Service next Level!
In vehicle production, Daimler uses both the human colleague and the colleague 'robot'. Around 27,000 systems from KUKA are in use worldwide in 35 plants. And the number is rising. A global service contract provides standardized localizable services - and many advantages. Daimler Global Commodity Manager Dennis Wessling (Materials & Services) explains the concept and shows why it is so worthy of imitation.
They have opened a new chapter in external workshop equipment services and bundled all robotic services globally for the first time. What is the added value?
Dennis Wessling: Simply put, our concept ensures that the services are executed the same way in each plant. Whether in the South African East London, in the Hungarian Kecskemét or in the parent plant Untertürkheim: We now have consistent standards in terms of time, quality and performance – worldwide. Before that, we already had standards for external robot services. However, they were only in the local environment.
What gave the impetus for the innovative service concept?
With our contract, we are following Daimler’s Global Commodity Strategy. Since 2017, this has been the basis of our negotiations and financial statements. Instead of different local agreements, we are broadening our perspective. Control globally and act locally. Together with our supplier KUKA and our internal business partners, we developed the service concept with standardized fixed prices. It is a service portfolio that can be used worldwide and ideally localized.
How will the global concept be implemented at the locations?
Our service portfolio covers the entire life cycle of the robot systems: from planning to employee training and commissioning to repair and maintenance. It also includes, for example, software updates or hotline support. The standardized external services can be called up on site for each KUKA robot: in our car, van, truck and bus plants in Germany, Hungary, Romania, USA, South Africa and China.
At KUKA we know: Reliable and efficient robot service at all production sites is important to our customers at Daimler. We use innovative concepts to continue to set impetuses for the future. We work with the procurement teams and business partners to successfully implement new service concepts.
Did KUKA co-design the international service concept?
KUKA Deutschland GmbH already showed a strong spirit of innovation in the planning phase. Together, they successfully launched the Global Commodity Strategy with us. Especially with robot systems – whose importance in the global production network continues to increase – global service contracts can generate positive effects for the future.
What positive effects have emerged?
In addition to the expanded overall service volume, the processes are much more efficient today. In the past, KUKA had to respond to individual requests. Today, the plants call up services from the global service portfolio. Time and costs for a wide variety of calculations are thus eliminated. Service can be provided quickly and according to global standards – for the optimal availability of our plants.
And how do the Daimler internal business partners benefit?
The global service portfolio creates optimal transparency in terms of services and prices. This allows planners and maintenance departments to easily count on fixed cost structures and budgets: for all service requirements over the entire robot life cycle in the entire Daimler production network.
External workshop equipment services are a global issue of local importance to Daimler. With the Global Commodity Strategy, all parties can benefit in the future as well. New service concepts from suppliers who are motivated to actively promote them with us are also decisive for the mutual success.
Are there any further developments in terms of global services?
With our new service contract, we are on a very good path. Nevertheless, we want to continue to develop together with all parties involved! So we are currently working on another concept for preventive robot maintenance. This should be introduced at all Daimler locations.
Global services are thus on the rise. And therefore a good idea for other suppliers as well?
Yes of course! Suppliers of other material groups also have opportunities and advantages when they conclude a global agreement with Daimler and expand their service concept internationally. New, innovative partners and companies who develop innovative concepts together with us to further improve quality and service at all Daimler locations are always welcome.