunch we had to move on with our day trip and we thanked Mr. Perkins for his time and devotion.
The second company visit of our day took us to SIKA/SARNAFIL a company which produces several industrial construction materials. The branch in Pudong Shanghai is specialized on polymeric membranes for roofing and tunnelling for China and Asia Pacific.
After a warm Swiss welcome, Mr Peter Albrecht, Production & Logistics Director, announced us that an important part, the turbine, of the production line broke down 1,5 weeks ago and that the production still doesn’t run. The part is now at the Chinese custom, but because of the Olympic Games it will take them about two to six weeks to get the new part to the factory and running again. We were not to much disappointed because if the production line would have been running it would have been over 40°C in the factory!
They moved their whole laboratory within a half year to a new floor and will also build a wind simulation machine to test the mounted polymeric membranes until August this year. This machine will be the third in the world!
Even though it was burning hot we wanted to go up to the roof to see a mounted SARNAFIL roof. On the roof they had a kind of garden where they test the Swiss alpine flora under China condition for the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. It was more of a brownish spot then an alpine garden. The gardener thinks that the Swiss pavilion will end up with the normal grass instead of Swiss alpine flora.
After the factory tour, we met each other again in a meeting room, where Stefan Traber, Director of SU Roofing, was waiting for the group in order to present to company to the students. In 1997 SARNAFIL started their business with a Joint Venture in China. In the last quarter of 2005 SIKA took over SARNAFIL. 75% of their production is used for roofing and 25% for tunnelling. The Chinese market accounts around 45Mio m2 for roofing and 30Mio m2 for tunnelling. Only 3% of the earnings of SIKA/SARNAFIL are from renovations the other 97% are from new business. The market segment of roofing is divided in five sections:
– Industrial 58,95%
– Public 22,73%
– Commercial 17,21%
– Tunnel 0.79%
– Others 0.32%
They run their business mostly with expatriates from all over the world and blue colour workers from China. Their production line runs on four shifts seven days a week. Because of the “copy paste” in China they handle the mounting of their product with only 20% of contractors and 80% by themselves, which is unusual for their international company culture.
Loaded with interesting impressions we took the bus back to the hotel. Because of the traffic it took us, as usual, longer then we thought and a lot of us went for another comfortable bus napping.