FEMTEC Innovation Workshop: Digitization in Practice

Taking a virtual journey around Daimler’s production halls. Until now this has been a pipe dream. But not for much longer. The FEMTEC Innovation Workshop shows what new technologies could come along within the next six months.

FEMTEC supports female students, and those studying MIST subjects in particular (math, IT, science and technology), with a two-year career-building program, and brings them together with partners from industry and science. The partnership between FEMTEC and Daimler AG gives participants the opportunity to develop new ideas for Daimler in the “Innovation Workshop” module.

So far, so good! As a long-standing partner company, we naturally immediately declared our willingness to hold an innovation workshop at our company. My colleagues and I work in a wide range of units at Daimler, and provide support as project supervisors: Oli and Philip came from the assembly planning unit, Vesna from HR, Tom from the TecFabrik, and I, Inessa, from the factory planning unit.

We decided to focus on the use of Daimler Plant View to present the future of manufacturing engineering and innovation development. Daimler Plant View, which is a kind of Art Street View for interiors, is already enabling us to take virtual tours of our offices and production halls around the world.

But that’s not enough, because we have always known that Daimler Plant View offers enormous potential. We were certain that we could achieve significant added value in many areas through indoor hall scans that go beyond the current application. We had high expectations of the project because we wanted new, fresh and creative ideas. The 30 participants took this ambition with them to the Innovation Workshop.

The big day

After six months of hard work, the day finally came when we held the concluding presentation of the Innovation Workshop. Following a fascinating key note speech by Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for Production and Supply Chain Management, who provided the participants with insights into the innovations and challenges of Mercedes-Benz Cars Production, the women students began to make their pitches.

Each group presented their idea or their prototypes. Top management and numerous guests were invited to the Mercedes-Benz Customer Center.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain

The results and the ideas that were developed were impressive. The teams’ diversity and creativity were especially remarkable. In addition to presenting new approaches to assembly and factory planning, the teams also pitched ideas for prototypes, particularly in the area of HR.

But before you read any further, take a look at the high-energy video of the Event:

„Benz-o-Mat“

One of the HR topics was called the “Benz-o-Mat”, and came from a group that called itself the “Femtastic Five”. The idea was to use Daimler Plant View at the Daimler career website in order to show trainees their future workplaces. Moreover, the applicants are asked targeted questions so that they can be provided with a recommendation regarding the trainee position that is best suited for them.

If a potential applicant is interested in a particular trainee position, he or she can take a virtual tour of the various different stations that await him or her during training. These stations can be supplemented with photos and videos in order to include the personal experiences of current trainees.

„PlanConnect“

Another idea produced by the Innovation Workshop is a more innovative, improved process for regulating the way Daimler awards contracts to its suppliers. The five students of “Stern 4.0” impressed the audience with “PlanConnect”. PlanConnect supports the calls for bids by linking the specifications with the hall’s digital twin.

The advantages of PlanConnect are obvious, because the idea provides suppliers with a clear and detailed basis for making plans and repeated on-site visits are no longer needed. The concept is made possible by restricting the suppliers’ access rights so that they can only see the parts of the hall that are relevant for them. This enables them to measure the area in question and access the integrated points of interest, such as news, images and Videos.

From left to right: Sandra, Viola, Paula, Aoufa and Solveigh from “Sterne 4.0”. Their “PlanConnect” concept was voted the event’s best idea.

This concept was voted the best idea at the workshop, because it can be implemented quickly and without much effort.

As luck would have it, Aoufa and Paula met CEO Dieter Zetsche at Stuttgart Airport on the day of their return flight. They proudly showed him their award and told him about the successful project.

Prompt implementation

We are happy that the feedback from guests on the day of the final presentation was positive across the board, and the interest among the specialist units was very high. We will of course be pursuing the ideas in the cooperating specialist units, and also implementing them promptly depending on the workload and benefit involved. We will also stay in touch with the students and hope that we will be able to welcome some of them as coworkers in the future!

All in all, we had a great time. It enabled me to gain many new insights into areas outside those of my daily work and I’ve really grown close to my project team. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Vesna, Philip, and Oli in particular. It goes without saying that we would gladly take part in an Innovation Workshop again.


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Inessa Agapova has worked at Daimler’s factory planning unit in Sindelfingen since April 2016, where she is responsible for the planning of the production facility in Beijing, China. Because Agapova herself took part in the FEMTEC career-building program, she not only understands the scholarship recipients’ enthusiasm that underlies the "FEMTEC spirit", but also believes in the multifaceted potential and ability of talented young female employees.

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