650+1: Our Supplier-Super-Selfie

“Dr. Zetsche, this evening has a great spirit. Let’s capture this moment and make a selfie photo,” said Judith Rakers, the host of the Daimler Supplier Award 2017 ceremony, to our boss, who smiled back and replied, “Sure!” And that’s how it was made:

Our legendary selfie with one CEO and 650 of Daimler’s key & strategic suppliers as well as guests. Taken at the Daimler Supplier Award ceremony on February 28, 2018. That date was also referred to as The Night of the Nights by our team during the last nine months of preparation for this year’s event.

Appreciation in aluminum

I think the event deserves a bold title like this one, because it’s the night when Daimler pays tribute to the “Top 10” global suppliers. Their work went above and beyond the normal requirements for us during the previous year.

At the ceremony, which has been repeated annually since 2008, ten winners take home an award trophy in the Quality, Partnership, Innovation, and Special Award categories and are applauded by four Board Members and three Procurement Vice Presidents.

It is a night of appreciation — and it was held for the tenth time on February 28, 2018. This year at our Mercedes-Benz Customer Center at the Sindelfingen plant.

Valuable contribution to Daimler’s success

Whether it is body parts for our Mercedes-Benz Cars, a driver camera monitoring system for our commercial vehicles, or apps and software developed for Daimler — all of our suppliers’ work is a valuable contribution to Daimler’s success.

“This has to be a special one”

Contributation that deserves recognition. For Daimler, showing appreciation to the suppliers who enable the Group to create great products and services for our customers is not only talk. We took the conceptualization, planning, and execution of the award ceremony seriously — and so did the Daimler Procurement Heads, who told us some nine months ago, “This year’s award has to be a very special one.”

“Enter the next chapter”

The “make it big” idea concerning the 2017 Daimler Supplier Award ceremony was due the fact that the award was celebrating its tenth anniversary, and also because Daimler and its suppliers are about to “Enter the next chapter” of their success story.

This was the title of the award night on February 28, and it also set the paradigm for the change we are about to bring about as a company. Our world is changing. A lot of things are getting faster. Digital influence is greater. And more direct.

In our daily work, we clearly notice this and we want and need to pick up on that energy if we want to advance. And we need and want to take our suppliers with us on that journey. Cooperating faster, more direct, becoming even closer in the future.

And who is better suited to begin that journey than the partners that have been delivering an outstanding performance for us for more than ten years now? The 100 trophies they have been awarded in the last ten years are clear proof of their excellent Performance.

(Appreciative) action speaks louder than words

I believe that gratitude should be shown not only by talking or writing about it (as I am doing in this blog post) but also by expressing it to those who have really worked hard to earn it. This is why Daimler’s top executives came personally to the night of the Daimler Supplier Award.

All of them were there: CEO and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Members of the Board of Management Martin Daum (Trucks and Buses), Ola Källenius (R&D), and Wilfried Porth (Human Ressources & Vans), and the Daimler Procurement Heads Andreas Burkhart, Dr. Marcus Schoenenberg, and Dr. Klaus Zehender.

These were only a few of the many Daimler colleagues who came to express their appreciation to our partners. They thanked our suppliers in laudatory speeches. They were delighted to hand over the awards to our partners.

And they enjoyed great conversations during and after the award presentations. All of them value our suppliers’ efforts contributing to what a good partnership should be all about: having a sound shared foundation.

Winners & nominees: Our stars

At the ceremony, I had the feeling that the appreciation was mutual. On this night, they were the stars – the CEOs, Executive Vice Presidents and Directors of our winners: Denso, Harman International Industries, Hitachi Automotive Systems, Minth, Stoneridge, Tri-Ring Group, Thonburi Automotive Assembly, Thoughtworks Software Technologies, Werkzeugbau Laichingen and Wagon Automotive Nagold.

And also our nominees valued their relationship with Daimler: Baumann GmbH, Friedrich Deutsch Metallwerk, Friedrich Boysen, Gestamp, Hasse & Wrede, IDEAL Automotive, LG Electronics Inc., Maxion Structural Components, Mitsubishi Steel, Muelles Y Ballestas, Rehau AG, SapientRazorfish, Seifert Logistics, Sisamex, Stefanutti Stocks, SONA VPC Korea, Sonceboz Automotive and Ubisense.

Our selfie — a world record?

So, to wrap it up: Our 650+1 Supplier-Super-Selfie might not make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. But to me it was the main attraction of that night (and one day later it still is), because it perfectly symbolizes what this night was all about: great partnership.

Would you like to feel more of the award spirit of February 28? If so, you might want to check out our in-depth event article at the Daimler Supplier Magazine Online.

Carsten Wiebel works in Trucks & Buses Procurement Communications and is a member of one of the great interdisciplinary teams that made the Daimler Supplier Award 2017 happen. Currently, he feels quite happy that the event takes place only once a year — because now he is no longer running the risk of his two kids beginning to call him “Stranger” rather than “Dad.”