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,

Thursday 3/24/11

Today we woke up early and went to the BMW factory. Even though I don't know much about cars, it was a blast. We walked up to the multiple buildings and they were all huge and uniquely shaped. We went on our first tour of the day with Damien. At first I thought he was from the US because he spoke perfect English but I later found out that he was born and raised in Germany. During the first tour I learned a lot about BMW. During World War II they forced labor and they've been trying to make up for that ever since then. They have over 100,000 employees worldwide and work really hard to provide premium products including cars, motorcycles, etc. We got to tour the facilities to see everything put together from the beginning until the end. My favorite part was seeing all of the robots work on the various parts. There must have been over 100 of them in the room we were in. If a robot malfunctions, then they're put into a special time out room until they can figure out what the problem is.

 Me on a BMW cop motorcycle!

One of the BMW buildings

Me in front of the other BMW building

BMW produces 200,000 cars per year and it only takes about 40 hours to finish a car. Out of the whole bunch, only 2 cars may be alike because these cars are custom made for the customer. This was another way that I thought Germany was different from the US. I feel like the US focuses more on quantity than quality. BMW's are expensive but you're paying for something that's going to last and you know the quality of the car is reliable. They have so many quality controls throughout the process and even if there's a really minor fault, they will take it off the line and either fix it or recycle the parts. I think it just goes back to having a good reputation. European countries really focus on the quality of their products and that's what their companies are founded on.

Outside of the tour, I noticed these little machines moving around in the lobby. These were ice breaker machines that the salespeople used to start up conversations with potential customers. I thought that was a really good tactic!

We decided to check out Pizza Hut for lunch. It was really good but I could tell the ingredients were a little different. They were also charging for refills which usually you get for free in the US. It was really fun eating with the whole group and just hanging out.

We had some extra time before our second tour so we decided to go look at the Old Olympic stadium. It was a great sight because it had so many different complexes and all of the buildings had neat architecture. They still use the complexes for different events and they're trying to get the Olympics in Germany again in 2018.

The old Olympic stadium

Group picture with BMW in the background

It was a beautiful day out so we walked around, took a bunch of pictures, and laid on the grass. Sarah and Danielle accidentally rolled in dog poop which was hilarious.

We went back to BMW for our second tour. We go to learn more about the architecture of the buildings and how it has become an icon for Munich. We got to see where they store the cars and how people pick up their cars. They really make it into a lavish show. The car gets lit up and spins in a circle around and then you get to drive it down a circle drive within the building. You pay for a BMW because the quality and unique experience it offers.

Where some of the cars are stored for pick-up

You can see how they will spin on the surface so the customer can see their car!

Jessie, Amanda, Swinder and I decided to skip the museum tour so we could rest up. A few of us decided to do the German beer tour that evening. We met at the train station and got all signed up. I really liked our tour guide because he gave us a brief explanation of the history of the bar before we tried the beer there. The beer in Germany is so different than it is here. It's a lot easier to drink and has a unique flavor to it. We went to all 4 of the bars and had a really good time. We made friends from Ireland, Australia, Germany, Italy, etc.
Us with our group leader!

Giving everyone a brief history of the bar/beer

 I am so happy that I had a good group of friends to experience this with! We all completed the tour so we are officially certified. Woohoo!

Til next time!

Wednesday 3/23/11

9 am--We are on our way to the London airport to fly to Munich. The tube is jammed pack as usual and it makes it an extra challenge because we have so many bags. I'm so exited to experience Germany's culture and see how it differs from the rest of Europe and America. The BMW factory will be really neat and I'm excited to go to the concentration camp site and to the Alps! Germany here we come!

5 pm German time--We just grabbed something quick to eat at the airport and went into a few shops. We went on Lufthansa airplane to Munich. I slept almost the whole time because the seats were so soft and spacious! I woke up with enough time to look out the window and see the beautiful images of Germany. We went through customs and got our passports stamped and went to get our luggage. It was a very efficient process which was very nice. We were done with customs and bags within 20 minutes. Right now we are on the train to our hostel. I'm not sure what we're doing tonight but it should be fun!

Swinder at the airport which had a huge BMW display/ad!

Later that night...
We arrived at the hostel and it was very nice. The rooms are big and there's a nice lounge area in the lobby. When we first arrived they told us some rules like the fact that we need to be quiet after 10 pm and we also need to do things in a timely fashion. Swinder told us that timeliness is VERY important to Germans so we need to respect that.

We went to Marienplatz to find something to eat. We went to Paulanders for our first German meal. I had the pork knuckle which was delicious. Our whole group was there and it was a great time just alking along the streets. One thing that I noticed was the fact that the city was so clean. All of the rooms we went into were spick and span and even the streets and the trains are clean. It's very nice!

Downtown Munich

We ended up just coming back early because it had been a long day. It was a nice arrival and I can already tell that I love Germany! One thing that's been really nice was the fact that everyone can pretty much speak English. On the plane they could just look at you and tell where you were from. Many people speak multiple languages so they can adjust quickly to their surroundings. I think that this is something America needs to work on. We expect everyone to adjust to us and our needs and I think that there needs to be a mutual adjustment. I only know English and after coming on this trip I realized that I need to adjust myself and learn another language or two. I went online to look at some classes and reading materials and it's making me very excited!

Til next time!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Overview of London/Birmingham

  • People are usually more dressed up in Europe than in America. Men also are dressed more metrosexually than in America (ex: carry around satchels, scarves, etc.).
  • Customer service is definitely better and more focused on in America.
  • England shows more pride in their traditions and heritage. They prefer quality over quantity.
  • The tube is a huge means of transportation and is usually jammed pack. It is very efficient though.
  • American franchises have moved into Europe but they've adapted for their surroundings (ex: McDonald's offered more chicken products and used smaller sizes).
  • There's so much more history in these cities than I've ever experienced in America. 

Til next time,

Tuesday 3-22-11

This morning we woke up an took the train to Birmingham. The train ride was really smooth and I was able to get some rest (Kyle was too!)

We arrived at Cadbury which was a series of large buildings joined together. We entered into Cadbury World and started the tour. John Cadbury was the founder and he was a Quaker. He was searching for an alternative for alcohol so they used teas and liquid chocolates. They decided to expand into a warehouse and eventually moved into the Bournville area. John's sons Richard and George joined the business and it because a family run business. They found various crushing machines to improve their chocolate making. They also decided to change the way of business by taking care of their employees. They were the first to provide pensions, sick days, etc. and they built a whole community around Cadbury. This gave the company a positive image from various sources, including medical journals, who praised them for the health benefits and for not using as many preservatives. Later they added dairy products to their products. One of the plants receives 500,000 liters of milk every day for production.

The movie stated that they received their most important ingredient, cocoa, from Ghana. Fermentation of the cocoa is the most important step and roasting gives it its unique flavor.

We ate lunch at Cadbury and I bought a lot of gifts for my friends and family. After our self led tour we heard a Cadbury presentation from Colin, an education employee at the factory (see notes).

  • Went from #1 to #2 in confectionary ranking
  • Kraft tried to merge with them but the offer wasn't great so they came back with another offer
  • Merged with Kraft for $19 billion which transformed them into the #1 confectionary company
  • Merger is still in the talks because the House of Commons doesn't want any redundancies
  • Negative media experience because the Kraft CEO won't come to Britain
  • Sales of 5 million pounds
  • Want brand loyalty
  • 187 years open==> open up trust in customers
  • Chocolates, gum, candy
  • Spent a lot of their time building up their reputation
  • Corporate social responsibility is huge
  • Religion influenced production
  • They NEED growth in order to survive
  • Have over 160 brands, including Trident gum
  • Work with fair trade--if you're working with a developing country, you can sign this agreement so that they get paid fairly
  • Product placement: at first they couldn't do it on TV but now they can   ex: Coca Cola cups on The X Factor judge's tables
  • Unique selling point (USP)--they use full cream milk in products, not powder
  • Target markets are very important to them
  • Spend a lot on market research because it builds market share, targets more effectively, new opportunities, anticipates changing needs, etc.
  • Big seasons are Christmas and Easter
  • Market map: look for gaps in the market
  • Reputation is EVERYTHING
  • "Cadbury chocolates must be within arm's reach of every customer"--> now in vending machines, malls, etc.
  • Hot zones--> optimum choice for a consumer; look at eye level, right when you walk in, at the very end of the aisle
  • KISS motto: Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Need iconic image in order to be remembered

I really enjoyed his presentation and hearing his opinions. Kraft recently merged with Cadbury but there's a lot of issues with the merger. Kraft executives had to appear in front of the House of Commons and were asked if workers were going to be laid off. They weren't able to answer and basically the English government is going to keep their eye on this merger. I thought it was really interesting that the Kraft CEO, Irene, refuses to come to England. In my opinion, I think this is a stupid move. There's obviously a lot of controversy surrounding this merger and I feel like in order to smooth things over the Kraft CEO needs to watch her actions. Otherwise Cadbury will be hurt BUT so will Kraft foods.

I really enjoyed hearing about the brand loyalty surrounding Cadbury. They had been building up their reputation for the past 187 years and customers trust the quality of the products. I really enjoyed the video clip about their corporate responsibility work. They have given money to orphanages, after school programs, and dentistry programs all over the world.

I liked hearing about the unique selling points of the company. One is the fact that they use full cream in their products instead of powder. They have also worked especially hard to find the target market for each of their products. This gives them a competitive advantage. They do marketing research in order to figure out the changing needs of the customers and any gaps that they can fill in. They decided that cocoa products (aka Cadbury chocolate) needs to be within arm's reach of the customers. They do this by placing items in "hot zones" and advertising and distributing at various soccer stadiums. They're the official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics and created a spots vs. stripes campaign to get everyone active during the Olympics. They're doing a lot to maintain their reputation and find new markets to enter.

He also talked about the future of Cadbury. They're looking into GLAD advertising, which is an application on your mobile device which can read your emotions and then send you different deals. Cadbury is also working on piggyback strategies with Coca-Cola. This means that anywhere where Coca-Cola is sold, so is Cadbury chocolates. The business presentation was definitely my favorite part of the day. I could really see how important a company's reputation is to the product. It also seems like companies in England care more about the quality of their products than American companies do. It seems like American companies just want to mass produce in order to make money instead of really focusing on the quality and uniqueness of their products. It was an amazing day and I really enjoyed hearing about Colin' experience and opinions at Cadbury.

After the Cadbury visit, we decided to walk around Birmingham and go see the town hall. We walked through a lot of different buildings and along the river canals. We tried to get a boat ride but they were closing down. We decided to eat dinner at The Malt House and oh boy oh boy was that an experience. We decided to eat on the top patio and order food inside. The bartender refused to serve me food at the bar and he was being very rude to our group. He probably just thought that we were a group of stupid Americans. We decided to go elsewhere for dinner. We finally caught a bite to eat and then hopped on to our evening train. They kept switching the station every few minutes which was aggregating but we finally got onto the right train and headed back to London.

Til next time!


Monday 3-21-11

This morning we woke up a bit later and had a traditional English breakfast. We then took the tube to Fuller's Brewery. The first impression was very nice. It is a family owned brewery and had an older style feel to it. We started the tour which was amazing! We started by the river which was completely dry when we first walked up. Our tour guide said that ships will roll in with the tide and drop off the necessary ingredients to the brewery. It was early in the morning but he said that the tide would roll in and completely cover the street (which it did later!)

He showed us where the grains get used for the sugars. In the end, the brewery ends up giving the grains to animals such as cows, to eat so it doesn't go to waste. We went into the main area of the factory where we saw that they mainly store the beer and ale in steel casks instead of wooden barrels. Our guide said it was because they wanted to be able to have the taste come from the beer instead of the storage container. They do preserve some beer in whiskey barrels and age them throughout the years. These type of beers are more expensive.

He then showed us what hops looked like and how they're grown. Different regions can grow various items and England is great at growing hops. It adds a special flavor to the beer. He then showed us the mashing, boiling, and fermenting process. The fermenting stage is crucial stage because it is the difference between a good and bad beer.

They stated that their special ingredient is their dominant yeast. Their yeast creates the unique flavor and they have it secretly stored in case the factory ever caught on fire. Their yeast has the same DNA which is why their beers taste the same. It also creates an orange peel characteristic of the beers. The factory was enormous and I really got to see how intense the beer making process is.

Our tour guide showing us the big mashing machine they used to use to mix up the beer!

Fun Fact: Our guide told us that women under age 25 have the best noses and senses for beer tasting. Application please!

We then got to taste all of the different types of beer and they were all delicious. Throughout the tour we discussed some of the marketing theories that make the brewery unique. One way to keep their customers happy is through their quality of beer. They go through an intense process to make the beer perfect. This creates brand loyalty throughout the years. Customers like the beer, know where it is coming from, and like the company's quality and standards. Our guide also discussed how they don't try to sell to the mass market--they sell their beer to a niche market of people who prefer quality over quantity. They also hold their brewery to higher standards than the government requires them to do because it is just a part of their company atmosphere. Overall the tour was great and I learned about their marketing strategies and beer making process.

Art work on the wall of all the different types of beer they make. Europeans pride themselves on beer and it is pretty much an insult not to try it!

We then went back to the restaurant part of the brewery and ate fish and chips which was delicious. After a short stop in the gift shop we decided to walk along the river and look at the different pubs. We got back onto the tube and went to Harrod's. I don't think I could afford the toilet paper there. There were so many different levels and they all were so neat but I also watched the people and saw how snotty some of them were being. I guess I am also surprised at how busy it was because of the world economy. Everything was so expensive but it was packed full of a variety of people.

We took the tube earlier in the day and decided to get something to drink and eat cheese and crackers in Hyde Park Corner. We decided to try to get the pigeons to come to us by giving them some crackers and one of the pigeons was quite entertaining. We talked about the future investments and stocks, a possible reunion trip in California, how Swinder grew up, scholarships at K-State, etc. We also talked about Swinder's winter break trip to South America. I really hope I can afford to go! We closed down our little park party by doing the K-State Circle and having a good laugh.

K-S-U Wildcats!

We then went to the theatre where we saw Grease. I thought they did a great job of adapting the firm to a play version. They got the crowd excited and it was a great British show to see live! We decided to get a bite to eat at a little Italian restaurant which was very relaxing and relatively inexpensive. I really liked the spices they used on my pizza. We never found a waffle stand but it was a wonderful day and I can't wait for the Cadbury chocolate factory tomorrow!

Til next time!