BMW manufacturer is a huge employer in the state of South Carolina

The state of the art BMW plant is located just outside the city of Greenville, in Spartanburg county, and has been growing immensely over the past few years. If you live in the upstate of South Carolina, you most likely know or are related to someone that works for BMW or one of their many local suppliers. If you’re traveling through South Carolina in the early Fall take a few hours to check out this plant.

From what I understand BMW is a well paying employer to around 11,000 people at their seven million square-foot campus. If you’re a parts supplies or have anything to do with the automotive industry, you need to be part of the BMW supplier diversity conference! The event is held every year at the beginning of September in upstate SC.

Join them for a special supplier networking and appreciation reception to mark 10 years!

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BMW plant in Spartanburg County

The Spartanburg BMW plant

We visited the plant a little over a year ago. It is the BMW Group producer of the BMW X3, X3 M, X5, X5 M and X7 Sports Activity Vehicles and X4, X4 M, X6 and X6 M Sports Activity Coupes. Let me tell you, the little tour we took of the BMW plant provided us with an eye opener when it comes to robotic auto manufacturing. No cameras allowed inside the manufacturing plant, sorry!

Be sure to read on to learn important insights from previous Supplier Diversity Conference attendees and leave us a comment at the end. Go to the BMW blog to get their latest news and see vehicle spy photos.

But first, take a look at these pictures

from our visit to the BMW showroom.

BMW Isetta on display

Racecar by BMW

Giftstore at BMW in Spartanburg

If you have a chance, you need to experience the Zentrum museum and book a tour of the manufacturing plant. They have really cool cars on display. While you’re at it you might as well book your Performance Drive as well.

Outside the BMW plant in SC

Did you know? BMW Manufacturing has increased the number of minority suppliers by 379% over the past 8 years. That is really impressive, don’t you think? If you’re a parts supplier or have anything to do with the automotive industry, you need to be part of this conference!

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The Keynote Presentation for 2022 is presented by Dion Flynn, he is an Actor & Expert Improvisationalist.

Dion Flynn is a teacher, improviser, comedian, performer, writer, and army veteran best known for his impersonation of Barack Obama on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, among his more than 100 appearances on the show. He is an expert in fun and innovative ways to help people connect with themselves and others.

BMW Supplier Diversity Speakers

Whether you’re a seasoned BMW Diversity Conference attendee or a first-timer, here are some Tips for Success to help prepare you for this two-day diversity event.

Tips for conference attendees

Sally Hughes – CEO/Founder of Castor Connections Inc.

I understand the concept of “stage fright” and how nerves can play a role when making an introduction.

As a Tier 1 Supplier for BMW, Sally Hughes has attended many diversity supplier conferences. She says the most important thing for attendees to remember is to be prepared. “You have to really make sure you’ve upped your game,” Sally says. “In other words, if you want to sell to my company, you have to understand who we are and bring something different or innovative that provides real measurable value to me.”

Carlo White – President & CEO of WH Trucking

The beautiful thing about this event is that you can get in front of people that would normally take months to find.

After attending several matchmaking conferences, Carlo believes preparation is key. “Do the homework. Make a profile of your ideal client before you come. What size are they? Where are they located? What kind of volume do they generate? Then go through the supplier list and find out who fits your profile.”

While research helps jump-start a relationship, Carlo proves that digging deeper can be transformative. “Before the event, I emailed a representative at Tower International and he wrote back and said he was looking forward to meeting me. When I walked up, he was looking for me. After we talked, he mentioned they were putting out a transportation bid soon, and we talked about how I could respond. I walked away with a lead.”

Months later, Carlo’s company received a contract.

John Lasitter – Packaging Engineer Manager, IPS Packaging

“Diverse partnerships can increase the bottom line… That’s a win-win.”

After meeting hundreds of attendees last year, John has distilled his advice to three points:

  1. Be confident.
  2. Know what you do best.
  3. If it’s not the right fit, be willing to walk away.

“We want to meet every person who walks up, but keep in mind we’re looking for suppliers who can fulfill very specific needs,” he says. “I think the key is to know what you do best, and then stick to it. That kind of confidence builds trust with me right away.”

Register for the BMW Conference

The tips supplied by the three suppliers above are not just valid for the BMW conference, but for any type of conference or business gathering. Be prepared, practice your elevator speech and show confidence! Connect with and learn from your fellow small business owners. There are some mistakes you can avoid if you know what to watch out for.

What are your thoughts on BMW cars and the plant? Leave us a comment below and let us know about your experience.

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