It is extremely tough to believe that 2 weeks have come and gone so quickly. Our company visits to Maersk and Carlsberg round out our 3 country – 8 hotel – 13 company tour of Scandinavia.
Our first stop was Maersk where we heard from a set of internal consultants as well as one of the sales directors focused on their largest clients as well as their forwarders who assist with the delivery components to and from the freighter.
The internal consultants brought a very different focus in terms of their presentation compared to what we’ve seen in these two weeks. I think it hit home for many of us who are in the government consulting space and aren’t necessarily producing products for the market. Their group was relatively new in terms of the various Maersk product lines and noted that they bring the following key benefits to the organization:
- Global Talent Development Network
- Superior Project Execution Engine
- SME’s in the industries they work
- Cost competitive alternative to external consultants
They were formed in 2012 and were created to provide an alternative to outside consulting services for Maersk’s projects and initiatives. Their group deals with an interesting dynamic as they are sometimes treated as colleagues while at other times are treated the same as external consultants – both scenarios have pros and cons, but throws an interesting twist during and after their project engagements. They look forward to growing and providing more value to Maersk in the years to come.
One of the concepts that stood out to me during the internal consultant presentation was Maersk’s concept of “Must-Win-Battles”. There were initiatives, programs, or projects that were critical to Maersk’s strategic and corporate goals and therefore received the highest priority. Coming from past work experiences where everything is a priority (therefore nothing is a priority), it was refreshing to hear that this designation was in place to guide the overarching objectives over a given year. I asked about whether these priorities remained intact during a period of time, and it sounds like they do remain at the proper priority levels without other efforts disrupting the process. While some must-win efforts sounded like they may span multiple years, they stressed that they are reviewed annually, and the process has been beneficial.
Our next speaker was the Director of Key Client Sales and discussed the sales approach and methodology in terms of how they sell container space to their clients on one of the Maersk Line ships. The speaker was very engaging and captured our class’s attention and she described what her customers most valued and how they articulated the Maersk value proposition in a very low margin and cost competitive environment. She outlined several areas of importance for customers which Maersk needs to be cognizant of when selling their services – the top 4 area are: their own market (whether it be socks, shoes, avocados, etc.), their total supply chain cost (not just the cost of shipping), reliability (delivery, invoice accuracy, etc.), and global coverage (Maersk’s key clients operate globally and they need to know their transportation vendors can work globally as well.
We eventually ran out of time for the Q&A, but I think many more of my colleagues would have continued asking questions if time allowed – overall it was a great lecture and provided several insights into Maersk as a company as well as some of their specific lines and services.
Following Maersk, we headed to the original Carlsberg brewery where they started production many years ago and have continued production and beer innovation ever since. While our tour was short, there were some nuggets that I found interesting. For instance, the original head of Carlsberg was very focused on the science of beer brewing and production and through various trials and innovation created a very reliable, stable and consistent form of yeast which is a critical component of beer production.
What was most interesting, was that Carlsberg’s founder decided to share this knowledge with the rest of the beer industry rather than keep it as a competitive advantage. While this seemed crazy to me, our guide mentioned that this act provided Carlsberg with an immense amount of marketing, and the Carlsberg yeast is used across the beer industry to this day.
Following our tour, we all were able to kick back and sample several of Carlsberg’s brands and start to reminisce about our past 2 weeks of travel and company visits. The cold beer also helped cool the group off as it was a very toasty day – even by our standards (it was probably sweltering for the Danes).
After an hour or so of checking out the gift shop, enjoying some beverages and seeing some of the old production areas and parts of the Carlsberg museum we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Copenhagen.
Our group wrapped up the day and evening checking out various sites in the city including the famous canal street of Nyhavn. After a short little walking tour, we headed back for our final dinner together as a class.
Following dinner, Prof. Hoopes wrapped up our adventure with some closing remarks and a series of “Back of the Bus” awards across a variety of categories such as Most Laid Back, Sleepiest, Happiest, Best Athlete, etc. All of the categories were voted on by the class and I ended up getting enough votes for runner-up on Quietest (kind of bummer), Most Adventurous Eater (can’t argue that), and Best Dressed (I’ll happily take this one seeing as I ended up re-wearing quite a few outfits
To wrap up the night most of the class ventured to Tivoli which is one of the oldest amusement parks in Europe.
Right in the center of Copenhagen, it includes a large concert venue, roller coasters, rides, food and plenty of other amusement park staples. It really is an impressive venue, especially when it begins to get dark and the park is all lit up – it also made for some interesting people watching as we saw quite a few crazy looking (and acting) locals.
Overall, it was a great way to wrap up an exciting trip with a great group of people!