China Study Tour 2016 – Day 8 (Two)

Written by: Nevill Shah and Tapan Gupta (MBA Candidates)

May 9, 2016

Meeting with Bret Walter

Our day started at 8.30 am, as the group boarded the bus to meet Mr. Bret Walter, who is from Calgary and has been doing business in China over the last two decades. Bret’s company Highkelly Industries is in the business of manufacturing oil rig machinery for companies located in Canada, the United States, and other oil producing regions. Bret highlighted the manufacturing efficiencies in China, the most crucial being the lead production time. Bret has been a long standing supporter for Canadians eager to do business in China.

Visit to GM Shanghai

After the delicious organic lunch sponsored by Mr. Bret Walter, the Alberta MBA students visited the General Motors Shanghai production facility where Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac brand automobiles are manufactured. GM Shanghai manufactures 1200 cars every day with a production time of 90 – 120 minutes per car. All the cars are made for the Chinese market. In one hour, we walked through the body assembly, interior assembly, and quality control units of the production facility. It was an amazing experience to watch the fully automated assembly line and how lean production is important for business today.


The evening schedule comprised of tailor fittings. Some group members had vouched for tailor made formal attire and were glad to receive their tailor made orders. The remainder of the evening was free for city sightseeing. It was a rainy day in Shanghai and we decided to enjoy it as the Bund area at Shanghai fits the bill well for such weather. The Bund is a waterfront overlooking Shanghai’s financial district. The views are simply flabbergasting.