Exactly half a year after punker GmbH visited the World Market Leaders’ Forum at the boarding school, day school and IB World school Louisenlund, the 16 students of the Louisenlund talent program”plus-MINT” reunited with us in Eckernförde. At the punker headquarters, the emerging talent learned more about a medium-sized company from Schleswig-Holstein, where Mathematics, Information Technology, Natural Sciences and Technology – MINT for short – are used every day – which by the way is also Europe’s market leader in the development and production of radial fan wheels.
Why did the student group visit punker?
Like the Louisenlund Foundation, punker GmbH is a premium partner of the WT.SH partner program “Schleswig-Holstein. The True North.” Contact had already been established at the first World Market Leaders’ Forum with a focus on MINT in Louisenlund. At the subsequent MINT job fair the students showed great interest in the European market leader’s air-movement solutions. punker gladly invited the students and program coordinator Janet Blankenburg Ph.D. to Eckernförde to learn more about the delevoper and manufacturer of radial impellers. A view behind the scenes was, of course, part of their visit. The 16 young talents were given a tour of all production-relevant departments. From the R&D department, to the tooling shop and parts production right up to the wheel assembly and welding. Christian Hornhardt (Head of Technology) and Markus Oberle (Head of Order Fulfillment) answered questions about the market orientation of the punker Group, project cycles of new developments, various production processes, challenges in high-security-sensitive customer applications or the product pricing strategies.
What is the plus-MINT program about?
18 students from classes 9 through 12 currently attend the plus-MINT program at Louisenlund. One thing these students have in common is that they have the enthusiasm and aptitude for Mathematics, Information Technology, Natural Sciences and Technology – in short, MINT. A specially developed curriculum promotes these gifted students. This above-average promotion is adapted to the specific abilities of the students in the respective MINT subjects. The level of the four-year school education course is far above the regular Abitur (german university entrance diploma) level of a regular school and considers all talents, regardless of their social origin or nationality.
The Association for MINT Talent Promotion e. V., along with several plus-MINT boarding schools, offers a promotion of talent for highly qualified students in mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, following the example of the successful promotion of talent by the German Football Association.
We are excited to be part of the program “Business skills for Ph.D.s”, organized by the doctoral candidate’s representation of Kiel University (CAU) and the Education Cluster opencampus.sh. The program offers a unique chance to gain insights into the organization of 8 large companies in Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark.
Last Friday, October 28, 2016, we welcomed 10 doctoral candidates at the punker headquarters in Eckernförde. punker CEO Dr. Henning Bähren gave our guest from Pakistan, Japan and Germany an overview of the punker Group’s history, product portfolio, customer base and company structure before starting off on a tour of our production facilities. The diverse academic background of our visitors (from Electrical Engineering, Material Sciences and Biology to Business Administration) sparked an exciting and versatile subsequent Q&A session and discussion. Topics included Lean Management at punker, possible product or service diversification models and punker’s medium-term growth strategy, as well as career opportunities with Northern German small and medium sized businesses. The doctoral candidates were surprised to learn about the number of modern, successful and internationally aligned businesses in Schleswig-Holstein. This showed us yet again that initiatives like “Schleswig-Holstein. The True North.” (Der echte Norden) and our involvement in the incorporated partner program for businesses in Schleswig-Holstein are of great importance to promote career opportunities for high professionals in the “True North”. punker was the first stop of the program. Over the next three months, the group will visit seven more businesses in Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark:
- 4th of November: Mach3 – The marketer of the three radiostations RSH, delta radio and Radio BOB. Perfect marketing for everyone.
- 18th of November: Macio – User Interface Design and software engineering from one source.
- 25th of November: Die Futter-Manufaktur – Founded in 1870 this family business managed the transformation into an innovative manufactory for forage.
- 2nd of December: FLS – In Heikendorf located Fast Lean Smart is the recognized technology leader in the development and implementation of workforce management, route optimization and mobile solutions in Europe.
- 9th of December: Eisenschmidt Consulting Crew – Their mission is to guide people and companies out of a crisis, support their development and give meaning to economy and life.
- 13th of January: Danfoss – Founded in 1933 the business has grown from a solo enterprise into one of the world’s leading suppliers of energy-efficient and innovative solutions.
- 20th of January: Dräger – Dräger is a leading international company in the fields of medical and safety technology. No matter where Dräger products are used: it’s always about life.
opencampus.sh aims at connecting Kiel’s colleges and universities with businesses and organizations. Students get a chance to apply their knowledge, look into different career options and find their own professional path.
With the entrepreneurship program “job starter”, the opencampus.sh wants to guide and inculcate the entrepreneurial thinking in international students who are interested in launching their own ventures or invest in new business projects, with a lifelong commitment to achieve social and economic progress globally.
punker supports the students’ company connECKt, which advocates the integration of refugees into German society. The cookbooks “Grenzenloses Backen” (Baking without Borders) and “Grenzenloses Kochen” (Cooking without Borders) are now available at the punker Shop.
punker and the Jungmann School in Eckernförde have been working together for many years to provide students insights into working life at a medium-sized local business. When the school’s 11th grade students founded the student company “connECKt”, they contacted punker to discuss how we could support them in running their business. connECKt.
In December 2015, just in time for Christmas, connECKt published their first cookbook “Grenzenloses Backen”. The recipes where gathered during regular cooking events with refugees from the Eckernförde region. Yogurt Cookies, Arabic Clove-and-Almond Biscuits, Chestnut Pie and sweet cake can be easily reproduced at home. The cookbook also includes tantalizing stories from distant cultures and the experiences refugees made on their long and often strenuous journey to Germany.
In April, 2016, the second cookbook “Grenzenloses Kochen” was published. On 121 pages, recipes for appetizers, main courses and desserts can be found, supplemented by facts about the country of origin. Icons indicate the level of difficulty and whether the recipe is vegetarian or gluten free. New stories and pictures taken at the cooking events make this a diverting read.
The students took care of the research, layout and distribution of both books independently – with financial support from local sponsors. The 50-page baking book is being sold for 6,90 Euro and the 121-page cook book for 15,90 Euro at local businesses such as book stores, delis or farmer’s and fish markets.
We are happy to support this inspiring project by selling the books to our employees through our in-house “punker Shop”. The punker Shop is organized by our trainees and sells apparel and other articles like USB-Power Banks from the punker collection.
We look forward to working with connECKt and will keep you updated on this great students’ project.
Last week at punker was all about headphones. In a week long business simulation game, students from 10th grade were assigned the task of running four virtual headphone companies which they named “BUZZ”, “EcutECK”, “Silence” and “QH Soundz”. Each company was represented by a team of 5 to 6 students who were assigned roles of CEO (Chief Executive Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), CCO (Chief Communications Officer), CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer). And punker was happy to share their business premises with these “Executive Boards”.
During each of the 6 “business years”, the Junior Executives had to make up to 37 decisions towards various aspects of managing a business, such as:
- Production operations
- Research & Development
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Upgrading plants and expanding capacity
- Worker compensation and training
- Financing of company operations and investments
- Pricing and marketing
To help prepare the students for their challenging tasks, punker employees presented their scope of responsibilities and explained how far-reaching management decisions are being made at punker.
The students realized quickly that being an Chief Executive means long working hours, a lot of negotiating and persuading and making decisions that affect one another. It also involves a lot of creativity, though. For example in developing a marketing strategy to define how the company should position itself compared to the competition and to define the marketing-mix. The students came up with a lot more than that: individual company logos were being designed, advertising slogans texted, tv commercials performed and sponsoring ideas developed.