Production and logistics in sync: new industrial park supplies the assembly of Mercedes-Benz C-Class at Bremen plant

DaimlerChrysler and Schenker Deutschland officially put the industrial park in Bremen, Germany into operation with a symbolic handover of keys in the presence of the State Senator for Economics Ralf Nagel and approximately 100 guests from the political, business and public administration sectors on Friday. Hans-J’rg Hager, Chairman of the Board of Management of Schenker Deutschland AG, and Peter Schabert, Head of the DaimlerChrysler production plant in Bremen, praised the new industrial park as an ingenious and highly efficient interface between external logistics and production. On the occasion of the start of production of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the industrial park was tailored specifically to supply the parts and vehicle modules for the assembly of this series at the Bremen production plant. The logistics experts at Schenker Deutschland AG will use the park to combine parts provided by more than 20 sub-suppliers and then route them to and in sequence with the assembly lines down to the second.

According to Peter Schabert, ‘the basis for our actions is always what our customers want. And they want more individual features, so much so that practically no two identical cars leave the assembly line. The industrial park is an important facility for the Bremen production plant because it helps us ensure that our customers receive their customized vehicle as quickly as possible and by the agreed delivery date.’

Pointing to the global remit of logistics, Hans-J’rg Hager explained: ‘Supply chains are becoming increasingly global. Nowadays parts arrive from every continent. That means supply logistics and controlling the supply chain are becoming increasingly complex and more demanding activities.’

At present Schenker Deutschland introduces about 21,000 vehicle parts and modules per day to DaimlerChrysler’s production process in Bremen. Around 100 Schenker employees unload roughly 50 trucks, which bring parts from German, European and overseas suppliers, at the industrial park’s goods-in area every day. The parts are then booked, put into buffer storage and delivered on demand to the plant, six kilometers away. Controlling the flow of information is just as important as delivering vehicle parts to assure the production supply is undisrupted. The experts at Schenker coordinate the entire traffic in goods between sub-suppliers and the plant at the industrial park. Supported by a state-of-the-art IT system, they register goods in and goods out in both directions and, once DaimlerChrysler confirms the call for delivery of parts signal, they commission them from the buffer storage and provide them for delivery to the plant by group trucks. On average it takes about five hours from the call-for-delivery signal to Schenker to the part being fitted into the vehicle. Time-critical components such as vehicle specific wiring harnesses and instrument panel harnesses, which, if missing, would bring the assembly lines to a complete standstill, are brought to the assembly line directly by Schenker experts in a specially supervised procedure. The industrial park runs on two or three-shift operations analogous to production with an average of 116 runs (3-shift operations) per day between the plant and the park. Bundling supplies saves several hundred truckloads being delivered by various different sub-suppliers and then having to be handled directly at the plant.

This sophisticated logistics solution makes the industrial park in Bremen one of the most modern of its kind in the entire world. Construction began in December 2005 and the park has been phased into operation since October 1, 2006; with the production of Mercedes-Benz’ new C-Class at the Bremen plant accelerating this process. The industrial park already provides jobs for a workforce of over 300, including suppliers’ staff. With a covered surface area of 27,000 square meters, the park can be extended by a further 30,000 square meters.