Jon Reissner - October 30, 2008
Speaker Summary By Katie Goodin:
Jon Reissner shared a lot about his experiences with China when he spoke last Thursday. He discussed the cultural challenges of doing business with China. Logistical challenges included the 4-5 weeks needed to receive an ordered item, a difficulty magnified when the economy falters and business slows. Also, when a Chinese company is manufacturing goods, the Chinese New Year drastically affects production since work stops for a few weeks during the holiday. In terms of communication, the language barrier makes effective communication difficult. Also, the time change and the different ways of expressing oneself (format of emails, tone, speed of business) can also hinder communication efforts.
Jon also spoke about the factories in China and showed us pictures of the many places he visited. Some of the pictures were appalling—I couldn’t believe that people were forced to work in such horrible conditions. Jon told stories about workers sitting on the floor and gathering around piles of parts to assemble them, which didn’t seem very comfortable, efficient, or safe. However, he also showed us pictures and discussed some manufacturing facilities that were cleaner, nicer, and had comparable or better technology than the same factories would in the United States.
Besides the logistical and cultural difficulties, Jon also talked about the ethical implications of sending work overseas. He said that he had trouble taking work from the communities his companies operated in. However, we also talked about how important the factory jobs are to the Chinese who most likely came from rural areas for steady work.
The financial aspect of outsourcing work is the most important to many companies, and Jon showed us the wage comparisons: $15/hr in MN vs. $4.66/hr in China.
Speaker Summary By Amber Wetter:
Becky Krekelberg and Caroline Frigault shared many personal experiences to greater insight of Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Enterprise not only thrives on customer satisfaction for their industry, but they emphasize the importance of customer satisfaction to limit competition and really have competitive advantage over competitors. Customer satisfaction is their differentiation strategy within the local and global markets. Even though profits were increasing, management was focused and determined to go above and beyond, rather than just average. Treating customers with helpfulness and respect, shows Enterprise cares about their customers and their loyalty to come back. Happy customers are not returning customers; satisfied customers through many different assets are loyal and returning customers. Focusing on customer satisfaction is a key component to their current growth strategy and are considered highly decentralized family owned business.
Since customer service is a vital asset to Enterprise’s business, Becky and Caroline discussed the importance of training individuals in all aspects of the business, not only their specific duties. Enterprise is unique because every individual has started their career with Enterprise in the same position. The current CEO of the company once went through the same challenges as the new starting employee. Employees are taught every aspect of the business to ensure customers have the best satisfaction and are valued for their experience through Enterprise. Enterprise has thrived on their customer satisfaction and this has proven very profitable through their years of business.