I have recently completed an 8 week training visit to MANN+HUMMEL’s headquarters in Ludwigsburg. This was my second visit and I saw my stay as a great opportunity to bring the teams in Germany and the Service Centre India closer together. The visit started with a surprise – I was not expecting such heat in Germany. The first few days were around 34 degrees but later on the temperature decreased to the more comfortable weather I am used to in India.

The German team had some new members who I had so far just dealt with via email and over the phone. When I first entered the office, I hoped that I could cope with all the new faces but there was no reason for concern. Everyone spoke to me as if we had been working together for several years. I really liked their approach when meeting someone new – a day “begins with hope ends with the confidence”.

Getting involved

At the start of my visit, I continued with some of the tasks I was doing in India. Within a few days, I was asked to conduct meetings with colleagues to discuss changes in a filter element housing. This boosted my confidence level as I was involved in a project covering fundamental topics. I enjoyed analysing and discussing every aspect of the design with my German colleagues. The exchange of ideas and thoughts was a two-way street. What’s more, the brainstorming sessions we had were thought-provoking and increased my aptitude for innovative thinking. I liked the way the employees in Germany discussed problems openly and find solutions through a mutual transfer of knowledge.

I also had the opportunity to visit the IAA – the International Automobile Trade Fair – in Frankfurt. It was extremely interesting to see the newest models from the big manufacturers such as Mercedes Benz and Audi up close. I was accompanied by my German colleagues who introduced me to their contacts so it was a great networking opportunity, too.

Bringing cricket to Germany

Eight weeks is a long time to spend away from home. Thanks to friendly and welcoming attitude of everyone at MANN+HUMMEL in Ludwigsburg, I felt like a member of the family from the very beginning. I also managed to find some other Indians who were visiting so we could enjoy our passion for playing cricket. We played in the local school ground which generated some interest from passers-by although they just stood and looked strangely at us. Unfortunately, no one joined in!

There are so many positive things to say about Germany but, unfortunately, German cuisine was not really to my liking. However, at the weekend, colleagues staying at the MANN+HUMMEL apartments in Ludwigsburg came together to cook meals for each other – it was good teamwork at its best.

Putting my new knowledge into practice

Since being back in India, I have used the knowledge and systematic techniques I learned in Germany – including conception, virtualisation, scoring and optimisation – to successfully work on a customer projects. I encourage every colleague from India and world-wide to visit the Ludwigsburg Headquarters to learn how they organise themselves, manage work, and approach projects.

Finally, I would like to thank all my colleagues in Germany who supported me during my visit to MANN+HUMMEL Ludwigsburg. I am particularly grateful to Dr. Harald Banzhaf whose leadership qualities are an inspiration to me.