Day 40/-1: Company Visits: Maersk and Carlsberg

So we have made it to day 40 of our 40 day adventure, a little the worse for wear, but with only two company visits to go.  Today we visit Maersk, the global shipping company and Carlsberg, the 4th largest brewer of beer in the world.  Both companies have a particular interest for me, albeit for different reasons.
If you have any interest in the global supply chain or shipping industry you have to have some interest in Maersk.  More than any other company we visited, Maersk is the global supply chain.  During a break in our preentations I talked with Carol briefly about the idea that with the possible exception of the sports pages, every article in the newspaper was some impact on Maersk’s operations.  Revolution in an obscure country?  Maersk needs to respond.  Change in economic conditions? Maersk needs to respond.  Political issue impacting trade?  Maersk will be impacted.  More than any other company we’ve looked at, Maersk truly is a global company.  

We had a pair of presentations from Maersk.  The first was on their internal consulting group that was recently established to improve efficiencies among Maersk’s component organizations. Their primary objectives are to build a pipeline of talent across Maersk, enable superior project execution, provide Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in specific technical industries and to be cost competitive with external consultants. They presented on a recent project they had worked on to increase collaboration between the Maersk shipping line and one of their terminal operations (APM Terminals) By increasing collaboration and the use of shared analysis they were able to move from a transaction based relationship to a true parnership model, reducing costs for Maersk as a whole.

Because of our backgrounds, many of the people in our group understood the consulting business well, and there was a lively question and answer period.

The second presentation was regarding Maersk’s “key client” group. Key clients in this case are those most profitable for Maersk. The presentor spent most of her talk however going into more detail about how Maersk conducts business in general, which is good because we needed more education on the basics of their operations before we could understand th specifics of the key client group. Her presentation was very engaging and information, and I left feeling like not only did I understand where Maersk fit into the global supply chain, but more importantly (at least from Maersk’s perspective) how and when I would hire Maersk for cargo shipment. This may not seem important, but actually understanding enough about the shipping market to do this is no small feat.

After Maersk, and a very brief lunch stop we hustled over to visit Carlsberg.

My interest in Carlsberg is purely academic, as it is the subject of our paper.  Going into the visit, we knew that we would not be seeing a production Carlsberg brewrey, as the facility in Copenhagen is a small craft brewing facility, not a meanstream production brewrey.  But we at expected to see some of the company history and some production, albeit not as Carlsberg operates at large.  Unfortunately, however there was some miscommunication, and Carlsberg expected us to arrive at 1:00 PM, instead of our 1:30 scheduled arrival.  As a result, there was a 2:00 PM tour scheduled as well, so we recieved a mini-tour that focused mostly on the history of the Jacobson family and the early years of Carlsberg and did not cover the brewing process or histor in much detail.  (There was a self guided museum that you could go through, and I did, but it would have been better with the experience of a guide.)

Sadly, this is as close as we came to seeing a brewrey in production.

And so, we finished our last company visit of the trip, essentially (except for the paper) ending the course.  Conveniently at a brewrey that included two free drinks with the price of admission.  For six lucky membrs of our group, this was a particularly auspicious ending as it also marked their final class in the MBA progra and their graduation.  (Laura even brought a morterboard)  For the other twenty of us who were rather envious of our graduating classmates, we at least had beer to drown our jealousy in.

With the last company visit over, some of the group is blowing off a little steam at Carlsberg.