Sometimes even Students have to get up early. A large day packed with company visits and new impressions of the Peoples’ Republic awaited us. Hence we met up at 6.45 in the hotel lobby. While the bus was scheduled to drive us directly to Schindler, the first stop on our tight schedule this day was a different one. For once we were ahead of time. Due to this we got to make an additional stop at a traditional Chinese village, where people with a good sense of bargaining could prove their skills at the local market. A river, nestled into the picturesque landscape, curled its way along the neat small houses of the village. While on the the right riverside people could experience grubby streets and unknown scents, the left side was represented by a typical Chinese market. Nothing for the faint harted and neither for our vegetarians… Needless to add more.
Because of the high humidity and burning heat, people didn’t last long in these alleyways and soon went back to the bus to continue the journey. After a short drive, we arrived at the SEL / SSE building of Schindler. We were warmly welcomed by Mr. Cai Xiao Dong, Head of Production & Supply Chain Asia Pacific, and Mr. Jiang Penghuan, SCK Production Department Manager, who gave us an informative speech about the company and its business branch in China. We learned that Schindler was the first western industrial company that set up a joint venture in China about 30 years ago. We received a guided tour through the plant to get a general idea about the processes in the production and the working conditions that did not really digress from those in Switzerland. Last but not least, all our questions were answered.
All the new impressions and activities made our stomags craving for food, so we stopped at a food court. Spooked away by its emptiness some of us went to a Chinese Restaurant while others tried their luck in a Mexican Restaurant – the indecisisive couldn’t find anything at all.
Our next host-company was the Tesa Plant in Suzhou, located in a huge industrial park (SIP) in the east of the city. Tesa is part of the German Beiersdorf Group and is well known for its sticky tape all around the world. Just seven years ago, Tesa started its production in Suzhou. Before we were allowed to enter the area, a friendly young lady gave us some safety instructions to follow. Shortly after this followed an informative about the company. Well presented and adapted to the target audience, General Manager, Mr. Ang was able to deliver an interesting and involving speach. After this, Mr. Weng led us through the production plant. The process to produce the tape is split into three simple steps: mixing, coating and converting (cutting and packing). Tesa produces around 1’000 sticker rolls of each 4’000 meters per day – what an astonishing number!! At the very end, Mr. Kumar answered all our questions with accurate professionalism and a slight hint of sarcasm. A the 10th and last stop later at the rest room everybody was ready to saddle the horses, so we made our way back to vibrant SHANGHAI.
Being – once again – well in time, Mr. Rüttimann and we sneaked into the exhibition hall of the SIP, the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park, which was build with the help of the city-state Singapore. A huge project! Thanks to our boldness, we could get an overview about this gigantic installation which includes several skyscrapers, eight Universities, a huge opera, a fancy lake scenery and many other state of the art buildings. In addition it is an exceptional example for an international cooperation between two countries (Singapore and China).
Tired but happy we arrived a good one and ahalf hours later in Shanghai. Feeling dirty and damp we were all glad to finally take our well deserved shower and enjoy later on the delicious Chinese cuisine.
Just 3 more days to go – incredible how time flies… We’re more than excited to see what’s next!!
ZHAW Students, Group 3 over and out.
Fabienne, Keving, Mara, Natalie, Silvan, Steffi