For: All Apprentices
Gear-Up English: 1.Year
Objective: Complete your knowledge about your company. What are topics to talk about. Learn & use the the necessary vocabulary. We are working with examples of two typical (hypothetical) types of companies here in Upper-Franconia.
KMK Relevance: Telling detailed information all around your company by the use of appropriate vocabulary (oral part).
Business in Upper-Franconia
„For hundreds of years, the economic region of Upper Franconia has offered business enterprises fertile ground for success. The roots of industrial development, which extend in Upper Franconia far back into the 19th century, still foster the region today and give it a unique economic fingerprint. Upper Franconia’s economic structure features a sustainable mix of industries with a wide range of focuses. Whether active in mechanical engineering, plastics processing, glass production, technical textiles, technical ceramics, electronic devices, optical products or car manufacturing, companies from Upper Franconia are shaping the future of technology.“
[Source: Flyer | Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) Upper-Franconia]
What aspects might be interesting talking about a business of a company?
Draw a mindmap!
A Small-Crafts Enterprise
“Melzer Elektro GmbH” is a small electronic crafts enterprise situated in the northern part of Upper-Franconia. We do electrical installations for private house owners and industrial buildings.
It is a small, family owned company, that was established by Mr. Melzer senior in 1965. He is retired now and his son has taken over the business. His wife works in the office and does the administration.
About 9 people work at my company. There are four technicians and two apprentices. One secretary supports Mrs. Melzer in the office. The boss represents the company to our customers and organizes the construction process.
Structure & Location
The headquarter is located in Mitwitz. It’s a small city near Coburg, which is about 100 km away in the north of Nürnberg. There is a shop where customers can buy household appliances like dishwashers, washing machines or parts for different heating systems.
In the backyard, there is a workshop and a warehouse full of stock where we get all our electrical parts for the installation projects. At the parking area there is space for three company cars and trucks. In the workshop we mostly do pre-installations like metalwork, do repair work, wiring of power cabinets or PLC installation – if necessary.
Products & Services
The majority of our business is the installation of electrical power distribution within buildings. We also do the electrical part in kitchens and bathrooms. Two of my colleagues are responsible for the data networks like telephone or computer networks. One specialty of our company is solar system installations. We often have to install solar panels on the rooves of houses and set up the control systems in the basements of the houses.
About 70% of our customers are private house owners. We do full installations on new homes as well as repair existing parts of the electrical house installation. The other customers are industrial mid-sized companies. Mostly these companies work in the local glass industry or they manufacture car parts for the automotive industry. Our business covers the region around Coburg, Kronach and Lichtenfels. Sometimes we have projects in large cities like Munich.
Mostly I am learning by doing. One of the electricians is a certified master and he is responsible for me. I am working with him on the construction sites. On Friday, I stay in the workshop and my duty includes tidying-up the workshop, do repair work or complete educational projects. These times, my boss gives me advice or he helps me by giving me tasks getting practical experience. Every three weeks I have to go to the vocational school to learn theory in various fields of electrical technology. After three and a half years my apprenticeship ends with an exam at the local chamber of commerce.
A Medium-Sized Company
“Meyer Toolmaker GmbH” is a medium-sized enterprise that produces custom-made machine tools. These tools are made for companies that produce plastic parts for the automotive industry. Mostly they manufacture molds for their injection molding machines used for forming car parts in various shapes and different kinds of plastics.
About 70 years ago Mr. Meyer senior started his business as a blacksmith. When the senior retired, his son Mr. Meyer junior took over the business and developed the company to an international acting business within a few decades. He installed CAD/CAM processes together with modern metal manufacturing machines (CNC-lathes and milling machines). But it is a small family owned company.
The company has about 92 people employed. The majority of them are engineers, technicians and advanced technicians (masters). Around 25 people work in our administrations department. We also have a training workshop that educates around 5 apprentices each year. Our boss is an excellent leader and he represents the company extremely well.
Structure & Location
The headquarter is located in Mitwitz. It’s a small city near Coburg which is about 100 km away in the north of Nürnberg. On the company’s site we have an office building, some buildings for technical innovations (R&D) and two large production halls. Apart from that, there is another productions site in Poland, a sales office in France and a smaller branch in Hamburg.
The company provides a canteen and a small gym on the premises. Visitors can park their cars in the parking lot not far from the main entrance. The company can be accessed by public transport as well (That’s the bus-line 18 and there is a train station about 200m away).
Products & Services
Our molds are very advanced and they are famous for high precision and their sophisticated technical structures. If other companies buy our tools we have engineers who discuss the individual design with the customer. We also offer a livelong support that includes a 24/7 support hotline.
About 90% of our customers are car-part producers. We produce a range of parts like car bumpers, cockpit interiors or parts for car engines. Our other customers work for industrial mid-sized companies. These are mostly companies that work in the local glass-industry .Our territory of business is the region around Coburg, Kronach and Lichtenfels. As well we have some projects in large cities like Munich or Regensburg. Sometimes we do services for international customers.
Apprentices have their own workshops. There are two masters, who give us projects in the field of automation, metal processing and electrical installations. They provide us with tasks in the real production areas to get practical experience. Each three weeks I have to go to the vocational school to learn theory in various fields of electrical technology. After three and a half years my apprenticeship will end with an exam at the local chamber of (industry) and commerce.
10 Review Questions
It’s Upper Franconia, that’s a part in the north of Bavaria.
That’s usually the headquarter.
These are companies to work in the area of mechanical engineering, plastics processing, glass production, technical textiles, technical ceramics, electronic devices or optical product.
These are machines that use injection molding.
They do the administration of a company.
For example dishwashers, washing machines, toasters, mixers, coffee machines, …
That’s usually the power cabinet. Inside you find fuses, contactors and cable terminals.
This could be certified masters, teachers, supervisors or the boss of a (small) company himself.
You get a lot of practical experience.
- The crafts apprentices to that at the local chamber of commerce.
- The apprentices who work in the industry do their exam at the German chamber of industry and commerce.