Continental AG GDL visit

Mike Tornatore (Student): Today we visited Continental AG located in Guadalajara, Mexico. We learned that they are currently third in the world for the supply of automotive parts. They merged with Siemens VDO Guadalajara in 2007 after retaining all of the workers from their respective production lines. This was an impressive acquisition, allowing Continental to minimize training costs and utilize all of the Siemens technology on the premises. This particular branch of Continental is built to produce many different CPU units for a wide range of applications for anything from automated driving systems to fuel injection and air to fuel mix control. They also produce power train systems such as sensors, transmission/hydraulic actuators. Last but definitely not least, ten minutes down the road is their R&D facility where they pump out innovative ideas daily that keep Continental AG a leader in the auto industry.

After our group dressed in full suits that protected Continentals’ production components from static electricity, we started the tour. Throughout the tour we were shown how many of their electrical components are put together. Hundreds of machines were at work, soldering tiny components to empty computer wafers moving faster than the eye can see. It was amazing to see how clean they kept the whole factory. While we were on our tour, many young men even wiped the light bulbs to clear them of dust.

We also saw how close the workforce was; we walked by a cafeteria where many workers mingled as they ate lunch, talking about their families or how their weekend faired. Continental stays on top of their goals. This was portrayed by a board outside the locker rooms of the employees. On the board were five areas of operation where improvement was needed. Atop each area of concern was a yellow light or green, letting an onlooker know what areas still needed attention. Some of the concerns where decreasing on location accidents, improving cycle time, decreasing customer order lag, or even financial discrepancies.  It was an insightful and interesting experience. A big thanks to Continental AG GDL.

Unfortunately cameras were not allowed.


  1. CU blog

    I was amazed by the cleanliness and clean precautions in the Continental visit. I wouldn’t have thought that our static electricity would have an effect on the process, but it seemed to be important to the workers. This, and the speed and precision of the machines were really what stuck out to me during the visit. It may not have been the most informational visit, as a lot of the machines were covered or not operating, but there were definitely valuable aspects to take away from here.

  2. Steven Prentice

    I thought this particular business visit was interesting. Although the security was rather extensive from the metal detectors and the company holding our IDs I was not deterred from the experience. We had to put on static protective gear which I have never done before. I though the machines were very interesting because of how much material they process. The only thing that would have been better is if we could have toured more of the facility.
    Steven Prentice

  3. CU blog

    Continental was an interesting visit. First, dressed up in full gear to avoid static electricity was the most dressed up we had to be out of all of our business visits. After getting in the plant, I found it interesting how many machines were working with only a few operators supervising and making sure things were running smoothly.
    Nolan Driscoll

  4. Jake

    Continental was a cool busniess visit. I was a little disappointed that we only got to see a fraction of the facility. Our tour guide was also not very efficient as she was only in the human resource division and had only one year under her belt. I would have liked to see where they made all the sensors for their vehicles.

  5. CU blog

    It was great to see the brains of Volkswagen develop right in front of us!!!!!

    A much larger Continental acquired Siemens, but Siemens did not disappear. Siemens had the talented workforce and active processes in place. This was a win win…from the production aspect. However, I learned that during this transition Six Sigma was lost. Continental had already implemented Six Sigma and Siemens their own version called “Basics” and the home grown version won out. That may have been a decision of management to ease the transition. The production floor supervisor and our tour guide both informed us that now Continental is planning re-activate Six Sigma. Costs upon costs upon time upon time! Charlene Marisol

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