The Germans have a manufacturing nerve centre that spans the globe, including the production of wooden flooring. But we Brits, it seems that making wooden flooring is just too much of a headache for us.
If you’ve never been to Germany, and lot of us haven’t, unless of course you were a football fan watching one of our teams being thrashed somewhere in Munich, then go and visit. And take a large suitcase with you too; because once you’ve flown down the autobarmy at 200 miles an hour, and sampled their uber efficiency, you won’t want to come home.
The only word I could think of using and repeating for 3 solid days until I became delirious with the sound of my own reasoning, was ‘why’. Why can’t we make this in England, why doesn’t this work as well in England, why can’t we manufacture this in England, and why on earth can’t we manufacture wooden flooring. And then it dawned on me that despite our government telling us on a daily basis that we are about to conquer Europe with our exports, we hardly make anything. Go on, name 5 internationally known British brands that are actually owned by anybody British. Jaguar – owned by Tata, Bentley – owned by Volkswagen, Rolls Royce – owned by BMW, Cadbury – American. And the list goes on. Weetabix -Chinese, Walkers Crisps – Japanese, even the vinegar we pour on our fish and chips isn’t a British company any more. But there’s worse. Our Terry’s chocolate orange. It’s not ours. It’s owned by the Yanks, and the orange factory’s in Poland. It’s about as British as salami.
The Germans on the other hand make lots of things, and annoyingly, they make lots of things brilliantly well. Just look at the list.BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Porsche, Addidas, Reebok, Hugo Boss, Bosch, Miele. We may as well just rename England to ‘The Blue Peter State’, because compared to the might of German manufacturing, that’s exactly what we must look like. And it’s embarrassing.
So why are the Germans so successful? Well, it may interest you to note that behind every great German company, is not a great German woman. In fact, you will probably be shocked to learn that you will be hard pushed to find hardly any women in the German workplace that hold managerial positions. Personally, I think it’s disgraceful, misogynistic, medieval, unethical, and downright…….well, downright brilliant. And before all you girlies become hysterical with rage and want to strangle me with your bras, I will tell you why, because its fascinating. Traditionally, German women have stuck with the 3K’s, ‘Kinder, Kuche, und Kirche (Children Kitchen and Church) Whilst this isn’t absolutely steadfast anymore, it still seems to be a conservative belief in Germany that woman shouldn’t try and mange two jobs, and neither are they expected to. Instead, they stick to one important job of raising a family in the hope of breeding the next Karl Benz. Seems like it’s working to me.
So, why is it that the Germans have dozens of companies manufacturing high quality engineered wooden flooring or laminate flooring, and we don’t have any? And before some manufacturer in England calls me screaming hysterically claiming they make engineered floors, no they don’t. They make multilayered wooden floors like a few of us do. It’s not the same. And as far as I know, there are no wooden floor manufacturer in the UK that actually exports any products.
And the Germans ? Haro Parquet. Represented in 90 countries round the world, manufacturing high quality wooden flooring and employing 2000 staff. Kronoflooring. Represented in 90 countries around the globe with a production facility of 360,000m2, with blah blah blah.
I’m not continuing with this exercise because I’m becoming clinically depressed.
But there is one little saving grace. Turgon. We may not manufacture engineered wooden floors, but we sold one of our hand made wooden floors to a German Design company. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the equivalent of a knighthood and a Nobel Prize. They asked more questions in one meeting than 500 six year olds on a school trip to Bridlington, and it was a pleasure answering all of them. The whole process was so thorough and made so easy, that I’ve decided to surprise the Germans with our own uber efficiency. I can’t tell you in case they read this, so you’ll have to wait a few months.
But I did discover one little problem with the German master plan to take over manufacturing in Europe. I bought a German made ‘Fanatec’ steering wheel for my Xbox360 so I could play Forza Motorsport, and show my daughters snotty male friends who’s king of the race circuit. I spend 30 minutes rigging the whole thing up expecting German precision to allow me to race like Lewis Hamilton. And guess what ? It didn’t work. I spent another hour faffing around trying to get it to work, until I found the problem, which I traced to a little label on the inside of the box which read…….
Made in China.