Mercedes-Benz revamps manufacturing operations along vehicle architectures

Article by Christian A., on September 12, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is revamping its manufacturing operations along vehicle platforms in a bid to increase flexibility, improve productivity and cut fixed costs – all for limiting investments for each model line. The system, dubbed as Mercedes-Benz Operations (MO), is shift from a manufacturing network controlled by individual sites to a new yet leaner system focused on architectures and model lines.

MO will drop the need to tap individual plant directors, but will instead call for four senior managers to handle each of the brand's architectures. These managers will be in charge of production of all model ranges underpinned by the same platform.

Mercedes production boss Markus Schaefer, remarked that the previous production structure had individual sites operating almost autonomously. In the new system, manufacturing is organized according to product architectures, regardless of individual locations.

As part of the revamp, Mercedes named Andreas Kellerman, formerly chief of its Bremen site as the new production manager for the MRA real-wheel-drive architecture that will be the base for the C class, E class and S class.

Mercedes also named Michael Goebel as production manager for the MFA front-wheel-drive architecture that will underpin the A class and B class as well as the CLA sedan, GLA crossover and CLA Shooting Brake.

The carmaker likewise appointed Jason Hoff as in charge of output for vehicles underpinned by the MHA architecture the M-, GL- and G-class models as well as those sitting on the MSA architecture such as the SL and SLK sports cars. The company has retained Peter Schabert as global head of powertrain production using the MPA architecture.

Mercedes is seeking to cut capital investments while reducing fixed costs by standardizing and modularizing the tools and equipment in its sites. Mercedes could also gain efficiency gains by having a centralized supply chain management. Schaefer remarked that Daimler will assess which activities should be done in-house and should be outsourced. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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