Mercedes-Benz is changing fundamentally and at high speed. The mission is clear: to build the world’s most desirable cars. At the same time, the challenges have never been greater – past as well as those to come. The path to becoming a modern luxury and technology company can only be successfully completed in cooperation with a strong team of suppliers. In times of limited opportunities for encounters, one thing is more important than ever: dialogue. With this focus, this year’s Mercedes-Benz Supplier Circle took place in the customer center in Sindelfingen. On a historic day, as Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, pointed out in his keynote speech. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed as the first manned mission on the moon and has been considered the mother of all technology “moonshots” ever since.
And – it was a team effort. Because: Neil Armstrong could not have made it without his companions and crew. The same also applies to the future of Mercedes-Benz. Only together with our valued suppliers can we be successful, bring innovations onto the road and set standards for the sustainable mobility of tomorrow. “Strong together,” as Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Office responsible for development and procurement, summed it up.
„Mercedes-Benz's goal is to be CO2-neutral by 2039 - we can only achieve this core objective of our Ambition 2039 together with our partners. Together with them, we are continuously working on making our entire value chain even more sustainable - from technical development to the extraction of raw materials, to production, service life and recycling. At the same time, our customers rely on what Mercedes-Benz has always stood for: quality and innovation. In order to keep this promise, we need the most innovative and efficient partners worldwide.“
In line with the tradition of the former Daimler Supplier Award, outstanding performance by supplier partners was recognized again this year and awarded in the categories of innovation, quality and sustainability in the procurement departments, International Procurement Services (PS) and Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement & Supplier Quality (MP). A total of six winners were delighted to receive the awards, which hosts Andreas Burkhart, Head of IPS, and Gunnar Güthenke, Head of MP, presented to them personally.
„After more than two years of the pandemic, two things were particularly important to us: saying thank you and intensifying personal dialogue. The success of Mercedes-Benz depends to a large extent on how well we work together with our suppliers and are coordinated – with our strategy and our challenges. The many valuable discussions during the event underlined how important this exchange is, especially in the current time.“
„At Mercedes-Benz we aim to build the world’s most desirable cars – and to be number 1 in the luxury segment. Products such as the new EQS SUV, which the participants were able to get to know on site, clearly show: Quality, groundbreaking innovations and sustainability are not just a brand promise – they are the basis and link on the way to the all-electric future. The same applies to our suppliers: without them there would not be a single production line and not a single highly flexible factory that rolls these fantastic vehicles off the production line. The Supplier Circle finally gave us the space to thank your partners personally.“
After the keynotes and the award ceremony, the guests were able to discuss the common path to the future of mobility with the members of the board Markus Schäfer, Jörg Burzer and Renata Jungo Brüngger in three dialogue zones on the topics of innovation, quality and sustainability.
Supplier Award Innovation
Andreas Burkhart & Gunnar Güthenke honor the winners in the category Innovation: Microsoft Corporation (IPS) & Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited, CATL (MP)
f.r.t.l. Andreas Burkhart, Head of IPS, Marianne Janik, Managing Director Microsoft Germany, Matthias Zentgraf, Regional President Europe, Gunnar Güthenke, Head of MP
Microsoft Corporation – Winner of the category innovation for IPS
Redmond, USA is the headquarters of Microsoft Corporation and home of outstanding innovation. Microsoft redefined automotive maintenance with the first mixed reality automotive maintenance system. Mercedes-Benz Virtual Remote Support allows technicians at Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the US and Canada to share real time vehicle views and sounds, images and holograms while speaking to Mercedes-Benz remote specialists worldwide. The “remote” Mercedes-Benz specialists provide technical guidance to help with complex maintenance issues in record time. In addition, Microsoft is not only revolutionizing vehicle maintenance, but is also helping to make Mercedes-Benz vehicles far more intelligent. Microsoft components for artificial intelligence make it possible. These components for artificial intelligence make it possible. These components analyze the driver’s usage behavior and give the customer tailor-made recommendations for bookable additional services that significantly improve the driving experience. With its highly innovative solutions, Microsoft Mercedes-Benz offers customers around the world an exceptional customer experience.
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL) – Winner of the category innovation for MP
Ningde in China is the headquarters of CATL. With CATL as a valuable strategic partner in battery technology, Mercedes-Benz secures access to the latest technology on the way to a fully electric future. Like Mercedes-Benz, CATL has a clear mission: As a globally innovative technology company, it wants to make contributions to green energy solutions for mankind. Their high-quality battery modules form the heart of our latest all-electric Mercedes-Benz luxury models and electrically drive the “Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX” technology study with a range of 1,202 kilometers.
Supplier Award Quality
The beaming winners in the Quality category : SAFELOG GmbH (IPS) & Umicore AG & Co. KG (MP)
f.l.t.r.: Andreas Burkhart, Head of IPS, Michael Wolter, Company founder & owner SAFELOG GmbH, Bart Sap, Executive Vice President Umicore AG & Co. KG, Gunnar Güthenke, Head of MP
SAFELOG GmbH – Winner of the category quality for IPS
Unique solutions for intralogistics are created in Markt-Schwaben. SAFELOG GmbH takes automation and digitization in the intralogistics to the next level. More than 2,200 driverless transport systems ensure a reliable, fully automated and highly efficient supply chain in the Mercedes-Benz Cars production facilities worldwide. With more than 500 vehicles in Factory 56 in Sindelfingen alone, SAFELOG has set the benchmark for the automation of intralogistics in the automotive industry. With such complex projects with the highest demand on quality, flexibility and adherence to schedules, SAFELOG has impressively proven itself to be a trustworthy, strategic partner for flexible automation in Mercedes-Benz intralogistics.
Umicore AG & Co. KG – Winner of the category quality for MP
Hanau is the right place for the highest quality. With an outstanding error rate of zero parts per million over the last ten years, Umicore AG & Co. KG is a benchmark partner that does not fail to meet the high quality requirements of Mercedes-Benz. In the area of exhaust systems, Umicore has secured the supply of components under challenging conditions such as tight supply chains and a highly volatile market environment. For years, Umicore has demonstrated an extraordinary degree of flexibility through highly efficient global production planning in order to be able to react to necessary changes at short notice. Uncompromising quality paired with flexibility and customer orientation are the hallmarks of Umicore.
Supplier Award Sustainability
Representatives and proud winners of BayWa r.e. Power Solutions GmbH (IPS) & Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH (MP) receive the supplier award.
f.l.t.r.: Andreas Burkhart, Head of IPS, Andrea Grotzke, Head of Global Business-Unit Energy Solutions, Michael Brühl, General Manager Pickling, Cold Rolling, Surface Coating, Gunnar Güthenke, Head of MP
BayWa r.e. Power Solutions GmbH – Winner in the category of sustainability for IPS
Power Solutions GmbH from Munich is making the CO₂-neutral energy supply for Mercedes-Benz happen. Being one of Germany´s largest photovoltaic-systems on a single rooftop in the automotive industry, Factory 56 is one of the most innovative of its kind. It supplies the entire hall with green electricity, covering a full 30% of its annual electricity requirements. More than 12,000 PV modules with an output of 5,4 MWpeak are installed in such a way, that they deliver maximum energy when it is needed. A DC-DC coupled system is maximizing the energy efficiency of the entire hall. A storage system including charging infrastructure is also in place. Six roof systems in five German locations of Mercedes-Benz are scheduled to be operating by mid-2023. Comparatively, this generates the same total output of more than 900 photovoltaic systems on single-family homes. Contributing clearly to our Ambition 2039, BayWa r.e Power Solutions is a strong partner in the field of sustainability.
Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH – Winner in the category of sustainability for MP
Sustainable steel comes from Salzgitter Flachstahl GmbH, a pioneer in low CO2 steel production. Already in 2016, Salzgitter AG presented their ambitious vision of a green steel mill with the SALCOS program: The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions in steel production by over 95% by the end of 2033. Since 2021, Salzgitter uses its electric arc furnace in Peine for the production of CO2 reduced steel for the automotive industry, making Mercedes-Benz the first car manufacturer to have introduced this resource conserving CO2 steel into series production and saving two thirds of CO2 emissions in comparison to conventional steel. This sustainable technology uses 100% scrap, which is melted with electricity. Salzgitter’s sustainability plans correspond perfectly with our strategy. The aggressive timeline for the technical transformation makes Salzgitter a valuable partner that can help us achieve our interim sustainability targets.
The Trophy - Stars for the Stars!
Stars for the Stars!
The clear, cubic basic shape symbolizes the partnership between Mercedes-Benz and its suppliers. The trophy consists of a solid base with the Mercedes-Benz star on top. The light, crystal-clear structure with seemingly floating stars symbolizes the excellent ideas, the outstanding projects and thus the excellent work of the winners.
Dialogue Zone Innovation
Dialogue zone Innovation: Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer Development & Procurement
f.r.t.l.: Magnus Östberg, Chief Software Officer Mercedes-Benz AG, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer Development & Procurement and Thomas Hellmuth, Head of Body & Safety, Eileen Böhme, Senior Manager Strategic Direction & Transformation RD
Lively discussion in the innovation dialogue zone by the supplier representatives and Mercedes-Benz management representatives
Dialogue Zone Quality
Dialogue zone Quality: Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, responsible for production & supply chain mangement.
„Together with our suppliers, we had constructive discussions about sustainability, innovation and quality. These three issues are critical to our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2039. In the quality dialogue zone, I was able to talk to our partners about how we can achieve this goal together and what role production actually plays in our brand promise. The supplier circle showed once again that quality and innovative strength are decisive criteria for success on our way into the all-electric age, both in our plants and at our suppliers. This shared understanding is what our customers at Mercedes-Benz rely on."
Dialogue zone: Quality
Dialogue Zone Sustainability
Dialogue zone Sustainability: Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Group AG, responsible for integrity and legal
“At Mercedes-Benz we want to build the most desirable cars in the world. This includes that they have been manufactured with respect for human rights – along the entire value chain, from the mine to the Mercedes. Not only do our customers and the legislator expect this, it is also our own motivation and conviction. With more than 40.000 direct and many more indirect suppliers, we have to proceed strategically and based on risk, but above all in partnership: good cooperation with our suppliers is crucial for respecting human rights worldwide.“
Dialogue zone: Sustainability