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Mercedes-Benz looks to implement smart factory capabilities

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 Mercedez-Benz is currently focusing on the digitalization of the entire value chain

Mercedes-Benz is in the process of networking the entire automotive value chain including the design, production, sales and service areas. The German manufacturer said this implementation if setting the stage for a completely connected smart factory.

Mercedes-Benz understands “Industry 4.0” to be the digitalization of the entire value chain. Physical and digital processes are becoming increasingly intertwined, the company said.

“For us at Daimler it is beyond question that the digital transformation will lead to fundamental changes in our industry. This applies to the methods we use to develop, plan and produce our vehicles. It also relates to the ways in which we make contact with our customers. And, not least, we will be able to experience the digital transformation in our products themselves,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production & Supply Chain Management.

Mercedes-Benz highlighted that it is pursuing the following objectives with the smart factory:

-Greater flexibility

The company said that the smart factory allows production to respond even faster to global market fluctuations and changing customer demand. Digital production also makes it easier to produce increasingly complex products.

-Greater efficiency

Efficient use of resources such as energy, buildings or material stocks is a decisive competitive factor; a completely digital process chain also means constant inventory control: components can be identified at any time and anywhere. Production facilities can be controlled from anywhere, the company said.

-Greater speed

Flexible production processes, simplified modification of existing production facilities and the installation of new facilities allow simpler, more efficient manufacturing processes. This process also allows shorter innovation cycles, and product innovations can be transferred to more model series in a shorter time improving the time-to-market.

-Attractive working environment

Active interaction between man and machine, also using new operating interfaces, will change the working environment in many areas, such as in training and ergonomics.

Mercedes-Benz said it is systematically pushing ahead with the transformation to a fully networked production. Many innovative procedures have already been introduced, for instance, 3-D printing or virtual reality.

“The digital transformation does not end at the factory gate. Beyond production, Mercedes-Benz also takes advantages of the opportunities provided by networking to respond more individually to customer wishes, especially in distribution: there we count on the digitalization of all channels, both in customer approach and in the areas of sales and service,” the German manufacturer said.

“With ‘Mercedes me’, the central point of contact for all services on the Internet, customers experience the advantages of connectivity. The most recent innovations of the portal include the ‘Lifestyle Configurator’. In this portal, the customer specifies his or her preferences in terms of sport, food or living – and receives a proposal for a Mercedes model which he or she will certainly like. Customer service is also becoming smart.”

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