Our recent industrial visit to STIHL industries Ltd in Zurich was just the right corroboration for the statement above. Those few hours of being transplanted from the classroom at Frankfurt School to the “STIHL Chain Manufacturing Facility”, amalgamated perfectly the theoretical concepts with their relevance in the practical world.
The event began with a “Panel discussion”(courtesy of FS career services) on the evening before we visited the plant. Comprising erudite and lively FS Alumni with whom we had a healthy exchange of thoughts on life in Switzerland and also gained answers to a lot of questions regarding opportunities in various sectors there. It was, I would say, the fun part since some of the questions and responses made the hall echo with laughter thus relieving us from the travel fatigue while providing later a great networking opportunity. The following morning after an early breakfast we finally headed to our destination, STIHL industries.
For most of us, it was the first contact with the manufacturing world and thanks to FS and STIHL, it was an experience worth cherishing. We started our day with a company presentation on STIHL held by their CFO, followed by being taken on a guided tour through their state of the art production. Incredulously, on entering the plant, stood in front of us the gigantic machines cutting ruthlessly through tough alloy sheets to break them down to only tooth sized pieces which were further anointed, washed, scrubbed and polished before finally being assembled into the “chain” we conveniently use in our gardening tools. The ease with which the intertwined processes were managed to generate consistent output left most of us bewildered. It was exciting to learn about the entire production setup, and amusing to witness how unpretentious management tools could be effortlessly applied by organizations to not only manage such processes but also to tune them to generate quality output. A blend of age old manually operated machines with the “in vogue” robot operated arms which skillfully maneuvered their units , the plant clearly reflected the changing needs of the manufacturing world and dropped an inkling to why in the fast paced markets today, managers should always be ready to embrace changes.
I once came across a quote by the great Dalai Lama, it read “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. On getting familiar with the impact of the most simplistic changes/improvements embedded by STIHL into its products I was convinced that Innovation doesn’t have to be absolutely revolutionary, it could be as easy as it could get.
Truly, in all aspects this industrial visit, which I have been recalling today while penning down my experience, made me understand my course in much greater depth than I could have through mere assessments. I am so thankful to Frankfurt School of Finance and Management for arranging a day immersed in numerous learning and enabling us to experience together the lively city of Zurich.