Chair of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

How does a medium-sized company expand to China and manage its international business activities?

Company visit at EWM AG, Mündersbach

As part of the course “International Management” in the second semester of the Bachelor of Science program, 65 students visited the EWM AG in order to gain first hand insights into the internationalization of a medium-sized enterprise. EWM is located in the heart of the Western forest and specializes in welding solutions. It is one of the largest producers of arc welding technologies. Susanne Szczesny-Oßing, chairwoman of the supervisory board, welcomed the students and gave a company presentation with the topic “modern production in German Mittelstand”. This way, the students learned about industry trends as well as the company and its products.

Afterwards, Dr. Hong Zhang gave a presentation focusing on the international activities of EWM in China. The company has an own production and sales site in Kunshan since 2001. He first explained how EWM initially expanded to China with a joint venture, which subsequently became a wholly-owned subsidiary. Dr. Zhang also described the challenges associated with doing business in China and how EWM achieved to produce with the same quality standards in China as in Germany. This way, the company is able to meet the growing demand for components and welding machines with quality “Made in Germany”. The presentation by Dr. Zhang was a great learning opportunity for the students to set the theoretical frameworks discussed in previous lectures of the course into a practical perspective.

Finally, the class also visited the production sites of EWM and got a first impression of the company’s value chain activities and production processes. In the firm-internal technology center, EWM also performed a practical demonstration of its welding technology products. The students were especially fascinated by the combination of modern robotics with welding technologies.

Overall, the students gained important insights into the management of an international, medium-sized firm. Susanne Szczesny-Oßing also drew a very positive conclusion of the company visit by the management students: “The exchange with local universities is very important for us as a medium-sized, family-owned business. We want to achieve that highly-qualified young people from the region become enthusiastic about the companies located in the Western forest”.

The IHK-Chair of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and its students highly appreciated the opportunity to visit EWM and would like to thank all company representatives involved in organizing the company visit.