Category Archives: Netherlands Trip

NACCO in Greenville and Nijmegen

Meredith, Accounting, Chesapeake VAToday was our tour of NACCO-Nijmegen, a manufacturing facility in the Netherlands that builds and tests big trucks that move crate boxes and are sold throughout the world. NACCO is actually an American company with a lot of Japanese characteristics that really help set it apart from other companies throughout Europe and the U.S. Ironically enough, the NACCO headquarters are located in Greenville, North Carolina—less than a 15-minute drive from the East Carolina campus. We learned also that the machinery is transported by barge to the U.S., and we have the largest market for large trucks and machinery.

Meredith at NACCO

The office in the Netherlands is entirely different than the office in Greenville because it actually builds the trucks that we sell in the U.S. When we walked in the doors of NACCO bright and early this morning, my immediate reaction was to notice all of the primary colors. The warehouse and manufacturing facility looked like a little boy’s toy room. The bright yellow, blue, and red all reminded me of Legos, and the men who worked diligently at their stations looked like happy little boys putting puzzles together.

Meredith at NACCO

The most obvious sight in the facility wasn’t how many large vehicles the warehouse contained, or the signs that described the stations, but instead the attitudes of the men working. Every single person we passed looked like they enjoyed their job. But, then again, who wouldn’t enjoy working on a truck that can lift over 40 tons of crates three rows deep and also get to drive their work around the factory? It truly seemed to be any little boy’s dream! After an extensive tour of the facility, we were able to stand on one of the bigger trucks. When we stood next to the tires, it was amazing how they still towered over us. I haven’t had too much experience with large trucks, so I was giddy to stand next to it and see the distance from my head to the top of the tire.

Meredith at NACCO

The factory has so much heavy equipment that we had strict rules as we walked through. We had to stay on the maroon path at all times for safety reasons because if something went wrong, it could cost us our life in moments. The safety restrictions in the facility make their regulations very strict to try to avoid any issues that could result from negligence. We also noticed NACCO’s focus on Japanese supply-chain styles. The company works on a kanban or pull method, which means they do not build anything until there is a request for it. This type of work is very different than methods that we are used to in the U.S. We are focused on having machinery, food, and utilities handy just “in case” someone wants to buy them; this is called the push method and is also very popular. The kanban method is very successful because NACCO doesn’t have to pay to house unwanted machinery in warehouses and will significantly decrease costs for the company because they can avoid losing money.

Although I have done a lot of projects and studied supply-chain methods in classes this past semester, I haven’t been able to experience actual operations management before. I really enjoyed the chance to visit a manufacturing facility because it gave me an entirely different perspective and really helped me understand how machinery is built.

Study Hard Play Hard

Trent, Finance, Camden NCAfter such a productive and successful Fourth of July yesterday, it was very hard to get moving and start the day. After getting ready for the company visit and making my way to meeting everybody at the bus stop, I could tell I wasn’t the only one feeling it from the cookout we had the night before to celebrate America’s birthday. Once we made our way as a group to the central bus station in Nijmegen to transfer buses, we were able to grab something to eat for breakfast, and I started to see the life coming back into everybody’s faces. We all traveled to the bus stop as a group and boarded the next bus on our way to our scheduled meeting with the company NACCO and their representatives. They greeted us as soon as we got there with refreshments, and once they got to know everyone a little bit, they talked and presented with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation about NACCO and its company plan and processes.

Trent at NACCO

It was a bit overwhelming hearing every detail that goes into the production of the big trucks. From safety signals being displayed all around the assembly line, to the special lines painted on the ground to specify when the truck is ready to move forward in the production, the people at NACCO definitely have a effective and successful system when producing their high and low volume forklifts, cargo pullers, and trucks. While touring around NACCO, it was so interesting to see how effective everyone was and how they were making good use of their time. Our tour guide explained to us that since their products are in such high demand, the company can cut its cost by only ordering and inventorying what is needed for the day in production so there isn’t a lot of back stock in the warehouse using up valuable space and storage. After about a two-hour tour, we can back and were debriefed as a group and said good-bye to the associates at NACCO and went back on the bus to return to Groesbeek.

Making our way into Groesbeek, a few of the group members and I got off the bus in town and grabbed a bite to eat after our long day at the NACCO facilities. The only thing that was open today was a bakery serving pastries and other baked goods, along with mini baked pizzas that I had to try. We made our way back to the Seven Hill’s villas and the boys and I started researching and brainstorming and after Googling a few places to stay in Amsterdam for the night, we decided it would be a good idea to check out the rapper Curren$y and the concert that he was putting on at the Melkweg warehouse.

Trent at the Backstage Hotel

We arrived in Amsterdam and made our way to the Melkweg warehouse to purchase a ticket before they all sold out. Immediately following that we walked one more block and found the hotel that we were going to stay at called The Backstage. The hotel was Rock and Roll music themed with elegant rooms that had amplifier cases as headboards and snare drums for ceiling lights. We lucked out and got a corner room, which overlooked the Melkweg warehouse and the canals.  The concert started at 9 p.m., so we made our way to the Bulldog Café, and the guys and I enjoyed a nice meal and beverages before we went to the Curren$y concert. We made our way to the front, and we could all touch the stage. Curren$y came out, and I was floored by how many people were shouting and screaming for him on stage. The concert was a success and Curren$y was way better in concert than I ever expected.

Trent at the Melkweg Warehouse

Sightseeing

Timothy, Information and Computer Technology, Camden NCOn our free day in the Netherlands, I found myself in Amsterdam. I stayed overnight because I attended a concert the night before. The hotel I stayed at was called the Backstage Hotel, and it looked like it had housed many musicians in the past. The lights over the bar were made out of old drum sets, and musicians had left their signatures all over the black surfaces with white ink. The lamps on the walls were made out of old saxophones and glowed in different colors. The hotel also had guitars and amps available for guests to play at their leisure.

Timothy at the Backstage Hotel

When I left the hotel, I decided to visit the Vincent van Gogh Museum. I was able to purchase my ticket at a currency converter, which let me to bypass the huge line for tickets! I had to walk across the Museumplein to get there, which is a huge grassy area where people were lounging about. Also, there was a large wading pool and giant “i amsterdam” sign. Across the Museumplein, I could see the concert building, which hosts around 650 concerts a year that attract up to 840,000 visitors, making it the world’s busiest concert hall. Walking across the Museumplein, I snapped many pictures, but they don’t do any justice to the magnificence of seeing it up close. I finally made my way to the museum after examining all the sights across the Museumplein.

Timothy in Amsterdam

Timothy touring Museums

The Vincent van Gogh Museum contains the most paintings by van Gogh in the world, boasting over 200 paintings, 437 drawings, and 31 prints. The museum also provides a historical analysis of van Gogh’s life and inspirations. In case you didn’t know, Vincent van Gogh took up painting in 1860, and his works inspired many artists in the 20th century. Van Gogh struggled with madness, and after admitting himself to an asylum, he shot himself in the chest. Throughout his career, he sold one painting, but his works are much more sought after today! The layout of the museum had me walking through different periods in van Gogh’s life starting with his earliest work on the first floor. As I progressed my way through the building, I viewed how he applied different styles and techniques to his artwork throughout his career.

Timothy touring Museums

In addition to van Gogh, the museum also carries artwork from other 19th century artists including impressionists, post-impressionists, van Gogh’s friends, those who inspired him, and those who were inspired by him. The museum consists of two buildings, but I only had enough time to visit the main building. Before I left the museum, I checked out the museum shop on the ground floor and picked up some goodies. As I walked out of the building and went around the back, I found more stores selling shirts with van Gogh artwork on them, so I picked up a couple of those, too. Finally, my journey was complete and I started my long walk across Amsterdam to the train station, where my final destination was Groesbeek for our farewell dinner.

Work and Leisure

Nicole, Accounting, Brevard NCToday started off like a regular day here in Groesbeek. Our group had to be up early this morning because we had a company visit planned to NACCO Industries. We all met at the bus stop to make the trip to Nijmegen, where the company is located. Upon our arrival at NACCO, we were greeted with cold drinks and candy. An employee representative then proceeded to show us a couple of slideshows while he presented information about the company.

After his presentation, we split into two groups and were given a tour of the company’s materials handling group. We saw the production lines of the Hyster and Yale brands in action. Throughout the tour, it was interesting to see the logistics of NACCO and how the company is run.

Nicole at NACCO

Once our tour was over, we made our way back to the bus stop and from there, we caught a ride back to Nijmegen. Once we got to the Nijmegen bus station, a couple of friends and I bought our train tickets to Amsterdam for our last day in Europe. Then, we caught the next bus back to Groesbeek to finish the rest of the day as we wished. Amber, Nigel and I decided to walk into Groesbeek to get lunch at an Egyptian pizza place called Cairo. We split a salami pizza that tasted delicious. It was unlike any pizza I’ve ever tasted in the U.S. Afterwards, we wanted to walk around and explore the city of Groesbeek. We happened to find a huge old-fashioned windmill in the center of the city. Ironically, this was the first old-fashioned windmill that I’ve seen since my stay in the Netherlands, so I thought it was really neat. The Netherlands is known for their windmills and is home to over 1,000 of them.

Nicole in front of a Windmill

After walking a while and seeing the quaint town, we decided to head back to the Seven Hills Resort where we are staying. There we decided to just hang out and relax. We rented bikes and rode around the resort and along the roads of Groesbeek. Once we were hungry for dinner, we caught a bus into Nijmegen to eat at a restaurant recommended by Nigel who had eaten there earlier in the week. The restaurant was called Terra Rossa and served Italian-style cuisines. Everyone ordered a different dish and the food was great. After dinner, we waited at the bus stop to go back to Groesbeek and talked with some locals we met. I found it very interesting that they were all saying how badly they want to come to America to live while they also said that they think Americans are loud and a little superficial. It is very interesting to see the differences between America and the Netherlands. I have found many differences in the foods, the dress styles, the transportation, the physical appearances, the laws, the cost of living, etc. Talking with the local people of the country and through my studies at Han University, I have learned a lot and I am very intrigued by all the differences I’ve seen so far. I only wish I had more time to spend here in this beautiful country.