Following John Engler is a hard act… but Bill Taylor did well. He is CEO of Mercedes-Benz US-International, a division of DaimlerChrysler. They are rolling out the new R-class (which several wags have noted bears a startling resemblance to the Chrysler Pacifica…although I am assured that they don’t share any parts…)and we can all see one and buy one tomorrow at Automation Fair.
“Working together with third parties like Rockwell Automation has been a strong factor in our success,” he said. Out of 150 sites in 1993, MB chose one in Alabama to be the first Mercedes plant outside Germany. “We called it a ‘learning field,'” he said. “This is a work still in progress,” he noted ruefully, but after 12 years, their relationship with the state and local governments and the suppliers is excellent. This excellent relationship has led to an additional $1B investiment in expansion…all under one roof, along with $3.5B in R&D expenditure for new products.
“We found we needed to do significant training, so we started our own apprenticeship program, with the help of AIDT (a state agency) and now we account for 20% of gross worldwide revenue for MB, with less than 1% turnover and average 99% attendance.”
Matt Gonring pointed out that Delphi averaged 20% attendance before the bankruptcy.
Part of what has helped to do this manufacturing miracle is the teamwork, training and partnership with RA. The RA tema is colocated onsite, and “we are one team, integrated with MBUSI,” he finished.