Research Stay at SDM / Johannes Plehn

In October 2011 I joined the Business Engineering Laboratory (led by Prof. Nakano) in the Graduate School of System Design and Management (SDM) at Keio University for a 6 week research stay. During that time I had the opportunity to deepen my research in the area of energy and resource efficient production systems. Especially, through discussions with industrial experts working in the field of EcoFactory and Environmental Performance Measurement, I received valuable input for my research topic and gained insights in the status quo of Japanese Manufacturing. Additionally, by discussing my experiences with researchers at Keio University I was able to condense the key aspects and to deploy this input in the research project I am currently working on in Switzerland. Moreover, I think there is a high potential for collaborations with some of the people I met. Actually, I started to write a paper with one researcher I met during my stay in Japan. Before I went to Japan I was not sure, if this will turn out that well. I heard in advance that it is sometimes difficult to get in touch with Japanese companies and researchers. Retrospectively, it was not the case at all. With the support of SDM I was able to meet very interesting and especially the appropriate persons dealing with my research topic and to exchange knowledge in a common area of interest. Apart from the success of my visit from a research perspective, I would like to point out the importance of the stay for my personal development. I very much enjoyed discovering Japanese culture and way of life by spending great time with new friends and colleagues. I travelled Japan twice before and I thought I know the country quite well. Retrospectively, I need to admit that I had only a rough idea. Through my stay I had the opportunity to gain insights in the mindset of the people by participating in daily life and to experience the beauty of that country from a totally new angle. My research stay at Keio University convinced me how important it is to study abroad. First, it helps to understand the increasing interdependence of global markets and cultures. Second, it is a precondition to develop a professional and social network to act within these global markets and cultures, successfully. Third, it supports one’s personal development by being faced with a complete new environment. Therefore, I hope other students from abroad will also have the opportunity to study at SDM as I am convinced that they will have a great time here.