Excursion: Drägerwerk, December 2016
Tourism Development Studies
The TDS master’s degree course visited the company Dräger at its headquarter in Lübeck on December 12th 2016. Dräger is a German family-owned and family-run company in its 5th generation. They are specialized in breathing and protection equipment in markets such as hospitals, fire services, oil and gas industry, mining, chemical industry and other. With around 25 new products each year, the company has been constantly expanding their product portfolio to hep saving life. Main initiative of the visit was to learn about the company’s risk management. Therefore Prof. Scheibel, lecturer of the International Risk Management in our master’s tourism course, accompanied the students and supervised the visit.
The students and Prof. Scheibel were welcomed at the headquarter in Lübeck at 10:00am and started the day with an introduction by Claudia Musilla, who is responsible for the onboarding and integration of new employees at Dräger. She has proudly been with the company for 29 years and gave the students a great overview of Dräger’s business. Furthermore, she gave the students an overview of the benefits that come with working at the internationally operating company. Outlining future employment possibilities were presented and discussed. Even though Dräger is not directly connected to the tourism industry, strategic orientations for the future were given through the possibilities of internships, thesis or direct entry.
After the introduction, Dr. Mark Blatt, Head of Controlling talked about risk management at Dräger. Christian Inderbiethen, Corporate Controlller, joined the presentation to give additional input where necessary.
Dr. Blatt started his presentation with a general introduction to the nature of risk, before having a closer look at the risk reporting tool at Dräger. Mr. Inderbiethen, who is also part of the company’s risk evaluation committee was happy to answer students’ questions regarding specific risks Dräger had to face in the past. The importance of anchoring risk management in the corporate culture and daily life, as well as to include employees, was highlighted. Dräger always looks at both sides: identifying opportunities as well as risks. Dr. Blatt and Mr. Inderbiethen pointed out that the risk reporting is taken very seriously at Dräger. The company is operating in a business which nature is risky itself already. As it is Dräger’s core business though, risk management is part of product management. The presentation gave the students the opportunity to deepen their previously gained knowledge about risk management and the effect it has on an international company in real life. There was room for discussion and questions throughout the presentation, which the students made use of with a high level of interest.
Before the students had lunch, they got to visit to the place for innovation called "garage". Ms. Jasmin Tandler showed the students around and told them about the development of this creative place. Every employee of all departments can use the garage to further develop a (product) idea. To change the daily environment and get some new insights or fresh ideas, meetings can be held there, too. There are 5 people working at the garage, who help employees to learn how to work on and further develop their ideas. They also encourage them to pitch their ideas on stage.
After lunch, the students were split in two groups for an interactive tour through the forum, which is a kind of exhibition about Dräger’s company history as well as the product portfolio and product development history. To kick off the tour, Dräger's corporate image film was shown to the student group. This film had been solely produced for the “cinema” at the company’s headquarter in Lübeck. However, it has been published on youtube later on as well. General Marketing approaches at Dräger were discussed with the students as it is a rather difficult issue to address their "customers" (as it is B2B) through e.g. social media channels. The tour through the forum highlighted the different products for the different markets as well certain products which had been and still are the passion of the Dräger family. A link to the tourism industry was made by showing the students breathing equipment that is used on airplanes in case of an emergency as well. Dräger has also provided training for hotel staff in the past to prepare them in case of a fire.
A film about the “Zukunftsfabrik” (factory of the future) was shown to the students before having a final feedback round and talk with Ms. Musilla.
It was a very interesting and enriching day at Dräger. Everyone had a great time and learned so much about Dräger’s business that day. Thank you to everyone at Dräger for this opportunity.
The day in Lübeck ended with a visit to the Christmas market in the old town of the city.
Veronika Forstmeier, 1st semester, TDS