How dedication to lean-management principles in auto-industry has led organizations to new performance breakthroughs
Since 1926, Mercedes-Benz, under Daimler AG, has grown from its roots in Germany to become one of the world’s largest automobile brand, with more than €167 billion in revenues as of the year ended 2018. Mercedes-Benz’s origins mean that the principles underlying lean management have been a part of the company’s culture almost since the beginning—not only in its home country, but also as it expanded overseas. One of their assembly plants is in Indonesia.
The vehicle assembly process has almost the same stages and systems, with a number of different standards applied according to the needs and type of vehicle. One of their factories is located in the village of Wanaherang, Gunung Putri, Bogor District, with an area of 42 hectares. The factory is equipped with integrated vehicle preparation and logistics, for passenger and commercial vehicles. There are a number of steps that must be passed to assemble a chassis into one unit of car or vehicle. Each station is a combination of robots, human power, and a computerized system for testing and quality control. Of 700 employees in assembling these vehicles, 90 of them work in the commercial vehicle unit. In one day, the factory can assemble 6 units of commercial vehicles, both trucks and diesel buses. The work done includes the stages of inspection, wheel alignment, brake test, speedometer test, and finally a final inspection. in the final station of the commercial stage such as trucks are fully inspected to determine the readiness of mechanical and electrical functions. if quality control test passes, the vehicle is ready to be distributed.
Not much different from the commercial vehicle assembly line, the passenger car assembly process also has the same number of stations. The difference is there are more stations, up to 20 stations with 2 workers in each station. In a day, the effective processing time for production is 7.3 hours. There are 2 lines for making this passenger-specific vehicle. There is a combination of robotic machines and human power to reduce inaccuracies. A number of assembly stations ranges from the installation of feature devices, seats, and more. In the final stage, at station 20, they perform quality control gate, tire testing, engine speed, among others. Afterwards, the car is ready to be distributed and also sold to consumer. It took about 1 day to be able to create about 9 units of cars from the factory here in the village of Wanaherang, Gunung Putri, Bogor District.
Human resources are needed help us avoid becoming complacent or falling back into a fixed mind-set. And we have to develop our talent. Our frontline associates are functioning at what was once a leadership level, so now we need to give them some more autonomy in order for them to keep building.