Visiting more than 40 factories all over the world this year, I have seen both good and not-so-good practices for hosting factory visits. In this post, I share some learning points: here are ten best practices for factory tours.
The winter sport season has barely started as Norway’s victorious skier, Petter Northug, kicks off his mockery season of our neighbor to the east: Sweden. A few days ago, in the Cross Country World Cup in Gällivare, Sweden, Northug passed the finishing line first—before Sweden—and with a Swedish flag. As the anchorman in the Norwegian cross-country relay team, he made sure that Norway won over Sweden at their home ground once again—and took great care that they knew… At the same time, I spent my third week in Sweden this year. As a student of business, I know that Sweden is a world champion in a “sport” that isn’t publicly celebrated but matters thousand times more than cross-country skiing: Manufacturing!
A magnificent city skyline arises behind a white wall of damp from factory pipes as we drive into Philadelphia. Factories, ship yards and terminals as far as the eye can see. Still, it soon becomes clear that many pipes stand tall but idle; no white damp escapes them anymore. Philly – once named “the Workshop of the World” [1,2] – is standing in a rising shadow of its closed down factories. Why?
Today we turned 7 billion people on the earth. When I grew up in the 1980s, I remember we talked about turning 5 billion people. A magical number that made us learn about the world population in several weeks in school; discussing and drawing more or less successful children sketches of our multi-cultural and common world. My father has seen the world population triple fold in his life time; In 1940 there were 2,3 billion world citizens according to UN. UN estimates that the growth rate will now decline some, but still we will probably turn 9 billion people in 2050. What does these figures imply for manufacturing industries worldwide?