Maymester 2017

3 credit hours

Faculty Leader-Dr. Jim Tanoos

In this Study-Abroad option for fulfilling the Globalization Experience Requirement, Purdue University Polytechnic Statewide students will participate in a multifaceted Central European Multinational Automobile Organization Supply Chain Experience.  Students will tour the BMW factory and operations in Munich, Germany; the Volkswagen and Toyota facilities in Prague, Czech Republic; the second-largest European port in Hamburg, Germany; and the largest European port in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  Students will also participate in tours in those cities based on two themes: Cultural Immersions and the History of Capitalism/Trade.  As part of the course requirements, students will select one automobile organization and write a consulting report recommending how its European supply chain should be integrated into its corporate leadership strategy during the upcoming years.

The statewide automobile industry and its supply chain have become very important to the Indiana economy.  Millions of dollars have been pouring in to current and new multinational automobile production facilities from manufacturers such as Honda, which invested $52 million in its Indiana factory in 2016 alone (Indianapolis Star, 2016), Subaru, which invested $540 million in its Indiana factory during the past four years (Auto News, 2015), and Toyota, which has invested more than $4 billion total in its Indiana facility (Toyota Pressroom, 2015).  In fact, the number of automobile-related industrial jobs in Indiana is an astounding 459% of the national average.  More than 500 automobile-related organizations operate in Indiana (IEDC Automotive Council, 2016), in addition to all the companies directly or indirectly affected by the automobile supply chain in the state.  Truly, the Hoosier economy’s health is especially affected by the global automobile industry.  Given the importance of this industry to Indiana’s economy, Purdue Polytechnic students have the best chance to leverage these opportunities as they shift into their careers.

The European Commission published a report in 2005 revealing that the EU is the world’s leading automotive manufacturing region, with more than 1/3 of all automobiles manufactured in the world within member countries (Economy Watch, 2010).  North Central Europe in particular is notable for its history of manufacturing and today is the epicenter of the European automobile production and supply chain for the continent.  Further, eight of the top twenty EU regions with the highest number of persons employed within the manufacturing sector in 2012 were in Germany (Economy Watch, 2010).  Germany’s influence in the global automobile industry is not relegated to the European market, as it boasts 110 companies operating in Indiana, with more than 12,000 employees (Indiana.gov, 2016).  Many of these companies are related to automobile supply-chains and all impact the Indiana economy.  The North Central region of the EU, including Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands, mirrors Indiana’s geography in the US, because of its location and efficient access to markets and infrastructure, as well as being home to thriving multinational automobile organizations and their supply chains.

Another unique aspect of North Central Europe is its political history.  Central Europe has witnessed dramatic shifts in styles of governments in a relatively short amount of time, and those evolutions have had dramatic effects on every aspect of the lives of the region’s citizens.  The chaotic nature of the changes in governmental structures in this region over the past several generations has had a major influence on capitalism/trade and the automobile supply chain.  We will visit many significant sites in the four cities on the trip that will provide firsthand insight into the history of capitalism and trade in this region.  For instance, the importance of basic port access and port control and their relation to economic viability will be highlighted, because history has proven that the control of ports is of key importance in both wartime and peacetime.  Jurisdiction over the goods that go through ports during wartime dictates major military advantages, and efficient management over the operations of the port during peacetime dictates economic health and enhances local supply chains.

The four cities selected for this trip were chosen as venues because of their proximity, influence, and linkage to this epicenter of the European region’s automobile production.  In order of visit, they are 1) Munich, Germany, 2) Prague, Czech Republic, 3) Hamburg, Germany, and 4) Rotterdam, Netherlands.  These cities all have rich histories of industrial competitiveness in the international marketplace, and their economies are thriving in major part due to the global automobile industry’s impact.  Tours will be conducted of successful multinational automobile facilities in two cities (BMW in Munich, and Volkswagen and Toyota in Prague), and the top two European ports in the other two cities.

The following disciplines are areas taught in the Purdue Polytechnic by the host in face-to-face, distance, and graduate classes.  They will be examined on this trip, and information related to these areas of study will be integrated throughout.

  • Supply Chain Management
  • Micro/Macro Economics
  • Organizational Change
  • International Management
  • Quality Production
  • Global Marketing
  • Industrial Management
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Meeting Management