SINDELFINGEN, Germany -- Daimler's Mercedes-Benz unit is reorganizing its manufacturing operations along vehicle architectures to improve flexibility, lift productivity and reduce fixed costs in order to limit investments for each model line.
Called Mercedes-Benz Operations (MO), the system moves away from a manufacturing network controlled by individual factories to a leaner system centered around vehicle architectures and model lines.
The system will eliminate the need for individual plant directors, instead appointing four senior managers for each of the brand's architectures. The managers will be responsible for production of all model ranges that draw on the same modular components.
"Under our previous production structure, the individual plants operated largely autonomously. Now, manufacturing will be organized according to product architectures, independent of individual locations," Mercedes production boss Markus Schaefer told reporters in Sindelfingen, Germany, today.
Mercedes named Andreas Kellerman, previously head of its Bremen plant in Germany, as the new production manager for the real-wheel-drive architecture MRA, which will eventually underpin the upmarket model ranges C class, E class and S class.
Michael Goebel, who had overseen roadster production in Bremen, is now in charge of global compact car production, which includes the A class and B class as well as the CLA sedan, GLA crossover and CLA Shooting Brake. These models are underpinned by the MFA front-wheel-drive architecture.
Production of SUVs, including the M-, GL- and G-class models using the MHA platform will be run by Jason Hoff, CEO of Mercedes' U.S. plant in Vance, Alabama. He will also be in charge of the MSA architecture for sports cars such as the SL and SLK.
Peter Schabert will remain in his position as global head of powertrain production using the MPA architecture.
Mercedes intends to reduce capital investments and lower fixed costs by standardizing and modularizing the tools and equipment used in its manufacturing plants. Another key factor is a centralized supply chain management, where Schaefer sees huge potential for efficiency gains.