Idea of employees turns into success story: Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy enables suppliers to deliver top quality
- Mercedes-Benz offers worldwide training courses for suppliers at the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy.
- The project is the result of an entrepreneurial spirit of Mercedes-Benz employees in a worldwide cooperation.
- More than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already took part in the training program during the year 2017.
- Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality: “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry.”
Stuttgart. Since the beginning of last year, Mercedes-Benz has been offering suppliers a special learning program. The Supplier Academy trains suppliers on topics such as quality assurance, processes and the requirements of Mercedes-Benz. There is no real building. The Supplier Academy is flexible and available worldwide - in the local language and directly with local suppliers in the US, Mexico, China or Europe. All suppliers can participate, regardless if they already work with Mercedes-Benz. “The Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy is a great opportunity, especially for start-ups and new suppliers without experience in the automotive industry. For us in the procurement and supplier quality department of Mercedes-Benz, it is a valuable opportunity to ensure top quality for our vehicles from new players and to strengthen cooperation with existing suppliers. This is a win-win situation”, says Dr. Klaus Zehender, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Procurement and Supplier Quality. In the training courses, native-speaking trainers teach a maximum of 15 participants the expectations, procedures and standards of the Mercedes-Benz supplier management. This facilitates an efficient and successful entry into the cooperation. In 2017, more than 1400 participants from nearly 500 suppliers already participated in the program, which Mercedes-Benz runs together with its external partner German Automotive Business (GAB). This kind of training takes place almost every day somewhere in the world.
Founder’s vision within the company
The idea for the Mercedes-Benz Supplier Academy came from employees who are responsible for purchasing and supplier quality. "We at Mercedes-Benz have an increasing number of local suppliers worldwide whom we want to prepare for the top quality of Mercedes-Benz. Together with our colleagues at foreign purchasing locations, we have turned this idea into a successful project", says Christoph Kania, one of the project initiators from Supplier Quality Management. Starting with the smallest possible effort and without any investment, the idea grew steadily through the interest of the suppliers.
Expansion to other areas planned
The initiative of his employees encourages purchasing manager Klaus Zehender: “The entrepreneurial spirit of our buyers and quality managers shows that they recognize challenges and find practical solutions.” So far, only one area of Mercedes-Benz's purchasing department has been included in the training: quality assurance. Christoph Kania and his colleagues are planning to extend the offer of the Supplier Academy together with other departments. So other specialist areas such as logistics, development and IT systems could be on the timetable soon. To motivate even more suppliers to participate, online training courses are planned as well.