Which state in the United States has the highest foreign direct investment (FDI) per capita? The answer might surprise you: South Carolina, which topped the list of FDI figures by 2.35 billion in 2015. Located far from the northeast and west coast cities, South Carolina’s main industries were cotton, tobacco and other plantation crops before the Civil War. Today, there are 1,200 large international enterprises settled here, including BMW, Haier, Daimler Benz , Volvo, Boeing, Starbucks, Bosch, Michelin and others.
BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, SC, is its first attempt to build a plant outside Germany, how has it grown to be BMW’s largest production plant in the world? What can Chinese manufacturers learn from BMW’s operations and personnel development system?
WholeRen led a group of mid-level managers from a well-known Chinese manufacturing company to BMW Spartanburg. Max Metcalf, Manager of Government and Community Relations, met with us first. The plant, which employs more than 8,800 employees, was built in 1992 with an initial investment of $ 600 million and was put into operation in 1994 to produce the BMW 318i Sedan, Z3 and Z4 Coupe and all X Series models including the latest X7, with an annual output of 450,000, of which about 70% are export products.
Referring to BMW’s decision to set up the plant 16 years ago, Mr. Metcalf mentioned that the developed transportation in South Carolina, a series of favorable policy incentives, and the high level of workforce readiness directly contributed to the establishment of BMW Spartanburg.
Subsequently, out of interest in human resource management and talent development, we traveled to the newly-built Campus Training Center in BMW and conducted in-depth communication with Mr. Ryan Childers, Manager of Apprentice & Associate Training at Human Resources. During the discussion, Mr. Childers talked about BMW’s talent development program focusing on both students in school and current employees on various levels.
The visit to BMW provided our group with first-hand, in-depth understanding of BMW’s overseas investment decision-making and talent development system. The trainees themselves are from different positions, resulting in a wide array of takeaways among themselves. The training also gave a different perspective on South Carolina’s unique history and development direction. WholeRen Executive Develop Program believes that a deep understanding of our clients’ training needs and long-term vision will help create accurate and diversified training programs. Since its establishment, we have always adhered to the training philosophy of embracing the future with multi-angle and multi-format approach, from a historical perspective. We invite experts from academia and politics to provide insights to trainees from the aspects of corporate strategy, investment environment, policy, supply chain management as well as other aspects of training. Combining lectures, case studies, Q & A, on-site teaching, simulation exercises and other training forms, an in-depth communication with BMW really highlighted their training in South Carolina.