We started the day with the usual meeting point in the lobby at 8.00 am. Mr. Rüttimann was the last who entered the bus. Then suddenly the whole students began to sing happy birthday, at least as good as the ninths in sister act. 😉 Since then everybody of the trip knew that this is a special day, it is the birthday of our mentor, professor, master, tour guide and (as we have learned on the trip) in the Asian management style: our uncle. 😉 At this point: Thank you for the great trip, happy birthday once again and all the best!
After a few minutes, Raffi hold a short presentation in the bus about our first visited company Geberit. “To meet a Geberit-toilet in another country is like coming home” (Citation Raffael Grütter). Geberit is a Swiss company and has entered the Chinese market in 1996. Geberit is a European market leader in sanitary engineering with a global alignment in more than 40 countries. While arriving at the presentation room almost everybody took the chance to use the toilet and test the Geberit flushing system. Hearing the Swiss flushing, Raffael suddenly felt homesick and was on the verge of tears. Then Mr. Ronald Kwan (CEO of Geberit Asia Pacific) warmly welcomed us and gave us a short and very interesting introduction on the company.
He pointed out that in the Asian market it is very important to be flexible and to adjust quickly to the fast changing market conditions. Therefore it is crucial to hire, educate and retain good employees.
Afterwards Nick Shao (Customer Service Center Manager, Special Projects) showed us the Geberit facility. First stop was the exhibition of a few sanitary systems.
The next stop was the demonstration tower.
Here Nick showed us how Geberit gains a competitive advantage due to its flushing system. They developed and implemented a sanitary system that is more effective than the traditional Chinese one. They focus on three main points: technology, design and sustainability. Regarding sustainability Geberit achieved to reduce the amount of liters of water used for one flush from 12-16 liters to 3-6 liters. After having the presentation of the demonstration tower Nick led us to the testing room, where we could see that the pipes of Geberit have better quality than the competitors. The competitors are more likely in a cost-leader position and therefore use economies of scale. Hence they sell their products to a much lower price. Logistics was the next stop. We had the chance there to see how Geberit produces the water tanks for the sanitary facilities. Then we headed to the inventory.
At the last stopover, the training room, we saw a Geberit System that is completely different to the ones of the competitors. They do not only just deliver single components, they achieved to offer an entire solution with all components included.
Finally we had time to raise questions and get answers. We discussed one issue further: The plumbers in China are not as well educated as in Europe. It is therefore crucial to train people to install the sanitary systems in a correct way. Geberit recognized this issue and sets a focus on training. As Mr. Ronald Kwan the CEO asked for suggestions and thoughts of our side, we came up with one business opportunity: Since handicapped people sometimes have problems to wash themselves after doing their business, we assume that there would be a high demand for closet toilets in hospitals or almshouses. So it could be wise to not just offer these products to high class target groups and make them affordable for the groups mentioned before.
We would like to thank you once more CEO Ronald Kwan and Mr. Nick Shao. A warm welcome and an informative tour made this visit to one of the best of the whole trip.
After the impressive Geberit-visit we went back to the bus. It was time to strengthen us with a delicious Chinese meal. Everybody was ready then for the next exciting visit at Getzner. An hour later we finally arrived at Getzner. Ms. Cindy Huang (Head of Operations) warmly welcomed us and gave us a short overview about the company. Getzner is specialist in vibration isolation for railways, constructions and industrial applications. Afterwards Mr. Camerau Luo (CFO) showed some facts and figures about the railway industry in general.
After the two presentations Mr. Andreas Heim (Quality Manager) took us into the factory. Especially for us he started a machine to show how the production works. At the moment they are dealing with a few problems regarding production and delivery. Still Mr. Heim was motivated and spoke in an inspiring way you can not experience that often.
An interesting culture aspect he mentioned: Doing business in China is related to Vitamin B, fast changing environment, training programs for the stuff every 2 weeks, the risk of copying your product very quickly and drinking a lot of moutai (the Chinese rise schnapps) 😉
Further he took us into his office, where they test the vibration isolation. At the end everybody had the chance to raise questions and the gifts have been handed over to Mr. Heim, Mr. Luo and Ms. Hunag. Thank you a lot for the great visit.
After a short review and feedback discussion in the bus, everybody enjoyed the drive home looking forward to the exciting never-ending night in Shanghai. 🙂
Thanks for the great day and once again happy birthday Mr. René Rüttimann.