We finally started the site visits. Overview of things I learned: elevators are much more interesting than I ever knew, Euro skinny jeans actually look decent on men, and Finns get bitter when passed over for promotion. Let’s start at the beginning.
6:30 dawned bright and early though in Finland, with the never-ending light, it’s always bright even when it shouldn’t be. Our first visit today was Kone. Now to preface: the only thing I knew about Kone was that I saw a Kone truck outside the Springfield Town Center the Friday that I left for Europe.
Come to find out, Kone was REALLY interesting. They are focused on “People Flow” – meaning that if it involved elevators, escalators, or any such thing then Kone is there. In fact, DCites should know Kone because they are the company that just won the bid to refurbish all the Metro elevators. After the site visit I have confidence that they are more equipped than the current people who were in charge. I admit that when I went in I assumed that elevators were elevators – one size fit all. Boy, was I wrong! There is so much customization to elevators, from size, color, display, etc. I admit that I was the bad tour person who stayed after in the showroom when everyone else was leaving to play with the new display/call destination displays. Yes, the professor had to come and get me and give me the “what are you doing??” look. But it was worth it. The newest innovations involve selecting the floor before you enter the elevator, with the elevator intelligence deducing which car would get you to your floor quickest. It was interesting to think of how this affects Leed Certified Buildings and the energy consumption.
Interesting factoid: I asked why elevators do not have “cancel” buttons for when you accidentally press the wrong button and the answer was “I don’t know.”
Next up was Suunto, a company that I had never heard of. They are the leader of dive computers and super-intense sport performance watches. In other words, things that I have never done, will never do, and therefore a product that I will never need to purchase. However, if I were ever to need these products, these are the ones that I would buy. Each is hand-made and has amazing options. The most interesting thing, though, was our guide. First, I think he wanted to be any place but giving my group a tour. Second, I think he was annoyed that he was passed over for a promotion. He made a few comments about how he thought things should be done better, more lean, with less waste. Sidenote: his boss was hired in September from outside the organization. He, on the other hand, has been at the company for 15 years and had started on the docks. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for our visit it was very interesting to see the differences between the production at Kone and the one at Suunto and I’m glad I was able to visit both.
The day ended with another trip to the Bryggeri Helsinki Brewery. A fun night was had by all with converstations ranging from scissors, jackhammers, the Dutch, and currently the playing of the name game. Needless to say, fun has been had by all!