Chapter 1: Case Study
DaimlerChrysler’s Agile Supply Chain
DaimlerChrysler includes the Chrysler Group, the Mercedes and Smart Passenger Car Group, and the CommercialVehicles unit. It operates 104 plants in 37 countries, using 14,000 different suppliers and 13,000 sales outlets in 200 countries. The auto industry is known for tough competition and fickle customers.Survival depends on bringing new models rapidly to market as economically as possible.
DaimlerChrysler studied every step in the vehicle production and sales process, starting with the first stage ofvehicle design and ending with its service and repair. It then built a series of information systems that automate and streamline all of its transactions with suppliers. An Integrated Volume Planningsystem gathers sales data and sends them back to production planning systems and from there to suppliers so that they can adjust deliveries of parts and production to make exactly the right amount ofthe vehicle models that are actually selling in dealer showrooms.
A Global Supplier Portal presents a common interface and system platform that handles every type of interaction betweenDaimlerChrysler and its suppliers. About 6,000 DaimlerChrysler suppliers registered for this portal use it to interact with DaimlerChrysler's various business groups. DaimlerChrysler also uses the portalinternally to share information among different divisions and business units.
At the earliest stages of design, the Chrysler Group and 3,400 of its suppliers use a Webenabled system called Powerway totrack parts through nine quality control "gates" before they're certified for use on production lines. In the past, quality specialists used to store thousands of pieces of paper in hundreds of binders todeal with quality issues that surfaced with the thousands of companies that design Chrysler's parts. If a drive train was an eighth inch too short, it could take up to three weeks to notify the...