Day 15: SGS and Pearl River Piano

After a delicious breakfast in the morning, the group met at 8 o’clock in the hotel lobby. The first meeting was with Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS). Kimmo Ahtokari and Jeannette Chu warmly welcomed us and presented the company profile. SGS which has its headquarter in Geneva provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services for ten business segments. It was established in 1878 and employs 59’000 people in 1000 offices and laboratories around the world.

SGS tests are carried out under the highest international standards such as ISO and is known for its interest in environmental matters. Its emphasis on sustainable development lead to the winning of many awards. Experts of each department introduced various testing machines for a wide variety of products. A durability test has been done with a football for instance. Another machine checked the robustness of the wheels of wheelchairs, roller skates and skate boards. The highlight of this day ended with an interesting Q&A session where all questions were perfectly answered by the representatives and a closer look at the company given by them.

After another quick lunch break at the American yellow M, the group of students headed the Pearl River Piano Group Ltd. (PRD) The Chinese piano manufacturer based in Guangzhou has more than 50 years of history. Nowadays, it is the largest piano producer in the world with more than 100’000 pianos manufactured annually. The company has more than 28% market share in China, 15% in Europe and 18% in the U.S. PRD consists of the three brands Pearl River, Ritmüller and Kayserburg. Its pianos are exported to more than hundred countries. The PRD Group welcomed us in the company’s showroom where some students explored their musical abilities. However, must of us being better positioned in a future management position. How one can play with such a piano has been shown right after by a real Chinese piano artist working for the PRD Group. Thereafter, the company’s tour guide briefly introduced us to the production side. The students were impressed the by exact assembling of the craftsmen. The pianos consist of a high amount of wood. After thanking the PRD Group the students boarded the bus.

In the afternoon, the group had the opportunity to visit the Shiling International Leather Market. The market consisted of various buildings with small stores that offered all kinds of leather goods. Some of us used this opportunity to purchase document cases at a substantial lower price compared to Switzerland. In the evening, the group came together for a reflection of the trip and a general review of our studies at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. There, our dean Mr. Haelg explained various changes that are planned for the coming years, most of which were welcomed by a majority of participants. Two hours later, the students went for individual dinners and enjoyed themselves the rest of the evening.

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