FAG Group

FAG, with over $2 billion in revenues and 18,000 employees, manufacturers conveyor systems, industrial sewing machines and is one of the world's biggest producers of bearings. Head halfway between Frankfurt and Nuremberg and you come to Schweinfurt, an unexciting working class city. Across the street from the train station and adjacent to a company plant is where one finds the head office. The four-story building isn't hard to miss since there's a giant sign atop the building with the "FAG" name is big letters. The interior looks like the exterior-blah. Near the reception counter are eight display cases filled with the various types of bearings produced by FAG. Visitors can sit and wait at any of the half dozen tables placed on one side of the lobby.

After 30 minutes of waiting, an intern from corporate communications comes down to the lobby and escorts me up to an office with several other co-workers. It seems the head of corporate communications isn't in today. So? Well, while I sit there the three of them talk amongst themselves in German for 10 minutes and then come to the conclusion that they can't help me. I tell them this is a one time deal for me and it wasn't easy getting to this out-of-the-way city. I explain how general and easy the questions are. Nope, nothing works with these people. No one is willing to ask around other departments for assistance. No one shows flexibility or taking the initiative. Typical German. I leave steamed and wishing they produced consumer products so I could boycott them.