HOURLY Coffee Breaks! - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-29-2005, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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HOURLY Coffee Breaks!

As if German factory workers aren't coddled enough, with their generous work rules, six weeks of vacation, etc, I now learn that they have HOURLY Coffee Breaks!

Mercedes-Benz is on the verge of a free fall in the marketplace, due largely to quality issues. I don't necessarily blame the factory workers for that; it seems more like a management issue.. outsourcing electronics modules, lack of accountability etc. But really! SOMEONE at DaimlerChrysler is gonna have to get a grip! They might even have to work harder!

It's been over four years now that Mercedes has been in the quality doghouse and it's not clear that any real changes have been made. See http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/29/business/worldbusiness/29auto.html
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-01-2005, 07:48 PM
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RE: HOURLY Coffee Breaks!

The workers get a lot of perks but most of your quality problems are engineering problems. Outsourcing components whether electronic, electrical or interior became necessary to reduce cost. I worked for an OEM company that did a large business with GM. Component cost rise for a variety of reasons. Delco-Remy had a starter plant in Mississippi. With UAW wages for the production workers the cost to build starters was ridiculous. I think production of components was eventually shifted to Korea. Many of the wiring harness shops moved to Mexico and then China. The next problem is product liability. You would be amazed to see the special computer monitored assembly tools, impact wrenches etc. required to assemble your new vehicle. For example say your driving down the road and you lose a wheel. The factory has the torque specifications recorded for the particular vehicle during assembly to protect themselves against frivolous suits. Healthcare costs continue to rise. I personally sold $45k in tooling and about 200k in product for one production line to put and end to corporal tunnel complaints. This was a one model year fix until engineering could redesign a wiring harness. Consumers demand the latest and greatest in their vehicles but no matter what vehicle it is the vehicle has to fit within a certain price point. Engineering tries to work within these parameters to keep cost down-even to the point where they know that there will be problems but it's cheaper to fix the problem under warranty than it is to design a proper product. The whole situation is a big burueacratic mess especially for the high end guys like MB who desire to stay on the leading edge of technology and innovation! AS far as cofee breaks-Unless something has changed in the past couple of years-the gm guys had in their contract that they could smoke on the assembly line unless it was a hazaardous area such as paint!
Sorry for being longwinded but I didn't even scratch the surface!
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2005, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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RE: HOURLY Coffee Breaks!

No prob about the long-winded post!

But Mercedes's electronics problems are still their (management's) responsibility. If they choose to outsource the electronics modules from low-cost suppliers in Asia, it's still their responsibility to test and re-test (1000x) the devices they're installing in their cars. Otherwise they'll just have this little quality-control public relations issue to address...
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