In autumn 2017, 18 Indian executives visited 17 renowned enterprises and institutions in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. The product spectrum of the Indian enterprises represented by the MP participants ranged from LED lighting and solar systems to parts for sheet metal processing, automotive parts and hydraulic systems as well as trading with metal processing tools.
Two major topics were almost continuously at the heart of the intensive discussions and company tours: quality management and German corporate culture. The first company visit to Ecoroll AG in Celle, where the participants received information on its special production technology, was already impressive. Ecoroll tools and machinery improve metal surfaces by deforming the surface layer. During a tour of the production buildings, the guests had a look at single-roller tools as well as the specialised Omega tool series for skiving and burnishing the inner surfaces of cylinders. The Indian executives also experienced the unique HG tool series in action. The rolling pressure of these so-called ballpoint tools is transferred through one (or several) hydrostatically mounted ball(s). Some of the MP participants were so fascinated by the quality and surface structure after the machining of the parts that they immediately made appointments for talks at the EMO Trade Show (Exposition Mondiale de la Machine) concerning future cooperation in India. As the enterprises of several participants are in the metal processing sector, this trade fair is particularly important to them. Here they were able to meet “face to face” with suppliers from all over the world and discuss possible joint projects. In several cases, the first meeting at the trade fair was followed by a second meeting one or two days later to discuss matters in more detail. The Indian managers spoke of outstanding, extremely effective contacts, which would have been very difficult or impossible to realise without the EMO.
The open dialogue and the transparency of the German firms are among the positive impressions they gained. Thomas Knöfel, for example, Quality Assurance Manager at H. Butting GmbH & Co. KG in Knesebeck, took the Indian participants on a tour of all central production areas of the company, which focuses mainly on the production of pipes, but is also successful in producing large-dimensioned filling plants for the beverage industry. After the tour and an intensive discussion, Knöfel was clearly impressed by the good preparation and the participants’ interest even in numerous details. “This group of Indian visitors fits our firm exactly due to their corporate background and excellent knowledge regarding production technology and business segments. I assume that this first contact will lead to further cooperation.” Butting GmbH & Co. KG has a very long corporate tradition and has already been a family-owned business for several generations. Even though some of the Indian participants themselves work in enterprises founded by their fathers or grandfathers, they considered the long history of many German businesses as something special. Darshan Reddy Mandara from Bangalore: “The long corporate tradition of many German enterprises characterises their image and also explains the employees’ strong attachment to their firms.”
By Dr Detlev Rossa
German Management Academy of Lower Saxony (DMAN), Celle