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GMRG Meeting 2001 - Viña del Mar, Chile

Juegos.gif - 19997 Bytes   The Global Manufacturing Research Group (GMRG) met in Viña del Mar, Chile, in conjunction with the Pan-Pacific Conference. The Pan Pacific meeting ran from May 28th – May 30th and the GMRG meeting started on the 30th and ran until the 2nd of June. Although it was winter in Chile, the climate in Viña del Mar is temperate since it’s located on the seacoast. We were fortunate that the only rain occurred during the meeting sessions, so we had nice weather to see some of that wonderful country. Photo top left is of Juegos Estero Marga-Marga taken from the Viña del Mar web site. Several of the participants visited Santiago, Chile, during the trip and some ventured as far a field as Easter Island.

Chile is almost a mirror reflection of California in the southern hemisphere. Like California, it is known for outstanding wine, copper ore, and agricultural products. It also has one of the better economies in South America. Despite all the attractions, the attendance was light for both meetings, apparently due to the distance and economic concerns around the world. We had about a dozen people involved with the GMRG, including some newcomers. Click on photos below for enhanced images.

pix2a.jpg - 27095 BytesAs part of our joint activities with the Pan-Pacific group, we had a very interesting visit to a winery still managed by monks from an order in Belgium. Their wine is produced from an old grape, grown in Chile for a long time and the process is largely still by hand. It was surprising to see gravity fed bottle fillers and hand corkers. We were also told that they still crush some of the grapes by foot to preserve the tradition. Incidentally the wine was quite good.

As part of the GMRG meeting we visited the Port of Valparaiso. We were surprised at the strong competition they have with their sister port to the south (San Antonio). The Port is working very hard to expand its facilities and smooth the pick up and delivery of general cargo and containers. The port is located in a fairly congested area, so it’s important to manage the flow of trucks. They use a truck holding area outside of town to help and are implementing an extensive web-based information system. It will provide near real-time cargo tracing at the shipper’s location, along the truck route to the Port, holding at the port, movement in the port, loading, in transit, and disembarkation at the point of destination. It is quite an impressive application.

Spain_groupe2.gif - 39452 BytesWe also visited Virginia Wax, a producer of floor waxes, shoe polish and some cleaning solutions. It was not surprising to any of us to learn that one of the more difficult management issues is controlling the number of products that the company produces. Marketing, of course, wants more variety and production wants dedicated mixing vats. The lack of concern for safety struck us all. We watched a worker seal plastic packages of highly inflammable wax with a hot iron. Matteo Kalchschmidt, at his first GMRG meeting, expressed all our feelings by saying, “I wouldn't want to do that!” In many of our visits to companies around the world, we are surprised at the lack of very basic safety measures. Photo includes Benito and Kitty Flores, Basheer Klaumawala and Auturo Macias.

Spain_groupe1.gif - 34011 BytesLest you think that we didn't hold sessions on research, that’s not the case. We were hosted at the Adolfo Ibáñez University in a room that had a beautiful view of Valparaiso, the ocean, and Viña del Mar. We had a presentation from Ana Poratelli on some of the work that she and Nat Natarajan are doing on small - and medium - sized businesses in Argentina. It was Ana’s first GMRG meeting. Arturo Macias presented his work from Mexico where he is using the 3rd GMRG survey for his studies. Arabinda Tripathy, another newcomer to the group, presented his management science work in process industries in India. Jack Wacker reported on some of his work using DEA to look at the relationships between performance and practices in the GMRG database and Benito Flores reported on his preliminary findings concerning forecasting in companies using ERP software. Photo includes Clay and Neva Wybark, Jack Wacker, Attila Chikan and Benito Flores. Click on photos below for enhanced images.

We had dinner overlooking the ocean on a couple of evenings and the meeting concluded with a barbecue at Antonio Kovacevic’s place in Santo Domingo, a small fishing village near Viña del Mar. Antonio has been a member of GMRG for quite some time and is former Dean of the Business School at the Adolfo Ibáñez University. It was a delightful way to close the meeting with marvelous views of the ocean and a wonderful fresh fish barbecue. Click on photos below for enhanced images.

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