The Supplier Sets of Tomorrow


The new edition of the Daimler Supplier Magazine comes out in early September. The theme this year is “Procurement 4.0 – Digital and Connected”. The three Heads of Procurement discuss the subject in an interview, as well as the supplier sets of the future. An excerpt.

What is the present and future situation with the supplier sets? Do you tend to rely on new innovative companies or existing partners who can already bring in automotive expertise?

Marcus Schoenenberg: For our procurement scopes for trucks and buses, the classic automotive suppliers will continue to make up the biggest share in the supplier set. However, the structure of some bought-in parts will change. Take the engine control units. The relevance of the software compared to the hardware will further increase – the software will be used for example for diagnostic functions which are important for many connectivity applications. That is why we rethink the present business models and ask ourselves, which elements will be or should be retained within the group. One of the central questions in this context: Which are the scopes that differentiate us from the competition? To say it in a nutshell: I can imagine a stronger separation of hard- and software in the future. This inevitably leads to an extension of the supplier set.

Sabine Lutz: Our experience at International Procurement Services shows that young and small companies as well as research facilities with which we are in dialogue develop great ideas. Here, it is mainly about bringing these ideas to market maturity and integrating them successfully in the automotive context. In order to stay competitive in digitalization also in the future, it is decisive for our established suppliers from the automotive industry to enrich their existing strength for implementation with new innovative power and speed.

(f.l.t.r.): Dr. Klaus Zehender, Executive Vice President Procurement & Supplier Quality, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars; Dr. Sabine Lutz, Vice President International Procurement Services; Dr. Marcus Schoenenberg, Vice President Global Procurement Trucks and Buses.

Klaus Zehender: At Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement & Supplier Quality we are very active in Innovation scouting. At electronics trade shows like the CES in Las Vegas and Shanghai or at the KOAA in South Korea, where we scout for innovative suppliers and start-ups in a targeted manner. This is where new players who are known from the IT industry or consumer electronics, but are generally not associated with the automotive sector, also come into play. In this respect, it is now important that both sides demonstrate their willingness to learn in order to meet the high product, process, and Quality requirements.

You can read the whole interview in the print edition of Daimler Supplier Magazine (issue 2016/17), which is coming out in early September. You can subscribe free of charge by sending an e-mail to

Sep 01, 2016
Nadescha Vornehm