A Look Behind the Scenes of the Daimler Supplier Award

Titelbild 4_Blick in Halle

The Daimler Supplier Award is a coveted trophy. The award is presented once a year in the categories of Quality, Innovation and Partnership during a three-hour gala event at the Mercedes-Benz branch in Stuttgart. The preparations start months before. Who will be invited? What is the event motto? And above all: Who will be nominated?

The admission ticket means status

650 highly coveted seats. The invitation to the Daimler Supplier Award is an honor in itself. The selection process begins half a year before the event. It is based on the status of the suppliers. The status is determined each year by the three purchasing units for passenger cars (MP), commercial vehicles (TP/G) and non-production materials (IPS) in accordance with a list of criteria. The classification takes place on the basis of the “Daimler Supplier Network” pyramid: At the top are the “Strategic Partners”, followed by the “Key Suppliers”. The “Suppliers” make up the largest group. The supplier status is established at the end of November, and this also determines who will get an invitation to the award ceremony: “Strategic Partners” and “Key Suppliers”.

The Daimler Supplier Network features “Strategic Partners”, “Key Suppliers” and “Suppliers”.

But who will win?

The three purchasing units now determine the best of the best in the categories of Quality, Partnership and Innovation. Three purchasing units, respectively three categories, a total of nine awards. And an added “Special Award”. Three suppliers are nominated for each category: Who exceeds the defined quality standards? Who persuades with top evaluations in the External Balanced Scorecard and a zero-error rate for quality? Who has proven to be an especially reliable partner? Who pursues a transparent pricing policy and follows the global footprint of Daimler? Or who has stood out with trailblazing innovations the year before and is developing products that yield competitive advantages together with Daimler?

In the next stage it is examined whether the candidates have particularly excelled in following the compliance and integrity policies. From Corporate Social Responsibility to Legal Affairs – this check involves a host of departments. Because the Award candidate can only be the supplier who shares Daimler’s high standards, including in the area of integrity and law. Who will be the winner? Prior to the award ceremony, this is only known to a small group. This ensures suspense until the big event!

Setting the pace

With the Daimler Supplier Award, Daimler is saying “Thank You”. A “Thank You” that comes in a very special package. Each year, the award event is held under a certain motto. In the past, there have been “Mission Impossible” or “Explore new ways”. In 2016 it was: “Setting the pace”.

We want to show our appreciation for our suppliers with this special event. Similar to an Oscar ceremony, our suppliers are honored for their performance in three categories. Of particular importance for us in this context is the personal contact with our top management. Our suppliers are supposed to take home concrete and exclusive insights straight from the horse's mouth.“

Josephine Mietling (TP/G), organizer of the Daimler Supplier Awards.

The Daimler Supplier Award is the Group’s most important award for its suppliers. This message is well taken: “I was overwhelmed by the amount of effort Daimler puts into this event. This evening has exceeded my expectations!” was how one supplier expressed his gratitude after last year’s event. Another supplier comments: “We see the Daimler Supplier Award as a symbol of appreciation. Furthermore, the event is a good occasion to do some networking and toast the successful collaboration.“

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The ten winners of the Daimler Supplier Award 2014 together with the Daimler executives.

The stage is not the only place where everything must run smoothly. It is often even the “welcome” that decides how relaxed the guests will be able to enjoy the evening. That is why sophisticated invitation management is crucial. With 650 invited guests, it can happen that someone becomes ill shortly before the event and sends a deputy. Here, the organizers have to keep an overview of things.
The Daimler Supplier Award is a logistical feat as well. Catering, stage, chairs. Everything needs its own space. On the day before the event it is time: All vehicles have to be moved out of the Mercedes-Benz branch – and 650 chairs have to be moved in!

A touch of Hollywood

Another special feature of the Award ceremony are the laudatory trailers in the form of film clips, which show the Lead Buyers, the direct contacts of the suppliers, what makes them into winners. For the public, these are always interesting insights into the collaboration with Daimler. The shoots for the film clips start in December. The camera team travels several thousand kilometers. On three continents. At sub-zero temperatures, in great humidity and stormy weather.

The live appearance of the Daimler symphony orchestra is also worth a film. The music was arranged and composed especially for the Daimler Supplier Award. There were twenty hours of rehearsals for the musical piece of 15 minutes. Hard work that pays off. So far, the guests have been enthusiastic about the finely tuned interplay of film and music.

In February of each year the announcement is made at the Mercedes-Benz branch in Stuttgart: “And the winner is…”. Ten awards, ten winners. And ten suppliers who have demonstrated in an extraordinary way that they have set the pace decisively together with Daimler AG.

Feb 17, 2016
Verena Bonath