discussion that, “People will be more hesitant the smaller the
company. But, if we look at it together, they might be more
willing.” Christ responded by pointing out that, “We won’t
come along. We manage these markets and we put up these
distribution centres. We have to be impartial and neutral.
You are all equally invited to find your solutions.”
The panel discussion, which served as a fitting end,
proved to be the most dynamic element of the two days. With
comments from Jens Nöldner, Head of DB Schenker Rail
Automotive, and Björn Klippel, Managing Partner of TIM
CONSULT, GmbH, a productive discourse on the future of
European car carriers in BRIC countries developed, with
Klippel asking if this was a ‘cry for help’ from Daimler. Christ
answered with, “I think ‘a cry for help’ is an overstatement.
Think of it more as some wise advice. I recommend you form
partnerships, anticipate problems and think about the
solutions you are going to offer.”
Christ had previously pointed out that the important
factor in working with any company is that they act with due
diligence and he emphasised that Daimler ‘do business in a
compliant way’ and urged the carriers present ‘to be
compliant and act with integrity’. This came after the
disclosure that Daimler was unsatisfied with the standard of
subcontractors employed and produced images of damage
caused by third party companies through the use of old and
incorrectly-loaded equipment.
Since downsizing in a post-2007 recessive economy,
many logistics companies have yet to increase labour or fleet
and subsequent increases in production at Daimler in Europe
has forced companies to hire subcontractors. Dr Georg
Hohlweg, responsible for outbound logistics performance,
presented slides of damage inflicted and pointed out that up
to 40% of the problems caused in distribution are the result
of poor practice by subcontractors.
This reproach did not seem to dampen the awards
themselves, as Braase Spedition & Logistik of Fockbek,
Germany, took the Commercial Vehicle Award, impressing
Daimler with its reliability, punctuality and consistently high
quality of transport. For performing regular
loading checks in plants and vehicles with
environmental capability, Akkermann
Transporte GmbH of Moormerland, Germany,
was acknowledged as being the most reliable
partner for passenger car transports. Vega
International Car Transport and Logistic was
praised for its in-depth training film about
axle shipments and challenges related to the
transport of vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz
plant in Wörth, and given a special award for
innovation.
Over the last year, the transport damage,
times, shipping quality and general
equipment condition of Daimler carriers were
monitored. Both the commercial vehicle and
passenger car decisions are made based on
evaluation of the logistics providers, from an
auditing process that was standardised in
2004.
The Awards also provide an opportunity
for dialogue between sectors of the
automotive supply chain in Europe.
Future developments for Daimler over the
coming year also include the new, multi-
modal, HUB North to the South of the Bremen
plant, and four new production locations in
Europe, including one for commercial vehicles in Russia in
an attempt to ‘bring the complexity [of the global supply
chain] under control’. Current initiatives, such as night
loading, have met with a mixed reaction but Daimler is
determined to continue finding new advantages to increase
production, supplier base and logistics efficiency.
In our next issue we will be interviewing Egon Christ
about his role as head of global vehicle distribution and the
future of Daimler in Europe and abroad.
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