Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday 3/31/11

Tonight we had our normal class but Swinder asked Dr. Clay Whybark from the University of North Carolina to come and speak to us. The speech topic was "Managing Humanitarian Global Supply Chains." It was a really interesting speech and he definitely liked to get the audience involved in the speech. He talked to us about how humanitarian disasters create unique supply chain challenges and effective supply chain managers will anticipate and respond to these changes.

One of the main examples we talked about was how the disaster in Japan exceeded our idea of what could happen in a natural disaster. It is a human and supply chain tragedy and it is affecting the entire world, including the United States. People in California are starting to panic because the radiation in the milk was higher than it is supposed to be. Milk is flying off the shelves because people anticipate it to get a lot worse. Every country is starting to panic and re-evaluate their nuclear energy plants to avoid disaster.

There have also been huge donations since the tragedy. One interesting idea was the fact that more international students gave blood at the blood drive at K-State than in the past and many think it's because of the Japan tragedy. Many companies, including Honda, have had to shut down and rework their supply chains because of what happened.

The intensity and frequency of disasters is increasing. There's a diversity of people getting involved, including non-government organizations (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) who must get permission before going into a country, government organizations, private corporations, and regular people. Private corporations have started to think of things before the events occur. They know they'll have to provide capacity during an international disaster so they want to be well prepared. One of the problems is with individuals contributing. Many people are sending different things, like old blankets, furniture, etc. when really they just need money. The money can be used in the local markets and help things get back on track. Organizations don't necessarily want to use their capacity to deliver items that the people don't necessarily need.

There's also some tension between different groups. When individuals get more press, organizations like the Red Cross tend to get upset because they want more press time and get people to donate to their organization. We also discussed the unintended consequences of our actions and how you have to reverse logistics to think about the supply chain. Safety and security is also an important factor. Terrorism, bribery, and war are big issues as well as container inspections, which delay the supply chain time. Pirates have also become a huge problem. They choose targets with few people on the ships that are in the middle of the ocean and the protective vessels are slow to respond. We have to think of solutions to these problems.

There are also some resource limitations, especially with oil, that are affecting the world. It is $106/barrel now. Some ships are starting to sail at half speed in order to save fuel, but that affects the supply chain because it takes longer. More human talent is needed for supply chain management especially in the engineering field.

There have been some responses to these problems. These include sailboats, trains, trucks, etc. which are tactical approaches. The US needs to focus on adding value during transit. Only the illegal drug industry is really doing that now, and we used to do it but now we aren't. Why? We also need to take strategic approaches which include looking for low cost labor, increasing your presence in other countries, and exploring new options.

The speech was great and I was so happy to see all of my classmates again! After 10 days together, it felt like a lifetime since I had seen them!

Til next time,

Random Fun Pictures and Video Clips

On a "flat"


The London Eye--we were on that!

Huge bridge!

Intellectual thinkers

Pimp my ride?

He was riding up and down the stairs at BMW... crazy!

Swinder with Max and his friends in Germany!

This is a clip from Germany. Our tour guide was showing us the traditional song that is sung when in a large group. Not sure what it means but it's neat! 

Til next time,

Overview of Germany

  • Everything is very clean!
  • Respect and gratitude are very important. Even just not looking at someone in the eye can be a huge insult. 
  • Their public transportation isn't as busy as London's.
  • German beer is powerful stuff.
  • Quality is highly important to them over quantity.
  • Clothes are tightly fitted.
  • Most of them speak at least some English.
  • Smoking is still a very popular trend.
  • Their shops all close relatively early and aren't open on Sundays.
  • Most of them are very proper and uptight (especially about being on time) but everyone was still willing to help me, especially with directions.
  • They were MUCH more open with nudity. When it's a nice day outside, their clothes start coming off!
  • You can't wear shorts to a club!
  • They embrace their culture through and through!

Monday 3/28/11

We woke up really early this morning (5 am to be exact) to head home. Luckily my bag wasn't too heavy so there were no problems checking in. We ate a light breakfast and are about to head to Atlanta and then to KC. What a great trip it has been!

Me trying to pack all of my souvenirs. Ahhhh!!!

Later that day..
I studied for my Money and Banking test on the plane and also took a few naps. Everyone on the plane was really nice and they served us lunch and a mid-afternoon snack. I can't believe our trip is winding down. I can already feel the jetlag coming on. We flew for 10 hours from Munich to Atlanta, but there is a time difference. By the time I got home I had been up for around 24 hours. It's nice to be home but I miss all my classmates and the adventure of being in another city. Hopefully I'll get to go again sometime soon!

Til next time,

Sunday 3/27/11

This morning we woke up early and got some breakfast before we headed to the Alps. Max was running a little late so we waited and decided to go on the next train. When we finally arrived at the Alps, we found out that the lifts were closed. Boo! Instead we decided to walk around the town and go down by the lake. There were a ton of ducks and birds and they entertained us for quite some time. They kept diving far down into the water to get food and Kristen decided to share her apple with them. We liked to see them race to the food and we did this for quite some time. We then decided to walk along the lake and take some jumping pictures of course. We got some coffee and gelatto for a snack.

Where we ate at!

The Alps!


My new friends Frederick and Gustof!

Before lunch we stopped at the gift shop by the place we were eating at. They had really neat rosaries and hand-made items so I got some souvenirs. We checked out the local church and it was absolutely beautiful. The architecture, paintings and sculptures were so unique and you don't see that much detail in American churches in my opinion.

We went to lunch at 2:30 and had our last group meal. Nick picked on Vivien of course and we took a lot of neat pictures. We got more gelatto on the way to the train station and finally went back to the hostel.

I started to pack and panic because of the weight of my bag. I bought a lot of glass--whoops! Hopefully they don't reject my suitcase tomorrow. A small group of us decided to watch Troy in the lobby area before going to bed. I was only wearing my socks (bad idea) and accidentally slid down the stairs. Ouch! Good thing I had a Kit Kat to comfort me. We watched Troy and headed to bed since we have to get up at 5:30 am. It's hard to imagine that our trip is almost over!

Til next time!


Saturday 3/26/11

This morning me, Danielle, Jessie, and Sarah decided to go to Dachau, the concentration camp memorial. Another large group also wanted to go so about 10 of us traveled by train to the camp. We got our audioguides to explain things at the camp. Jessie and I went off and saw where they kept "special prisoners." These people were usually politicians, doctors, intellectuals, etc. and they were supposedly treated better than the others. Their rooms were made of cement with no heat and barely anywhere to move to. We then went to the Dachau Museum. I just read about the various survivors stories and the progression of the concentration camps. Dachau was the first camp that Hitler modeled his others after. I also read about the living conditions of the camp.

The entry way

The front gate

Where they used to have roll call

A "special prisoner" cell

Torture device

Artwork in the front yard

The sleeping rooms

Gas chamber

After looking at the museum, we looked at the barracks where they made them sleep and eat. It really made me think about life and how something like this could happen. How could we have prevented this? Why is this same type of genocide still going on in the world?

We walked up the road where a church was built in memory of the victims of Dachau. It was a beautiful place and I stopped and said a little prayer for them.

We then walked to the hardest part of the tour--the gas chamber and cremitorium. I stood in the gas chamber and it was really hard not to be freaked out. We saw the room where they stored the bodies and how they seemed unaffected by a huge pile of bodies. It definitely was a hard but great experience.

We ended the tour by watching a short film on the history of Dachau. It was actual footage from the camps and how/why they were constructed. We ate lunch at Dachau and then took the train to Marienplatz and shopped and walked around.

We found a really cute jewelry store and Jessie found some gifts for her parents. We went back to the hostel at around 6 and got ready for our group dinner. Our group ate at the Schneider House and boy oh boy was it delicious! I got the cordon bleu and some dessert and it was delicious. Our waitress was a little slow but over all it was a great night.

Nick's friend from Paris!

My awesome hat!

After dinner we decided to get a few drinks and go to the bar right across the street from the hostel. We tried to play a few card games but they wouldn't let us. I was mad because I had the best hat ever! We spent about an hour there and then I decided to go back to the hostel. A few people were downstairs and Nick made friends with a Frenchman. He talked to me about how duck liver was made in France and then asked to kiss me....? I declined. But we're facebook friends now!


Til next time,

Friday 3/25/11

I really wanted to go on the bike tour today but I woke up too late and was really tired from the day before. A small group of us decided to take the subway to Marienplatz to go walk around and shop.

Our first stop was at Burger King. They had a lot healthier items on the menu and their set up is a lot fancier. They had more chicken items then usual but the overall taste was the same. I found out that you can't really special order items. If you ask to have something taken off your meal, they just ignore you and give you a burger with everything on it.

We walked around the city and bought a lot of mugs and glasses for souvenirs. It was interesting just to walk around and people watch. We saw men and women wearing traditional German clothes. I noticed also that other German people were wearing much more fitted clothing than is typical in the US.

We went back to the hostel and relaxed until dinner. Dinner was at the Hofbrauhaus which is were Hitler used to have his meetings. Our entire group had part of the party room upstairs. They were performers (who obviously were drinking beforehand) and we "prosted" all night long to one another.

Some of the performers were quite entertaining!

The room was HUGE!

Me with the front sign!

Kyle taught me that the glasses were made so thick that you would "prost" one another and beer had to splash from one beer into the other in order for it to be a good "prost." Prosting is basically our version of cheers! You look at the person in the eyes and click the bottom of your glasses together. It's a sign of respect.

We ate German food for a few more hours and watched the performances. After dinner I went downstairs and looked around at all of the neat artwork. I got my huge mug and decided to call it a night and head home early. I just talked to some people in the lobby, checked facebook, and went to bed. Night!

Til next time,