Information technology

Efficient design of business processes. Daimler’s internal IT organization (Information Technology Management – ITM) has approximately 5,000 employees worldwide and is involved in nearly all of the Group’s business processes – from product development to vehicle production to sales and financing workflows. In addition, it is playing an increasingly central role with the design of new business models or mobility concepts. The key task of information technology (IT) consists of providing these business processes with efficient and innovative systems, thus ensuring that business activities can run smoothly. Through the integration of IT into business processes and the growing networking of data, systems and sites, there is a rising worldwide requirement for flexible IT solutions that can be quickly adapted to the divisions’ needs.

Information security remains a key topic. The benefits of effective data access and the risks of potential damage from data misuse have to be permanently compared and evaluated. This applies in particular to data that is subject to data protection. ITM therefore moderates and monitors the classification of data into the categories of public, internal, confidential and secret. Furthermore, courses were started in 2012 to train Daimler’s employees all over the world in 21 languages in the principles of information security.

Development of IT landscapes in growth markets. With modular and flexible IT solutions, we once again made an important contribution in 2012 to expanding the divisions’ presence in growth markets and enhancing their effectiveness. For example in Chennai, India, the “IT Readiness” project prepared the IT landscape for production at BharatBenz. And in Beijing, China, we applied “BBAC Future IT” at the Chinese joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co. to introduce the local IT infrastructure and IT support for all relevant processes for the plant’s expansion. Standardized IT landscapes were implemented in Kecskemét, Hungary, and for the joint venture with Foton in China. Within the framework of cooperation with Renault-Nissan, ITM provided the IT solutions for all business processes from engineering to after sales.

In order to perform the upcoming tasks, we have recruited properly qualified specialist personnel in the growth markets. In the past two years, the IT staff was nearly tripled in China and doubled in Turkey. In total, the number of qualified IT employees has grown by almost 70% in the markets of China, Turkey, India and Brazil.

Growth through IT efficiency. Efficient IT systems are becoming increasingly important for the development of new markets and the launch of new vehicles. An example of this is the logistics systems in the car plants of Mercedes-Benz, which we are continually modernizing. With the “Automotive Supply” project, we changed over the Bremen plant in 2012 - after Rastatt and Kecskemét - to an ultra-modern and thoroughly integrated SAP system. Also in the after-sales business, we are creating the right conditions for significant efficiency advances with the start of the “Service Parts Management@Mercedes-Benz” project. In this project, we will replace approximately 50 logistics systems with an integrated IT system for order, inventory and supplier management, and will replace the inventory management at seven locations by 2018. As the first step, an optimized inventory control and management system will be rolled out in the European regional warehouses.

“Always on”IT is a factor for value added and innovation. An effective IT landscape not only ensures efficient workflows, it also enhances the Group’s attractiveness as an innovative employer.

This is supported by the Group-wide “next workplace” project, whose mass rollout was started in the fourth quarter of 2012. Approximately 200,000 PC workplaces will be migrated worldwide to a uniform, modern and effective collaboration platform. More than 10,000 mailboxes and some 100,000 PCs were changed over to a new operating system and new software in 2012. In addition, the platform will promote inter-team cooperation also in virtual teams.

The IT organization also plays a key role with mobility concepts. With the “moovel” mobility platform, which is running in Stuttgart and Berlin as a pilot project, Daimler is consistently developing the idea of individual mobility for different groups of customers. IT forms the technical back-end platform. It networks the various mobility providers’ individual services and allows access to the services offered via smartphones, PCs and tablet computers.

The digital integration of the sales process (web-based sales workplace “Mercedes-Benz Point of Sales”, MBC POS), which was started in the prior year, was continued in 2012. Sales discussions link up seamlessly with customers’ Internet inquiries – for example via the new Mercedes-Benz car configurator with 3D images. Sales personnel have access to an interface with all the required functions – from the configuration of new cars to cars in stock to financial services. Following a successful start in the Swiss market, we integrated additional dealerships in the United Kingdom into the pilot operation in 2012. At the same time, selected sales processes were realized in MBC POS for mobile devices such as tablets, allowing customer advice directly at or in the vehicle.

Awards for excellent IT services. ITM’s services have once again received external awards: In the GreenIT Best Practice Awards 2012, Daimler took first place in the category of “Green through IT.” In addition, Daimler Trucks North America received the “Top 20 Innovation Award” from the magazine “Heavy Duty Trucking” for an innovative diagnosis system which carries out an analysis of engine electronics in real time. And the IT organization received the “SAP Quality Award in Gold” for quality in project management with the implementation of a project in the logistics of the after-sales area. Furthermore, the Daimler-subsidiary TSS GmbH received “Europe’s IT Workplace 2012 Award.” This is given by the internationally active Best Quality Institute to the best employers in the IT sector.