Purdue Polytechnic’s Central European Multinational Automobile Organization Supply Chain Experience

The fourth and final leg of the trip was to Rotterdam, Netherlands, 310 miles from Hamburg.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 12% (World Bank) 

Rotterdam is a progressive, multicultural city whose mayor is the first in the country to be an immigrant, a Muslim no less.  New Economy (2016) noted that “Rotterdam has embraced innovation and experimental programs in order to develop into one of the world’s most sustainable cities.”  The city has been chosen as the host of the 2025 World Expo, an international conference which addresses major global issues.  It’s been stated that “people were drawn to the city because of its new smooth running transportation networks” in the past several generations (Rotterdam Marketing, 2016).  The New York Times included Rotterdam as a “Place to Go” (New York Times, 2014) and it was named one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet.  It is quickly becoming a hot tourist destination, with overnight stays in hotels going up by 14% in 2014 (Economische Verkenning Rotterdam, 2016).

 

1) Multinational Automobile and Supply Chain Tours:

The Netherlands employs the least percentage of its citizens in manufacturing of all European nations (European Union Eurostat, 2016) but serves as a supply chain epicenter.  The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and an integral cog in the European supply chain.  It handles more cargo than any American port.  The Port currently boasts “safety, accessibility and sustainability” as key priorities (Port of Rotterdam, 2016).  In hopes of becoming the smartest port on earth, leaders recently put forth a comprehensive plan called “Port Vision 2030″.  The Port recently received a loan of €900 million from the European Investment bank due to the need for increased capacity, and it has been labeled by the EIB as a “vital organ” of the European region (European Investment Bank, 2015).

One modern usage of the Port of Rotterdam includes the RDM (Research, Development, and Manufacturing) Innovation Dock, a collaborative effort with Hodgeschool Technical College.  The campus runs much of their operations in the Innovation Dock, which is a group of intermodal manufacturing workspace occupied by young entrepreneurs who seek improved supply chain access for their products.   Pieter Van Gelder first designed the Innovation Dock area along with a community of houses and residential spaces behind it (which we toured) so workers didn’t have to travel far for work.  Today, student machining and robotics labs work in conjunction with the Innovation Dock’s startup organizations.

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During our stay, several Hodgeschool Technical College Automobile Engineering classes were in session (seen in the background of the picture below on the left).  We were able to check out one of the College club’s prototype engines in their racecars.

 

The Port of Rotterdam sees 315.2 million metric tons of incoming throughput and 129.6 million metric tons of outgoing throughput every year.  Automation and technology in the Port are constantly being upgraded.  Automated cranes usually pick up and unload containers, as only 50,000 of 19 million containers are inspected in full.

Bicycles are a common mode of transportation in the Netherlands, as there are said to be 13 million active bicycles in the country out of a population of only 16.5 million.  Reflecting Dutch culture, our Port tour was by bicycle.  Our tour guide first provided us a history of the construction of various phases of of the Port, which tends to coincide with the peak of imports and exports of certain products.  For instance, the massive Container Terminal was built in the 1960’s to accommodate the influx of American electrical appliance imports.  Each area is constantly modernized, including full automation in the Container terminal.  1 of 3 consumer products in the EU goes through the Port at some juncture.

 

The Logistical Center of the Port (shown from the bike tour on the picture on the left, and shown from our waterbus in the picture on the right) coordinates all vessel transportation and management of the Port and is located next to the Holland Amerika Line.

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The Holland Amerika Line (in the background), is a 1873-1989 cargo and transportation fleet originating at the Port, which took millions from Europe to America, including many persecuted European Jews before and during WWII.

 

2) Cultural Excursions and Immersions:

Generally, food in Rotterdam is high in carbohydrates, allegedly because foods high in carbs were needed for the working class during the formation of the country.  Similar dishes are eaten for breakfast and lunch in Rotterdam, consisting of bread (bagels) with toppings such as Dutch cheese.  Mashed potatoes is a meat common for dinner, and natural juices are a customary drink.  Many students commented that bottled water and juice were always served in a glass bottle with a separate glass to drink from.

De Rotterdamsche Oude is a Rotterdam-made cheese.  It was developed because Amsterdam cheese was being served at De Kuip, a famous Rotterdam sports stadium.  The stadium owners decided to develop their own cheese they could claim for the city.  This Rotterdam cheese can officially be called old if it has been aged more than 1 year.  Below is a typical Rotterdam Cheesehouse (or “Kashuis”), which includes the Rotterdam De Rotterdamsche Oude (old cheese).  A few of the students bought Dutch cheese to bring back to their families.

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Immigrant flows into Holland have given rise to various types of new restaurants and cuisines in the city, such as Spanish and Portuguese in the 1920s and 1930s, Turkish in the 1950s and 1960s, Moroccan in the 1970s and 1980s, and Polish today.  Residents of refugee camps established near Rotterdam during the Vietnam War have started numerous Vietnamese restaurants.  In addition, many Surinamese restaurants can be found in Rotterdam, because many people from the former Dutch colony of Surinam relocated to Rotterdam in 1975 after being granted independence.  Today, there are more Surinamese in the Netherlands than in Surinam.  There was a Surinamese restaurant across the street from our hotel which gained quite a bit of business from our group.

We experienced a South Holland Food Tour.  The first treat we pleasantly enjoyed was stroop, a famous Dutch cookie, made of caramel and waffles baked in a waffle iron.

 

Rotterdam’s newly renovated central train station, our destination point from Hamburg, was constructed in the square-mile area in the City Center district.  This area had been completely flattened during the Rotterdam Blitz, the surprise aerial attack by the German air force on May 14, 1940, that occurred in the midst of official German-Dutch negotiations and prompted immediate surrender by the Dutch government.  The Germans threatened to destroy Amsterdam next if the Dutch did not surrender, as the Germans wanted to gain immediate control over the integral Port of Rotterdam.  The Dutch were neutral in World War I, but were one of the first targets of the Germans in World War II.  Only 4% of buildings survived the Blitz.

The Church of St. Lawrence (seen below) is the only medieval building left in Rotterdam.  The photo immediately below shows the students near the statue of 16th century philosopher Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus.  Erasmus, considered the George Washington of Rotterdam, ironically lived a block away from the Church of Lawrence and was born during the initial construction phase of the church.

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St. Laurence church left standing after the Rotterdam Blitz (picture from Wikipedia)

 

Rotterdam’s modern architectural look exists only because of the Rotterdam Blitz.  One such modern building is the Markthal (Market Hall, see photo below), a public venue built in 2014 that has been called the food mecca of the Netherlands.  It contains 96 restaurants and 228 apartments.  Because Rotterdam was rebuilt after World War II with mostly office buildings, there tended to be a problem for businesses after the close of the workday due to the lack of activity.  Since the 1980s, new venues have been built with apartments and residential accommodations in mind.  The two student pictures below show Markthal from the outside (left) and looking at the roof (right).

 

The corporate tax rate in the Netherlands is lower than that of neighboring Germany and France, and many attribute this rate to the rise of Rotterdam as an affluent, global city during the past 20 years.  Many multi-national companies thrive in Rotterdam as a result, as long as their operations fit the Dutch culture.  The McDonalds below revised its typical American cookie-culture architecture to fit the Dutch style and has since won European awards for best architecture.  The popular cube houses shown below also have a modern look.

 

Several students had the opportunity to attend a Rotary meeting, which was another semi-formal event.  The presentation provided information about the how the Netherlands banking community fits into the global banking industry.  Again, the hosts were easily able to adapt so that the presenter accommodated us and presented in English instead of Dutch.

 

The traditional exchange of the Rotary flags was notable, since the creator of the Rotterdam Rotary flag was in attendance.  He chose to include a common Port vessel as their Rotary logo (he is the gentleman second to the right in the picture below).

 

The Rotary event was held at the local soccer stadium, home of the Excelsior professional team, which has been in existence since 1902.  The prominent grey building on the campus of Erasmus University overlooks the stadium, and can be seen in the picture below on the right.  A friendly staff member there allowed us access to the stadium and showed us their newly installed field turf.  Their stadium is the smallest of all professional soccer stadiums in the Netherlands.

 

The Windmills at Kinderdyk consist of 19 windmills built in 1738-1740, originally intended to pump the excessive amounts of water out of the local village into a reservoir.  Water from the Rhine River in Switzerland has long been a problem for the Dutch.  Today they pay €250 per family in taxes for water management.  It costs the country €5 Billion to manage the water supply.

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Bicycles are an important means of transportation for Dutch citizens, and the Dutch zest for innovation has translated into 2 million electric bikes being used in the country.  The Dutch Parliament has banned sales of petrol and diesel automobiles by 2025, so all vehicles sold in the country will be electric by that year.  The picture below on the bottom left shows a typical bike rack around the perimeter of a tree in social areas of the city to accommodate bicycle transportation.  The other pictures below are the bike repository below Central Station, where hundreds of thousands of bikes are kept.

 

We had the opportunity to visit the town of Delft, home of the Delft University of Technology.  Delft resembled a typical Dutch town, with its canals and quintessentially Dutch old buildings.

 

We had time to tour the town and its canals in the town center.  William of Orange lived there in 1572, and our guide showed us his statue.  William of Orange led the Dutch resistance in Delft against the Spanish in the Eight Year’s War.  The New Church, pictured below, was built in the 14th century.

 

3) History of Capitalism/Trade:

Water transportation is an important component of many harbor towns, and Rotterdam is no different.  We utilized a waterbus to get from point to point on our Port tour (seen in pictures below).

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Our Waterbus transportation from various points in the Port of Rotterdam

 

Erasmus University in Rotterdam features the internationally recognized School of Economics and School of History, Culture, and Communication.  One means of getting to Erasmus University and around the port is by water taxi, which is free for all college students attending school in Rotterdam.  We also had the opportunity to utilize water taxis to better get from place to place.

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Technological map of the Water Taxi system at the Port of Rotterdam

 

The glass house pictured below is a collaborative innovation between the City of Rotterdam and the Delft University of Technology, a University included in the top 20 of worldwide rankings of Engineering and Technology schools.  They grow their own plants in the greenhouse that is part of the house.  The house is a model for sustainable living.

Sustainability

 

Museumpark is a landmark in urban planning, created in 1927.  It is divided into four main zones for various functionalities and is similar in design to an American industrial park.  It allows for ease of museum hopping with logistical efficiency.  The New Institute Building in Museumpark specializes in urban design and architecture.

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Like the other modernizations of Rotterdam, Museumpark includes an underground walkway system for easy access to the various museums.

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Our hotel was next door to the Witte de Withstraat (named after Rotterdam’s 1871 Navy), a gentrified street of cafes and galleries that connects Museum Park to the Maritime Museum.

Like other aspects of its infrastructure, Rotterdam actively pursues modernization to help facilitate transportation in the city.  Parking meters are modern and electric energy stations are common on the streets.  The Rotterdam Climate Initiative is a comprehensive plan (which includes the Port) to turn the city green.  During the time of our visit, the US administration was in Europe and announced that the US is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Pact.

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1 of 1,800 electric car charging stations in the city near parking spots.

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A common smart parking meter in Rotterdam, which drivers can locate via GPS if they lose track of their vehicle.

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Phone charging devices are located conveniently at local establishments.

It was a jam-packed trip, full of different adventures.  One student’s smart device calculated that (even with all of the European transportation/logistics we utilized-such as trams, waterbuses, trains, subways, watertaxis, bikes, etc.) we walked at least 100 miles during the trip.  Much like the typical European, we got plenty of exercise simply by walking instead of driving from place to place.

I posted this on my Facebook page as a wrap-up to our travels:

We are in Rotterdam, Netherlands (after Munich, Prague, and Hamburg), the final leg of the Purdue University Study Abroad I coined “Purdue Polytechnic’s Central European Multinational Automobile Organization Supply Chain Experience”.  It’s been a jam-packed trip and if anybody has the time, check out my upcoming reports (blogs) for the rundown of each city’s excursions. Like I had hoped, as our final destination, Rotterdam has been the favorite city, as 8 out of 10 students indicated as such.

I would have never had the ability to put this trip together without first taking this plunge with Lambert Doll, when we did our best to figure out Dutch culture 20 years ago during our first trip to Europe. I appreciate how you were always up for an adventure, Lambert…you are missed dearly. So much on this trip reminded me of when we faced the same conundrums 20 years ago, such as how to get around, how to talk to locals, how much is appropriate gratuity, and so much more. Glad I can pay forward your zest for life to these ambitious students from Purdue University. 

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The third leg of the trip was to Hamburg, Germany, which is 305 miles from Prague.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 23% (World Bank) 

Hamburg has often been considered the most international of all German cities.  It has a notable history in trade dating back to the Middle Ages and is credited with helping to bring the Germanic region out of the Middle Ages because of its access to both import and export markets.  The city took the initiative in 1410 to draft a city constitution, known as “the first Rezeß”, which included dispute resolution policy and gave power of due process to citizens, which was a revolutionary civil liberty for the era.

The Hamburg-America line was a shipping company that was the world’s largest trans-Atlantic supply chain organization in the beginning of the twentieth century and known for its efficiency in operations.  Hamburg is central to much political historical change and chaos such as the 1923 Hamburg Uprising, a post-war plot to seize control of the city by Leon Trotsky-inspired local communists several years after the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German defeat in WWI, when hyperinflation and economic chaos were rampant.  Famous blockades of German ports such as the port of Hamburg have been integral to wartime strategies to prevent vital goods from getting into the country.

Today, the city is multicultural and has the highest percentage of international residents in Germany at 14% (LabourEconomics, 2012).  Hamburg is known as the global economic trading center of the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions and the regional hub of international trade (Hamburg Business Development Corporation, 2016), and is home to 40,000 official millionaires.  While Munich’s residents comprise a traditional 70% Catholic to 30% Protestant demographic, Hamburg’s residents comprise the opposite percentage (not counting recent immigrants).

1) Multinational Automobile and Supply Chain Tours:

The Port of Hamburg is the second largest port in Europe, 106 kilometers from the open sea.  The city is named the “Gateway to the World” by German citizens because of the vast trade volume facilitated by the port, including more than 9.73 million TEUs which pass through it annually.  The city has 2,500 total bridges (second only to New York), and many connect portions of the Port to the City.  The port has a rich history, beginning from May 1189, when Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa decreed that the Port be a customs-free zone for all merchants.  Smuggling products into East Germany through the port is credited as a rationale for the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the port saw a spike in business after the reunification of Germany and the fall of the Iron Curtain.  From 2000 to 2013, total trade grew by an average of 13% annually.  In 2015, the Port paired 45.8% of its services with rail (1,300 freight trains per week), 12.2% with inland water vessels, and 42% with trucking transportation of total hinterland traffic (Hamburg Port Authority, 2016).  Today, the Port’s main trading partners include China, Russia, Brazil, the US, and Norway.  Imports and exports are managed through a dense network of 120 liner services spanning the globe (Hamburg Port Authority, 2016).  The harbor’s birthday, which is observed during the first week of May in a festival called Hafengeburtstag, is one of the most celebrated cultural events of the year.

We learned that the container terminal area of the port can handle 20,000 foot containers, which is the largest type of container possible.  Yachts at the port cost €400 million.  We saw the 3 million TEU capacity Altenwerder Terminal, one of the most modern container terminals in the world.  Governmental action as it pertains to the port was also a focus because the relevancy of the port has increased and decreased over the centuries based on political decisions of the German government.

Our Port of Hamburg tour was by boat, which provided us enough speed to cover the massive port and its four modern container terminals.  We were fortunate to be able to see export cargo containers loaded onto transport vessels and import cargo loaded onto trains.  Dynamic supply chain capabilities allow the port to transport 138.2 million tons of goods per year.

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We visited the Prototyp Car Museum, whose aim is to convey passion for beautiful design and powerful engines (Hamburg Tourismus, 2017).  Racing and sports cars from the past and current century were presented, and technology enthusiasts are their target demographic.  Included were the Porsche Type 64, considered a forefather of all Porsche sports cars, and Formula One racing legend Michael Schumacher’s first official car (Hamburg Tourismus, 2017).  Several students drove the simulated orange Porsche shown below in a video game format.

 

During our various excursions in Hamburg, we had the opportunity to learn the logistics of their U-Bahn subway system.  One student in particular (Matt) took the initiative in helping our group on and off the various lines so that we could more efficiently find our destinations.  The system seemed a bit more technologically advanced than that of Munich, with screens inside the trains showing soccer scores and updates (as seen in one of the pictures below).

 

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Several students pointed out the Mercedes hippy van on the street.  Car brand/logo watching was a favorite pastime and differences in brands/logos were stark as we traveled from city to city.

 

2) Cultural Excursions and Immersions:

Our hotel was located on the campus of Hamburg University, which has an enrollment of over 42,000 and is located in the Harvestehude quarter of Hamburg, a historic area that does not allow buildings to rise above the level of the trees.  Hamburg University is the biggest research institution in Northern Germany and is often ranked as a global top 200 University by various ranking agencies.  During our stay, the students had the opportunity to hang out and chat with Hamburg University students.  The pictures below on the right show the campus and its various restaurants at night.

 

The Harvestehude quarter, where our hotel was located, is also near Außenalster Lake, and alongside a series of buildings first constructed by the German elite of the 19th century.  This area has recently experienced a green renaissance.  The picture below on the right promotes citizens to hike the Green Ring, which is a sustainable initiative put forth by Hamburg leaders that connects via hiking/jogging paths the majority of the city’s parks, gardens, recreational areas, and other destinations (Mishkov, 2016).  The goal is to make this area completely car-free by 2034 and to further promote public transportation.

 

As in many European countries, culture and societal values in Germany vary from region to region.  In fact, cultural characteristics should not be assumed to be the same in different regions of the same country.  For instance, the food of Northern Germany is different than the food of Southern Germany.  In Hamburg, carp is a favorite for Christmas and New Year’s meals.  Other popular cuisines include lobster soup, currywurst, savoy cabbage and duck and/or goose-related meals.  There is more of an emphasis on global spices and seasonings in Hamburg cuisine.  Many of the students commented that Hamburg’s food was much different than that of Munich, which seemed more stereotypically German.

Students can use their free time for any sort of experience and these are often the most rewarding times during these trips.  In most cities, student-initiated exploration during free-time often became a favorite part of the visit.  While we were in Hamburg, one student (Jake) had the opportunity to tour the facilities of the multinational aerospace manufacturer Airbus.

 

Hamburg hosts more than 100 consulates, the third largest number in any city (behind Hong Kong and New York City).  The US consulate in Hamburg, which we passed during a walk in the greenspace, was a great example of the 19th century upper-class Hanseatic architecture that was popular around our hotel.

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US Consulate to Hamburg, Germany

 

We also took a walking tour of the Historic City Center.  The picture below on the left shows the Four Seasons hotel with its green roof in the background and the 279 meter-high TV Tower to its right.  The photo on the right shows the exclusive Jungfernstieg urban promenade, a 600 meter-long shopping street, with the TV Tower to its right in the background.

 

The City Hall is home to the Senate and Parliament.  Most buildings were destroyed by Allied air raids during the end of World War II, but this building was lucky to only have minor damage.

 

Another local cultural excursion included attending a Hamburg Rotary meeting.  Rotary has a special significance in this city.  “The first Rotary Club in Germany was founded in 1927 in Hamburg; it was the first German city to bridge the divide to the United States since the First World War” (Rotary International, 2015).  Our meeting took place on the top floor of the Hafen Klub, which overlooks the Port of Rotterdam.  The speaker, Director of the Hamburg Planetarium Thomas Kraupe, is the former President of the International Planetarium Society and a world-renowned physicist who recently oversaw the modernization and new launch of the Hamburg Planetarium.  We were ready for a German language presentation, but soon found that he changed his presentation to English to accommodate us.  The hosts were very gracious and welcoming, and the food was excellent.  This was a semi-formal evening for everyone and a nice opportunity to enjoy German culture at its best.

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Hamburg Planetarium Director Kraupe compared the space-age quest for new information to the quest for trade in Hamburg’s earlier centuries.

 

Students were able to see the traditional cultural exchange of flags and were also fortunate to witness a newly loaded container vessel shipping off, which we saw out of our windows from above (seen below).

 

3) History of Capitalism/Trade:

Attached to the City Hall is the Stock Exchange Building, where the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce resides.  The building also houses the second oldest stock exchange in the world.  It began in 1558 and is younger only than London’s.  The photo below shows the Chamber of Commerce display of the Wapen Von Hamburg II vessel, a 1722 warship that was commissioned to accompany the lucrative Hamburg merchant ships and defend them from pirates.  After many successful voyages, pirates attacked the merchant ships that the Wapen Von Hamburg II protected Admiral Berend Jacobsen Karpfanger was able to fend off most of the pirates while the merchant ships got away, but was killed toward the end of the fight in heroic fashion.  His bravery in defense of Hamburg trade is depicted prominently in the Chamber of Commerce today.

 

The Port contributes to the profits of 7,300 organizations in the Hamburg city limits, many within Speicherstadt, or Hafen City, which is the world’s largest warehouse district.  It has recently been awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a designation of a location deemed to be of special significance, as the site has been called “a unique symbol of the rapid international growth of trade in the late 19th and early 20th century” (Deutsche Welle, 2016).  Speicherstadt was the first office-only section of a town in Europe (Deutsche Welle, 2015).  Nearby is the Speicherstadtmuseum, focusing on the history of the coffee trade and other notable industries.

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The Maritimes Museum in the newly gentrified Hafen City, the former warehouse district off the Port.  You can see the old cranes at the top of the building, which were utilized to lift goods from vessels below when it was originally built.

Also in Hamburg is the Beatles Hamburg voyage, which includes visits to the clubs where the Beatles first toured and sharpened their musical skills and synergies from 1960-1962 before they became famous in Liverpool, England.  Students found out why, after the city was bombed to rubble at the end of World War II, the Hamburg live music scene quickly became world-renowned and was receptive and influential to the Beatles’ style of music due to their port’s imports of global music. During this time, the locals had grown accustomed to American rock and roll because of access to imported records that they could buy locally via the Port of Hamburg.  They grew to enjoy and appreciate 1950s-style rock and roll artists such as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Bill Haley, and understood and paid money to see the similarly-styled Beatles in their local clubs.  The Beatles and the music-lovers of Hamburg were truly ahead of their time in the early 1960’s.  The venues in which the Beatles played live are located on the Reeperbahn, a famous street in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg.  

 

In the spirit of both the historic and modern Hamburg music scene, several students watched a progressive-metal live music show at the Knust music venue, a popular nightspot featuring indie bands and rock bands.

 

The historic Hamburg Stock Exchange, the building attached to the Town Hall (which the Chamber of Commerce now partially inhabits), was another interesting visit.  Founded in 1558 because of the progressive international trade in the city, it is the oldest stock exchange in Germany and the second-oldest in Europe behind London’s exchange.  The picture on the right shows the stone-carved city crests of the time to show respect for the major international trading partners of Hamburg in other parts of Europe and other continents.

 

As we learned from our tour of the BMW factory, automobiles produced in Germany are often transported and exported via train.  We had the opportunity to see this firsthand at a train station en route to Rotterdam (see below).

 

We also learned that there is often a carriage on European trains designated for those that want to work instead of chat.  The picture on the right shows the word “Silence” on the top part of the window, to signify the designation of this carriage as a work carriage for its passengers.

 

Several of us sought out a local restaurant “Boilerman Bar”, a popular establishment in the Hafen City district of Hamburg.

The second leg of the trip was to Prague, Czech Republic, 250 miles from Munich.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP) 27% (World Bank) 

The Czech Republic is the longtime industrial center of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.  More than 40% of its workers are employed in industry, which is well above the EU average and the highest of any country in Europe (EuroStat, 2016).  The reliance and emphasis on production can be partly credited to its historic and current proximity to markets.  The Czech Republic has one of the highest economic concentrations of GDP originating from automobile design, manufacture, and supply-chain in the world (Czech Invest, 2016).  A total of 54.2% of all exports are products related to the automotive industry (CZ, 2016).  In fact, the country supplies parts to every automobile manufacturer in Europe (Czech Ministry of Trade, 2016).  There are numerous automobile R&D and production centers in the Czech Republic, including Volkswagen (the owner of the Škoda automobile factory), Toyota, and Hyundai.  The automobile industry is credited with giving the country a high per-capita income as compared to its European peers.

1) Multinational Automobile and Supply Chain Tours:

The economic rise of the Czech Republic has been led by the automobile industry.  We had the opportunity to tour the massive Škoda Auto factory.  Škoda began in 1895 as a pressing plant that manufactured bicycles, and ten years later it began producing motorcycles.

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Škoda founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement outside of the factory

 

Since 2000, Škoda has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen.   Škoda cars are sold in 102 countries (under the Volkswagen name in America).  More than 1.1 million cars are sold worldwide, including daily production of 2,500 at the factory we toured.  During the German occupation, the factory was utilized for production of German military vehicles under the German automaker Ferdinand Porsche.  The factory was bombed in May 1945 by Allied air raids.

The company has gone through many successful eras, and students had the opportunity to inspect the engines of the 2018 models.

 

Like many Czech industries, Škoda went through massive management changes after the Velvet Revolution and the influx of privatization brought upon by the fall of communism.  During this phase, Volkswagen beat out French automaker Renault to win equity rights in Škoda.  The company also produces in India and was voted the most dependable car brand in the UK in 2015.  Currently, China is the #1 export market for Škoda.  60% of their products are transported via trains, and 40% via trucks.

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One of many Škoda logistics trucks

The factory tour allowed us a better understanding of their modern production process, particularly the design and production of their new 7-speed automatic-transmissions.  We had the opportunity to observe the press shop, the welding shop, and the final assembly hall.  We saw the 2,000 pound pressing power machines, which cost €55 million each.  We also got to see the 250 kilograms of excess metal waste for each vehicle, which gets recycled.  We learned about the welding process, which is completed at 950 degree temperatures, and is cooled within 5 seconds in order for the metal to harden appropriately.  85% of the welding process is automated, using 620 robots and 260 workers per shift.  Like the BMW factory, no photos were allowed during the tour.

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Students after Škoda tour, with our tour guide wearing orange

 

Škoda employs 21,000 workers at the factory, with an average age of 33.  Employees wear shirts based on their titles to better coordinate operations: green shirts are worn by managers, white shirts are worn by workers, and blue shirts are worn by temporary workers.  The factory utilizes constant production, with an overlap of 15 minutes in-between shifts. Škoda had the best first quarter in sales in company history in 2017, making €84.3 billion by selling more than 283,000 vehicles, an increase of 28% from the prior year, and was awarded the prestigious “Exporter of the Year” award in both 2015 and 2016 from the Czech Republic’s Economic Chamber.  Škoda Auto University nearby is the only company-owned University in the country and offers bachelors and masters degrees in logistics programs.

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Škoda’s innovation continues today, as they have developed various incarnations of electric bicycles.

 

A Toyota production facility employing 3,000 workers is located right outside of Prague, and production exceeds 300,000 automobiles annually.  This factory touts its environmentally-friendly vehicles and has been certified as ISO 14001:2004.  The company specializes in small vehicles and claims “modern safety and ecological technologies” as core production features.

Citizens weren’t allowed to buy automobiles from Western Germany during the communist era in Czechoslovakia, so no BMW or Mercedes-Benz were driven since they were manufactured there.  The car pictured below is called a Trabant.  It was produced in Eastern Germany and made of cheap plastic material.  They have been obsolete for awhile now; the one pictured below was just a novelty car used for advertising.

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Europeans know how to be mobile, and we jumped into this cultural phenomenon and learned about the logistics of getting from place to place.  Experiential learning is the best way to acquire knowledge, and we did just that as we maneuvered through train stations, trams, and buses.  Some of us were seated on the train leaving Prague next to a couple with a dog (seen in the picture in the bottom left below).  The train attendant informed them that they needed a €1 ticket for the dog.

 

2) Cultural Excursions and Immersions:

There is a venue in Prague containing the Munich Agreement document, a contract stipulating that Britain and France would cede the Sudetenland of the Czech Republic.  This agreement occurred with unacknowledged Czech protests and is seen as a low point in the history of the country.  Prague was the last democracy to govern in Eastern Europe, but in 1948, the country became communist and found itself under the authoritarian rule of the USSR for more than 40 years.  In 1968, reformists galvanized efforts to allow freedom of the press and other reforms until the USSR deployed 200,000 troops to storm the country and crush the rebellion.  The Velvet Revolution was a non-violent shift to capitalism and democracy, that started as a student protest in November 1989 on International Students’ Day, leading to a non-violent era of political upheaval which ultimately led to the first elections since 1946 in June 1990, that overturned the one-party communist system.  Students have taken an active role in shaping Prague.  Since Charles University in Prague is a public higher education institution, it is free for all Czechs.

St. Wenceslas Square, the historic center of Prague and a World Heritage Site, has been the epicenter of all the major political protests, speeches, and demonstrations over the years, from the Proclamation of Independence in 1918 to events in the German occupation, to communism, and now capitalism.  We spent quite a bit of social time there.  It was first established in 1348 as a horse market.

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St. Wenceslas Statue at St. Wenceslas Square

 

St. Wenceslas Square also includes the famous Charles Bridge, first constructed in 1357 during the reign of King Charles IV, who also founded the first University in the city.  Our tour guide (below, in green) mentioned that when she was young, there used to be thousands of statues of Lenin and Stalin throughout Czechoslovakia, including the schools.  Our tour guide was expelled from law school in the 1980’s because her father was an advocate for Democratic reform.

 

Politických vězňů  (Political Prisoners’ Street) commemorates the brave citizens who were imprisoned for their political beliefs, in most cases under communist rule (below).  Political Prisoners’ Street (below) served as the Prague Gestapo (German) headquarters during World War II, and many local Czech citizens were held here and interrogated.  Anyone speaking out or leading a campaign could be labeled as an enemy of the state.

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Political Prisoners’ Street

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Gestapo headquarters on Political Prisoners’ Street

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Students viewpoint of Prague atop the gothic chapel in the Old Town Hall, which includes the famous astronomical clock at the base.

 

The New Town area of Prague, first built up in 1348, is also home to the Museum of Communism, which provides an overview of the recent history of political freedoms in the Czech Republic.  The current freedoms enjoyed by the citizens have been hard fought, which we saw via documentary video, and have resulted in the capitalistic prosperity that the citizens now enjoy.  Ironically, the museum is currently located next door to a McDonalds, which to many symbolizes global capitalism, as depicted in the picture below on the right.

 

Operation Anthropoid was a Czech code name for a plot to assassinate key leaders of the Nazi occupiers in Prague in May 1942, in conjunction with British special operations and the Czech government in exile.  The Czechs successfully killed a major Nazi leader, which drew forceful German retaliation, including the killing of 5,000 Czech political leaders.  750 German troops pursued the leaders of Operation Anthropoid to St. Cyril Church where they had been secretly taking refuge.  After two hours of gunfire, the plotters committed suicide.  The photo below shows flowers and wreaths that are laid at the battle scene in commemoration of these brave Czechs today.

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Flowers at St. Cyril church

 

Czechs enjoy their sports, and oftentimes sports is shown on televisions at hotels and local establishments.  The International Ice Hockey Federation’s playoffs were being played during our stay, which garnered much local attention because the Czech Republic team made the semifinals.  The NBA playoffs were in the conference finals during the trip, but I didn’t notice any games or highlights being played.  No hint of baseball either.

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Popular sports in the Czech Republic include soccer, ice hockey, and tennis.  Ice hockey was broadcast prominently during our time there.

 

prague

 

3) History of Capitalism/Trade:

The Czech Republic was one of the most affluent countries in Europe until communist rule took over.  Since the Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic has dived into capitalism and international trade.  Today, the country boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU.  After joining the EU in 2004, its global competitiveness has made it the heart of many European global networks.  The economy grew from less than $50 billion GDP in 1989 to over $200 billion today.  The Czech Republic’s first modern democratic/capitalist leader, Václav Havel, is credited with redirecting its economy after playing a key role in the Velvet Revolution.

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Václav Havel statue

 

The Havel Market, in Old Town (seen below), has been a public market since 1232, when it was first established as a medieval settlement for trading food.  We had the opportunity to stroll through Old Town, which still operates as a food market.

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The Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour of Prague and the Museum of Communism are both relevant examples of how the limitations and suppression of the old communist regime set back the production capabilities of the country for much of the twenty-first century.  While the country was the center of production for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the advent of communism thwarted much of the usual production capabilities.  This tour highlights relevant communist and capitalist moments between the 1940’s and the Velvet Revolution, including information related to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s coordinated assassinations of capitalist leaders in Prague during the 1950’s.  The bunker could hold 150 people for 2 weeks.  The VIP Hotel above the bunker was for notable communist political leaders from around the region.  An escape tunnel went to Wenceslas Square 15 meters away.  One of the pictures below shows a map with the various nuclear bombs in Czechoslovakia pointed West, along with the points of the various Communist armies.  We were allowed to play with the 1950’s-era communist spy equipment developed by Czech technology experts, wear communist military garb, and hold 1950’s-era guns.

 

Cooks weren’t used to using fresh ingredients in the communist days so fresh food is not common and the culture does not have a history of restaurants and eating out.  Soup (polevka), beef sirloin with gravy/boiled sausage/ketchup/mustard on a roll (the Czech rohlík), and goulash/meat stew with white rice are all common.  The students tended to enjoy Czech cuisine the most out of any other food.

beef

Bohemian Beef Goulash (student picture)

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Czech kielbasa (sausage)

ice cream

Students especially seemed to enjoy the Czech ice cream (student picture)

 

The Czechs have been at the forefront of computer technology, even during the Communist era when the USSR commissioned the Czechs to research new developments in computerization.  Famous computer pioneer, Czech Antonín Svoboda, developed and produced the SAPO computer in the late 1950s.  The Czechs were the only country in Eastern Europe to utilize computers in its Universities.  Technology created in Western Europe was off-limits during the communism era, and Apple products didn’t arrive in the country until 1993 (Miller, 2013).  However, the love of computers skyrocketed in the years following.  In tribute to the love of computers, Apple decided to locate its museum in the heart of Old Town.  The museum is the only one of its kind, and displays almost every Apple products ever made, and is a tribute to late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

IMG_4072

The largest collection of Apple products, from 1976 to 2012 (containing 472 exhibits), displays capitalism and innovation at its finest.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 23% (World Bank) 

Munich is both a cultural hub, as the center of Oktoberfest, and the economic engine/high-tech center of Germany.  The city boasts an advanced public transportation network and world-renowned infrastructure, which is partially credited for its  supply chain capabilities.  President Eisenhower observed the German transportation infrastructure as a General in World War II and used it as an inspiration for the Interstate Highway System program of the 1950s.  Students had the opportunity to learn about the efficiency of the U-Bahn (subway) as a method of getting from place to place.  We used the subway dozens of times to help us get from place to place.

screen-ubahn

Typical screen at the U-bahn (subway) stations

Subway

Students on the Munich U-Bahn (Subway)

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Students entering a Munich tram

1) Multinational Automobile and Supply Chain tours:

The City of Munich (2016) website states that “In terms of turnover and the number of employees, automotive engineering is the single most important branch of industry in the Munich Metropolitan Region”.

Germany is the leading country in the EU in automobile production and has been called the world’s automotive innovation hub (Germany Trade & Invest, 2016).  Bavaria, the Southern region of Germany of which Munich is the largest city, claims 180 Tier 1-4 automobile suppliers.  Factories for Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Opel (GM), Audi, and BMW are located there.  Bavaria boasts “modern solutions for sophisticated requirements in supply chain management of automobile manufacturers” (Invest in Bavaria, 2016).  The City of Munich (2016) states that “400 automotive companies employ around 128,500 people” in the city and “The entire value chain is based in this region, including everything from research and development through production to the supply industry.”  In fact, Munich University offers a popular bachelor’s degree in Automotive Engineering and Management.

BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) is a German automaker known for quality vehicles and value-added components.  They have embraced responsibility to the environment through green manufacturing, which reduces landfill requirements  paired with a water conservation initiative, saving 9.5M gallons of water each year across their global facilities.  One of the many quality initiatives in place at BMW is the usage of methane gas to power factory turbines, which supplies 50% of total energy demands for the company.  BMW was one of the first organizations in the automotive industry to earn the prestigious ISO: 14001 certification (BMW Manufacturing Co., 2017).  BMW’s global supply chain includes 30 industrial sites in 14 countries on 4 continents and includes 13,000 suppliers in 70 countries (BMW Group, 2017).

We toured the BMW factory and observed the behind-the-scenes production of this world-renowned automobile from press works to assembly.  The museum/showroom displayed many innovative products.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the factory, although we learned quite a bit about their manufacturing process.  This state-of-the-art facility gave us a close-up view of the Press Shop, Body Shop, Paint Shop, Engine Shop,  Production of Interior Equipment and Seats, and Assembly.  The factory produces 222,000 vehicles per year (of 2,367,600 vehicles worldwide, or 5th of their 14 worldwide plants) and encompasses 400,000 square meters, making it the second-largest BMW factory behind the factory located in South Carolina.  Unlike in America, rail is the most common mode of transport of vehicles from the factory to vendors.

We had the opportunity to learn about and observe the following:

  • 16 variations of vehicle body frames for the 2018 product lines
  • differences in vehicles made for the Japanese, UK, and American markets
  • the automation of 850 robots during the welding process
  • the paint shop (environmentally friendly water-based paints) including BMW’s 16 official standardized colors
  • production of their 3, 4, 8, and 12 cylinder engines (their 2,000-employee team produces 3,300 4 cylinder engines/day)
  • air jet cleaning for a dust-free surface before painting
  • automated Excel table recording production in real time (called automatiktabelle)
  • brake inspection process after assembly

The factory is currently exploring a new production digitization process including 3D-printing capabilities and an innovative data matrix code to trace individual parts for defects.

maserati

Students peering into a Maserati dealership in Munich.  Paying attention to the different brands of cars in a country is a great way of learning about their automobile culture.  No pickup trucks in Europe.

Learning about the Munich University of Applied Science auto club’s endeavors and their Automotive bachelor’s degree.  They entered a driver-less car in a race this year for a club project.

2) Cultural Excursions and Immersions:

We partook of numerous activities.  We had a chance to see the Royal Palace.  First constructed in 1385, the Royal Palace is the largest city palace in Germany and was formerly home to Bavarian monarchs.  It was reconstructed after being damaged during World War II, when 85% of the buildings in Munich were destroyed.  Some German cities established commissions to determine how to rebuild after World War II, and while some such as Frankfurt chose to rebuild in a modern fashion, Munich chose to study old photographs and rebuild its old town area to replicate the original design, which includes the Royal Palace and other relics of the city’s historic center.  The Munich Town Hall in Marienplatz, where the mayor and city council conducts business, also suffered damage during Allied air raids in 1944, was later rebuilt in the same style.

City Hall

Munich Town Hall in Marienplatz

In February 2017, the NATO Security Conference was held in Munich at the grandiose Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich.  This meeting was especially important because Vice President Mike Pence delivered an important speech discussing the current administration’s policy on NATO, seemingly on the heels of comments by Donald Trump proclaiming NATO to be “obsolete” during the campaign season.

NATO

Bayerischer Hof hotel

The Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich was also host to frequent guest Michael Jackson, who could often be seen walking around the nearby shopping area somewhat undisturbed.  In tribute to his love of Munich, the locals dedicated a monument outside the hotel to his memory.  One stipulation of the monument was that it has to look kept-up, and the flowers need to be in bloom.

MJ

Memorial to frequent Munich visitor Michael Jackson

Bavarian cuisine, inspired by the Bavarian dukes of the Wittelsbach family, was originally intended to be for the refined and only for royalty and includes bratwursts, German potatoes, sauerkraut, warm red cabbage salad, veal, and German pretzels.  These foods increased in availability over time as common people started making money.  Today, these foods are especially popular during the Biergarten season, which starts in May and lasts until Oktoberfest.  Of course, trying new foods is an important part of learning about new cultures.

pretzel.JPG

The popular image of Germany (bratwurst, lederhosen, pretzels, etc.) comes from Oktoberfest.  Oktoberfest originated in 1810, when King Ludwig I celebrated his wedding by inviting Munich’s citizens to eat and drink with the Royal Family.  In this same spirit, we had dinner at the Hofbrauhaus, founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria.  The general public was admitted in 1828, and it formerly served as the royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria.  Today it is owned by the state of Bavaria.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest Night in Munich’s Hofbräuhaus

Dachau Concentration camp was the first concentration camp in Germany and was a model for subsequent German camps as well as Joseph Stalin’s gulags.  It was constructed for initial purposes of holding German and Austrian political dissidents after the prisons became overcrowded in March 1933.  Many prominent politicians were sent there.  It eventually took in Soviet prisoners and also served as a concentration camp for more than 10,000 Jewish men.  More than 4,000 political dissidents were killed there, which was against the Geneva Convention.  After it was liberated by the Americans, it was used by the Allies to hold SS guards awaiting trial and as a military base until 1960.  Its official records totaled 206,206 prisoners.

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Dachau Concentration Camp- “Work Sets You Free”

creamatorium

Students in front of the crematorium

accomodations

Students in front of the restored prisoner accommodations

Munich is home to many multinational industrial operations, and more than 90,000 students attend its Universities.  Purdue University and the Munich University of Applied Science, the second largest Applied Science college in the country, are strategic partners with transfer agreements and a history of collaborations.  We had the opportunity to take a tour of their campus and learn about how their system of education works.  Public Universities are free for all citizens in Germany.  We found that their bookstore also serves as a cafe, so that students can use textbooks and return them thereafter.  We also learned that oftentimes, students freely drink beer in class.

The best experiences are often unplanned.  During one of many student-led outings, the students met and hung out with a nice fellow, who happened to be CEO of an influential multinational supply chain consulting company based in Munich.

CEO.JPGCEO-here

3) History of Capitalism/Trade:

Soaring over the city is the 290 meter high Olympic Tower at Olympia Park.  This area witnessed much economic development after 1966 when the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1972 games to Munich.  Olympia Park became a case study in how sporting events can be a catalyst for both urban development and private economic development.  The announcement of the 1972 Olympics in Munich set a precedent that the Super Bowl committee adheres to today, as plans are solicited for gentrification and other urban economic development in advance and economic development initiatives are intended to coincide with the event.  The ’72 Games included the infamous Munich massacre, in which eleven Israeli Olympians were taken hostage and killed.

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Students in-between the Olympic Tower (left) and the Olympic Village (right)

“In 2012 Munich and its region was ranked at an exceptional second place in the European Regional Economic Growth Index (E-REGI) among nearly 326 competitors from 33 countries in Europe (Colliers International, 2016)”.  Munich has the has the highest per capita income in Germany, and many attribute this affluence to the US influence in its economy during the Cold War.  The German Patent and Trademark Office established its headquarters in Munich in 1959, and has spawned many successful multinational organizations originating in Munich.  The building in the background of the picture below is that of Siemens AG, the largest manufacturing/electronics company in Europe, headquartered in Munich.

Max

Students in front of the Statue of Maximilian I of Bavaria.

Of course, soccer is the most popular sport in Europe.  FC Bayern Munchen, the local team, was ranked #4 on the Forbes list of most valuable soccer organizations, valued at $2.7 Billion.  This value was enhanced after a 10-year deal with German-based Adidas as the official athletic apparel of the company.  One subway exit we sought out was near the massive stadium.  One student bought apparel, including the popular team scarf worn by fans across Europe.

crest

Trip Abstract:

In this Study-Abroad option for fulfilling the Globalization Experience Requirement, Purdue University Polytechnic Statewide students will participate in a multifaceted Central European Multinational Automobile Organization Supply Chain Experience.  They will tour the BMW factory and operations in Munich, Germany; the Volkswagen facility in Prague, Czech Republic; the second-largest European port in Hamburg, Germany; and the largest European port in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  Students will also participate in tours in those cities based on two themes: Cultural Immersions and the History of Capitalism/Trade.  As part of the course requirements, students will select one automobile organization and write a consulting report recommending how its European supply chain should be integrated into its corporate leadership strategy during the upcoming years.

Rationale:

The statewide automobile industry and its supply chain have become very important to the Indiana economy.  Millions of dollars have been pouring in to current and new multinational automobile production facilities from manufacturers such as Honda, which invested $52 million in its Indiana factory in 2016 alone (Indianapolis Star, 2016); Subaru, which invested $540 million in its Indiana factory during the past four years (Auto News, 2015); and Toyota, which has invested more than $4 billion total in its Indiana facility (Toyota Pressroom, 2015).  In fact, the number of automobile-related industrial jobs in Indiana is an astounding 459% of the national average.  More than 500 automobile-related organizations operate in Indiana (IEDC Automotive Council, 2016), in addition to all the companies directly or indirectly affected by the automobile supply chain in the state.  Truly, the Hoosier economy’s health is especially affected by the global automobile industry.  Given the importance of this industry to Indiana’s economy, Purdue Polytechnic students have the best chance to leverage these opportunities as they shift into their careers.

The European Commission published a report in 2005 revealing that the EU is the world’s leading automotive manufacturing region, with more than 1/3 of all automobiles manufactured in the world within member countries (Economy Watch, 2010).  North Central Europe in particular is notable for its history of manufacturing and today is the epicenter of the European automobile production and supply chain for the continent.  Further, eight of the top twenty EU regions with the highest number of persons employed within the manufacturing sector in 2012 were in Germany (Economy Watch, 2010).  Germany’s influence in the global automobile industry is not relegated to the European market, as it boasts 110 companies operating in Indiana, with more than 12,000 employees (Indiana.gov, 2016).  Many of these companies are related to automobile supply-chains and all impact the Indiana economy.  The North Central region of the EU, including Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands, mirrors Indiana’s geography in the US, because of its location and efficient access to markets and infrastructure, as well as being home to thriving multinational automobile organizations and their supply chains.

Another unique aspect of North Central Europe is its political history.  Central Europe has witnessed dramatic shifts in styles of governments in a relatively short amount of time, and those evolutions have had dramatic effects on every aspect of the lives of the region’s citizens.  The chaotic nature of the changes in governmental structures in this region over the past several generations has had a major influence on capitalism/trade and the automobile supply chain.  We will visit many significant sites in the four cities on the trip that will provide firsthand insight into the history of capitalism and trade in this region.

Pedagogy:

Of the 10 key elements of Purdue Polytechnic’s unique learning environment announced in 2015, five are strongly incorporated into this Study Abroad experience

  • Modernized teaching methods
  • Learning in context
  • Integrated humanities studies
  • Global/cultural immersions
  • Faculty-to-student mentorship

The following disciplines are areas taught in the Purdue Polytechnic by the host in face-to-face, distance, and graduate classes.  They will be examined on this trip, and information related to these areas of study will be integrated throughout.

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Micro/Macro Economics
  • Organizational Change
  • International Management
  • Quality Production
  • Global Marketing
  • Industrial Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Meeting Management

Purdue Polytechnic’s transformation of the undergraduate learning experience includes the “integration of topics and team teaching in the humanities that “enrich our students’ understanding of historical, contemporary and future technology in society” and the “integration of topics and team teaching in the humanities and other disciplines that foster critical thinking and logic”.  In fulfillment of these worthy aims, the 1) Cultural Excursions/Immersions and 2) Political History of Capitalism/Trade aspects of this program directly integrate those objectives.

Being able to respect other cultures even though you may not understand them completely is an important ingredient in success of international organizations.  Cultural awareness and global organizational success are directly linked, and the globalization of the Indiana automobile industry and its impact on the statewide economy necessitates the need for Hoosiers to respect and understand other cultures.  Firsthand experiences in adapting to other cultures will facilitate the success of future Indiana employees in today’s global economy, even if that person never again leaves the state of Indiana.

For instance, food and cuisine play a big role in organizational relationships.  As such, a key component of the cultural excursions will be tours and insight related to local food and regional cuisine.  The food of a region provides a link to history, culture, common bonds, and social relationships.  We will experience a variety of local foods through guided tours and restaurant-hopping journeys through the cities in which we will travel.

Students will also experience formal cultural events, including attending and dining at local Rotary International meetings.  Rotary International is a global service organization with more than 34,000 clubs worldwide intended to “provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world”.  Students will attend breakfast, lunch, or dinner meetings and dine and converse with Rotarians in the local community so that they may truly engage with others in their own natural environment and gain an enriched perspective of the local culture.  During this process, students will exchange official Indiana Rotary flags with local clubs, as the host has done in previous trips.  The preparation for these visits and the teaching of appropriate etiquette in advance will allow for much student-faculty mentorship and learning in context.  For instance, these meetings will highlight the need to learn a few words in the local language as a show of respect to the local culture.  It will also show students how to manage and lead a meeting because they will witness firsthand how the various Rotary meetings are conducted.

Another theme of this Study Abroad program is political history, political leadership, and their effect on capitalism/trade, with a specific focus on historical sites and governmental actions which have had major impacts on local economies and the local automobile supply chain.  There are many rich, significant sites in these cities that will give students firsthand insight related to the history of capitalism and trade in each city.

The past several generations have witnessed notable events and locales in which political events have shaped the destiny of capitalism.  Central Europe has witnessed dramatic shifts in styles of governments, and those evolutions have had dramatic effects on every aspect of the lives of the citizens.  For instance, the importance of basic port access and port control and their relation to economic viability will be highlighted because history has proven that the control of ports is of key importance in both wartime and peacetime.  Jurisdiction over the goods that go through ports during wartime dictates major military advantages, and efficient management over the operations of the port during peacetime dictates economic health and enhances local supply chains.

The trip will also be sponsored in part by a grant from the Terre Haute Human Relations Commission, in which the host serves as a Mayor-appointed Commissioner as well as the department secretary.  The TH HRC sponsored the host’s participation in a Humanities conference during his 2014 trip to Europe, as well as a tour of a German concentration camp for political prisoners during the 2016 trip.  After both experiences, the host reported back to the organization thereafter.  In addition, several trip excursions have been graciously financed by Purdue Polytechnic Anderson and Purdue Polytechnic Richmond.  Downtown Terre Haute Rotary International also sponsored an event.  Further, the host is appreciative of Purdue University’s Intercultural Pedagogy Grant and SAIL grant, which offsets the cost of the trip for students.

The trip will also provide material for the host’s ongoing international industry blog/journal (jimtanoos.wordpress.com), which is used for in-class instruction and to enhance Purdue Polytechnic students’ understanding of globalization.  The blog was created in 2014 by which he presented at seven different European conferences.  The blog contains descriptions of successful multinational production operations from each of the seven cities in which the host presented in 2014.  The blog continued in 2016 with experiences from four academic conferences in four European cities in which the host presented his new research.

In Paris, France at the Third European Academic Research Conference on Global Economics, presenting my research paper, “Beyond NAFTA: Concluded Regional and Bilateral US free trade agreements (FTA’s) and an assessment of trends in trade with their new partners”

and presenting “Leadership Succession in Multinationals: Case studies and evidence” as an invited lecturer.

Fact about the paper:  This study assessed trends in trade for recently completed US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners in order to determine the merits of domestic industrial faction claims that FTA’s hurt overall US exports.  The study found that the US has not only witnessed the predicted increases in imports after the FTA went into effect, but has also witnessed comparably more success in exporting to new FTA countries in the immediate aftermath of a successfully concluded FTA.  This evidence should better substantiate the claim of the recent presidential administration and economists that “made-in-America-exports” would benefit as a result of the successful negotiation of a new US FTA.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 11% (World Bank)

Country’s most Important Industries: machinery, aircraft, nuclear energy

Economic Freedom ranking: #75

WWII fact:  The French Resistance, the underground movement that fought against German occupation from 1940-1944, included economic attempts to thwart the Germans, including the striking of workers from the national coal company, Charbonnages de France.  The goal was to cause difficulties for German industrial plants operating in France.

Conference Certification

This conference has been certified by leading global accreditation institution on the selected criteria “Technical & Scientific”.  After my paper was accepted to the conference, I was further honored when asked to be an invited lecturer to make a special presentation from a 2012 research paper published in the International Journal of Human Resource Studies.

Conference Marketing Caption

Conference Marketing Caption

Presentation to Invited Lecturer of Traditional Indian Scarf

Presentation to Invited Lecturer of Traditional Indian Scarf

France joined the Euro-zone in 1999.  The country is currently an economic leader of the EU and has political clout in dealing with potential crises.  France is considered a secular country and a major internal focus on the country is to integrate a comparably high Muslim population.  France experiences greater unemployment and government spending as compared to its European counterparts, including high tax rates of up to 34.3% for some companies.

The Paris inter-city rapid transit network is renowned for it’s density of kilometers and number of lines within the central city region.  The subway system, or metropolitan (metro), posted enlarged maps of the various lines on the walls outside of the trains, but contained no maps of the various lines inside the train (see below).  However, the metro included a very handy sequence of lights that lit up depicting distance traveled along the line.  That made traveling along the line more understandable.

Inside the Paris metro

Inside the Paris metro

Paris metro at Anvers stop

Paris metro at Anvers stop

The second most noteworthy soccer tournament behind the World Cup is the Euro Cup, which is played every four years among the European countries.  France was the host for the 2016 Euro Cup.

A soccer venue

A soccer venue

Paris has been called the cultural hub of Europe, and the health of the French economy has come to rely on tourism.  The Euro Cup was a boon for tourism, and drew 1.5 million fans from around the world, generated 1.3 billion Euros to the domestic economy, and created 104,000 total jobs (France Diplomatie, 2016).  However, this was the first year that the tournament was played while on heightened alert due to tensions related to recent terrorist attacks in Europe.  As such, the security was beefed up.  Note the armed guard within eyesight of one of the entry ways to a public viewing Euro Cup venue.  Over 90,000 security personnel were expected to be employed for the tournament.

Armed Security Guard in background

Armed Security Guard in background

National pride has been especially strong in France since the coordinated terrorists attack in Paris on November 13, 2015 that killed 130.  This has translated into sponsorship increasing by 40% as compared to prior Euro Cups (Forex, 2016).

French Sponsor of Euro Cup

French Sponsor of Euro Cup

Paris is very much known for their relaxed neighborhood cafe scene.  Generally, soccer is viewed publicly in this culturally prominent atmosphere.

Typical soccer viewing

Typical soccer viewing

But since the Euro Cup tournament was hosted by France and played in various venues throughout the country, demand and interest were extremely strong, prompting the city of Paris to coordinate various public viewing venues.

Public Viewing venue

Public Viewing venue

On a side note, I was a day away from the terrorist attack at Ataturk airport in Istanbul coming to France from Bulgaria.  Over 1.2 million tons of freight flows through this airport annually, which has seen a spike in cargo in recent years.  In 2013, a 10,500 square mile cargo hub was built to accommodate increased traffic of goods (Manners-Bell et al., 2014).  Turkey has positioned itself as a supply chain and logistics facilitator due to it’s geographic influence in-between Asia and Europe.  Historically, trade between the Middle East and Europe went through Turkey.

Ataturk Airport Cargo tour

Ataturk Airport Cargo tour

 

Rotterdam, Netherlands (Study Abroad planning)

Rotterdam is a progressive, multicultural city whose mayor is the first in the country to be an immigrant, a Muslim no less.  New Economy (2016) noted that “Rotterdam has embraced innovation and experimental programs in order to develop into one of the world’s most sustainable cities.”  The city has been chosen as the host of the 2025 World Expo, an international conference which addresses major global issues.  It’s been stated that “people were drawn to the city because of its new smooth running transportation networks” in the past several generations (Rotterdam Marketing, 2016).  The New York Times included Rotterdam as a “Place to Go” (New York Times, 2014) and it was named one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet.  The city is quickly becoming a hot tourist destination, with overnight stays in hotels going up by 14% in 2014 (Economische Verkenning Rotterdam, 2016).

The Netherlands employs the least percentage of its citizens in manufacturing of all European nations (European Union Eurostat, 2016), but serves as a supply chain epicenter.  The Port of Rotterdam, which we will tour, is the largest port in Europe, and an integral cog in the European supply chain.  It handles more cargo than any American port.  The port currently boasts “safety, accessibility and sustainability” as key priorities (Port of Rotterdam, 2016).  We will learn about key components of “Port Vision 2030” as outlined by their leadership team.  The port recently received a loan of 900 million Euros by the European Investment bank due to the need for increased capacity, and has been labeled by the EIB as a “vital organ” of the European region (European Investment Bank, 2015).  One modern usage of the Port includes the Innovation dock, a group of intermodal manufacturing workspace occupied by young entrepreneurs wishing for improved supply chain access for their products.   The innovation dock first came about several decades ago by Van Gelder, who created the Innovation Dock area along with a community of houses and residential spaces behind it so workers didn’t have to travel far for work.  It was the first known community to offer pensions around the world.

Innovation Dock at Port of Rotterdam

Innovation Dock at Port of Rotterdam

Den Hartough, Liquid Logistics Carrier entering the Port

Den Hartough, Liquid Logistics Carrier entering the Port

The Port sees 315.2 million metric tons of incoming throughput every year and 129.6 million metric tons of outgoing throughput every year.  Automation and technology are constantly being upgraded.  Cranes often pick up and unload containers; only 50,000 of 19 million containers are scanned in full.

Port of Rotterdam Crane

Port of Rotterdam Crane

Generally, food in Rotterdam is high in carbohydrates which is said to have evolved because foods high in carbs were needed for the working class during the formation of the country.  Similar dishes are eaten for breakfast and lunch in Rotterdam, consisting of bread (bagels) with toppings such as Dutch cheese.  Mashed potatoes with a meat dish is common for dinner, and natural juices tend to be a customary drink.

Immigrant flows into Holland have given rise to the types of restaurants opening for business.  This trend included Spanish and Portuguese in the 1920s and 1930s, Turkish restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s, Moroccan restaurants in the 1970s and 1980s, and Polish restaurants today.  Residents of refugee camps established near Rotterdam during the Vietnam War have started lots of Vietnamese restaurants.  Many Surinamese restaurants are found in Rotterdam, because many from Surinam relocated to Rotterdam in 1975 after being granted independence from the Dutch in which they were previously a colony.

Popular Surinamese Restaurant

Popular Surinamese Restaurant

Markthal (Market Hall, see photo below) is a public venue built in 2014 that has been called the food mecca of the Netherlands.  It contains 96 restaurants and 228 apartments.  Whereas Rotterdam was rebuilt after World War II with mostly office buildings, there tended to be a problem for businesses after the close of the workday due to the lack of activity, so since the 1980s, new venues have been built with apartments and residential accommodations in mind.

Markthal in Rotterdam

Markthal in Rotterdam

Near Rotterdam’s newly renovated central train station are sites constructed in the square-mile area in the city’s once-thriving commercial district which was completely flattened during the Rotterdam Blitz, a surprise aerial attack by the German air force on May 14, 1940 that occurred in the midst of official German-Dutch negotiations and prompted immediate surrender by the Dutch government.  The Blitz was a catalyst for a change in British bombing policy that led to banning the bombing of any civilian-industrial areas.  Below is a picture of City Hall, which survived the Blitz other than a few bullet holes from German gunmen, which still can be seen in the structure today.

Rotterdam City Hall with German bullet holes

Rotterdam City Hall with German bullet holes

Erasmus University in Rotterdam features the internationally recognized School of Economics and School of History, Culture, and Communication.  One means of getting to Erasmus University and around the port is through a water taxi, which is free for all college students attending school in Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Water Taxi

Rotterdam Water Taxi

In Elenite, Bulgaria at the Materials, Methods, and Technologies International Conference, presenting my research paper, “Assessing China’s Bilateral and Regional Free Trade Agreements in Steel Exports:  A more useful strategy for the industrialized world in fighting FTA’s than filing WTO anti-dumping grievances”

Fact about the paper: The past few years have seen sharp increases in Chinese steel exports, leading to heightened protectionist practices within the US and the EU.  This study analyzed the merits of these anxieties by analyzing the direction of Chinese steel to determine if Chinese steel is flowing to their FTA partners moreso or to developed countries without FTA’s in place.  The study finds that that regional Chinese trade partners have imported more steel exports than their bilateral partners and as such, there could be an economic rationale for China’s non-FTA partners to negotiate new, mutually beneficial FTA’s.

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP) xx% (World Bank)

Country’s most Important Industries: IT, telecommunications, textiles, transportation

Economic Freedom ranking: #60

WWII fact:  Bulgaria were on the side of the Axis powers for 3 1/2 years until they were overtaken by the Red Army, in which time they switched allegiances to the Allies.

Session Schedule

IMG_2120

Conference Presentation

Conference Presentation

The country was communist and under the rule of the USSR from the end of World War II until the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.

Bulgaria borders the Black Sea on its east and is otherwise bordered by other countries in Europe, which are generally less economically viable than other European countries.  The beach area was first created in 1958 by the communists and was not open to the public.  Bulgaria derives much of its economy on trade associated with the Black Sea and is a member of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation.

Black Sea

Black Sea

Because of the Russian-sponsored project transporting natural gas to Bulgaria via the Black Sea (the South Stream gas transit pipeline), many sunken, medieval pirate ships have been discovered.

Pirate Ship

Black Sea Pirate Ship

Prague, Czech Republic (Study Abroad planning)

Country Manufacturing Value-Added (% of GDP): 27% (World Bank)

Country’s most Important Industries: energy, automobiles & automobile components, electrical engineering, machining

Economic Freedom ranking: #21

WWII fact:  Prague was the only Central European capital to avoid the bombs of the last century’s wars and is one of Europe’s best-preserved historical cities. 

The Czech Republic is the longtime industrial center of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and more than 40% of its workers are employed in industry, which is well above the EU average and the highest of any country in Europe (EuroStat, 2016).  The reliance and emphasis on production can be partly credited to its historic and current proximity to markets.  The country has one of the highest economic concentrations of GDP originating from automobile design, manufacture, and supply-chain around the world (Czech Invest, 2016).  A total of 54.2% of all exports are products within the automotive industry (CZ, 2016).  In fact, the country supplies parts to every automobile manufacturer in Europe (Czech Ministry of Trade, 2016).  There are numerous automobile R&D and production centers in the country, including Volkswagen (the owner of the Škoda automobile factory), Toyota, and Hyundai.  The automobile industry is credited with giving the country a high per-capita income as compared to its European peers.

Since the Velvet Revolution, the Czech Republic has dived into capitalism and globalization.  Today, the country boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in the EU.  After joining the EU in 2004, its global competitiveness has made it the heart of many European global networks.  The economy grew from less than $50 billion GDP in 1989 to over $200 billion today.

This influx in economic development is led by the automobile industry.  A tour of the Skoda factory will allow further understanding of the modern production process, particularly the design and production of their new 7-speed automatic transmissions.  Skoda has produced automobiles since 1895, and since 2000 has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen.  It currently produces more than 1 million cars annually.  During the German occupation, the factory was utilized for production of German military vehicles.  Like many Czech industries, Skoda went through massive management changes after the Velvet Revolution and the influx of privatization brought by the fall of communism.  During this phase, Volkswagen beat out French automaker Renault to win equity rights in Skoda.  The company also produces in India and was voted the most dependable car brand in the UK in 2015.

A Toyota production facility employing 3,000 workers is located right outside of Prague, and production exceeds 300,000 automobiles annually.  This factory touts its environmentally-friendly vehicles and has been certified as ISO 14001:2004.  The company specializes in small vehicles and claims “modern safety and ecological technologies” as core production features.

Czech Food: Cooks weren’t used to using fresh ingredients in the communist days so fresh food is not common and the culture does not have a history of restaurants and eating out.  Soup (polevka), beef sirloin with gravy/boiled sausage/ketchup/mustard inside a roll (the Czech rohlík), and goulash/meat stew with white rice are all common.

Classic Czech Goulash

Classic Czech Goulash

Beef Broth Soup

Beef Broth Soup

Czech kielbasa (sausage)

Czech kielbasa (sausage)

Prague was the last democracy to govern in Eastern Europe, but in 1948, the country became communist and found itself under the rule of the USSR for more than 40 years.  In 1968, reformists galvanized efforts to allow freedom of the press and other reforms until the USSR organized 200,000 troops to storm the country crush the rebellion.  The Velvet Revolution was a non-violent shift to capitalism and democracy, starting as a student protest in November 1989 on International Students’ Day, leading to a non-violent era of political upheaval which ultimately led to the first elections since 1946 in June 1990, thus overturning the one-party communist system.  Students have taken an active role in shaping Prague.  The following picture shows one of many types of classrooms at Anglo American University in Prague.

Angola-American University classroom

Angola-American University classroom

St. Wenceslas Square has been the epicenter of all the major political protests, speeches, and demonstrations over the years, from the Proclamation of Independence in 1918 to events in the German occupation, to communism, and now capitalism.  St. Wenceslas Square includes the historic center of Prague, a World Heritage Site and the famous Charles Bridge, first constructed in 1357 during the reign of King Charles IV, who also founded the first University in the city.  It was first established in 1348 as a horse market.

St. Wenceslas Statue at St. Wenceslas Square

St. Wenceslas Statue at St. Wenceslas Square

Politických vězňů  (Political Prisoners’ Street) commemorates those brave citizens who were imprisoned for their political beliefs, in most cases those beliefs under communist rule.

Political Prisoners’ Street

Political Prisoners’ Street

The building pictured below on Political Prisoners’ Street served as the Prague Gestapo (German) headquarters and many local Czech citizens were held here and interrogated.  Anyone speaking out or leading a campaign could be labeled as an enemy of the state.

Gestapo headquarters on Political Prisoners’ Street

Gestapo headquarters on Political Prisoners’ Street

Also in Prague is a venue containing the Munich Agreement document, a contract stipulating that Britain and France would cede the Sudetenland of the Czech Republic.  This agreement occurred with unacknowledged Czech protests and is seen as a low point in the history for the country.

Operation Anthropoid was a Czech code name for a plot to assassinate key leaders of the Nazi occupiers in Prague in May 1942, in conjunction with British special operations and the Czech government in exile.  The Czechs successfully killed a major Nazi leader, which drew forceful German retaliation, including the killing of 5,000 Czech political leaders.  750 German troops pursued the leaders of Operation Anthropoid to St. Cyril Church where they had been secretly taking refuge.  After two hours of gunfire, the plotters committed suicide.  The photo below shows how flowers and wreaths are laid at the battle scene in commemoration of these brave Czechs today.

Flowers at St. Cyril church

Flowers at St. Cyril church

The country’s first democratic/capitalist leader, Vaclav Havel, is credited with redirecting its economy after playing a key role in the Velvet Revolution.

Vaclav Havel statue

Vaclav Havel statue

The Bohemian Crystal Glass Factory is known across the continent for quality glassware production, including world-renowned vases, champagne bottles, fruit bowls, and premium spirits containers.  Glass factories first began production in the 13th century in this region of Bohemia.  Bohemian glass surpassed Venetian glass as the standard in the region several centuries later.  Decorative glass eventually became a popular standard of the region’s glass production, and today the Czech Republic is known for its superior glass production.

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Bohemia Crystal Glass Factory production area

There were more than 100 glassmakers in the region in the 1700s.  In 1989, some of the glassworks organizations were bought by family members of the original owners, including the Bohemian Crystal Glass Factory.  Today they have 120 employees.  The glass is made of 40% recycled glass and 60% chemicals.

Bohemia Crystal Glass Factory production area

Bohemia Crystal Glass Factory production area

Bohemia Crystal Glass Factory cutting department

Bohemia Crystal Glass Factory cutting department

The Communism and Nuclear Bunker Tour of Prague and the Museum of Communism are both relevant examples of how the limitations and suppression of the old communist regime set back the production capabilities of the country for much of the twenty-first century.  While the country was the center of production for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the advent of communism thwarted much of the usual production capabilities.  This tour highlights relevant communist and capitalist moments between the 1940s and the Velvet Revolution, including information related to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s coordinated assassinations of capitalist leaders in Prague during the 1950s.  The bunker could hold 150 people for 2 weeks.  The VIP Hotel above the bunker was for VIP’s and important people in the Communist Party.  An escape tunnel went to Wenceslas Square 15 meters away.

The picture below shows the interrogation room in the bunker.  Drugs would be often used on prisoners in efforts to make them give up more information.

Interrogation Room

Interrogation Room

The picture below shows a map with the various nuclear bombs in Czechoslovakia pointed West, along with the points of the various Communist armies.

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Map on Wall showing Soviet Army and Nuclear bombs

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