Theresa Burgert knows how to make processes better and more efficient. In the plant planning and implementation function at Daimler, she and her colleagues ensure that replacement parts for passenger cars and commercial vehicles can be quickly and securely stored and removed at the Global Logistics Center in Germersheim. In her interview, the mechanical engineer tells us what matters most when planning a new high-bay warehouse, and what makes the dual study program at Daimler so special.
Ms. Burgert, you help make sure that everything always runs smoothly in the warehouse. What is it about your work that you like?
I particularly like how varied it is. When it comes to warehouse and materials flow planning, there are always new challenges to face because a lot of processes are linked closely together. In our team, we make sure that the times for individual work steps are complied with, and that there is enough space available for working and storage. I love finding solutions that make work in the warehouse easier. At the end of the day, they make our entire value added chain more efficient!
You are currently working on a very interesting project in Germersheim. What exactly is that all about?
An additional 80,000 square meters of storage space are being created there. With a total area of around 1.3 million square meters, the Global Logistics Center is one of the world's largest central storage facilities for replacement parts in the automotive industry. The heart of the new hall is a modern high-bay storage area that stands an impressive 40 meters high! This is where we will store a wide range of parts in the future to supply the global after-sales logistics network. The latest technologies, such as an electric in-floor conveyor system, ensure that the components can be stored and removed quickly. The new high-bay storage area will be opened in the course of 2020 following a phase of intensive testing.
What do you need to pay particular attention to when planning the flow of materials?
The connection with the inventory warehouse often represents a genuine challenge with this project. We also need to ensure that daily operations can continue without disruption. That requires detailed coordination with the entire warehouse operation.
Our new storage space in Germersheim uses state-of-the-art technology so that parts can be stored and removed efficiently.
You started at Daimler directly with the dual study program. How did that come about?
I grew up near Wörth. My father worked in the Global Logistics Center. That gave me a connection with the company at a young age. Even as a child I was fascinated by truck production. The size of the machines in particular is in a class of its own. After graduating from high school, I wanted to turn this passion into my profession. I decided to apply for a dual study in the field of mechanical engineering at Daimler in Wörth, and I was accepted.
How did the course combine lectures and work?
In addition to lectures at the Cooperative State University in Mannheim, a three-month practical phase was scheduled for each semester. I worked in various different units at Daimler, including start-up and change management, in Unimog parts development and plant planning. I was largely able to choose my own positions.
Would you recommend the course?
Absolutely! The mentors at Daimler genuinely address the students' preferences on an individual basis. That meant that I was also able to spend half a year working at the Daimler plant in Portland in the US. There is a very good network and regular meetings with current and former students, which mainly helps at the start of the course. Back then is when I got to know some of my current colleagues.
At Daimler, students in the dual study program can have a say regarding their positions and projects during their practical phases.
How do you work as part of a team now?
In our team, people with very different professional backgrounds (such as plant planners, designers, ergonomics experts and specialists for technical calculations and transportation systems) work together on projects. We have a large number of interfaces with other units such as Controlling, Inventory Management, Plant Security, the fire department and of course the warehouse.
And what do you like most about your job?
My work is so varied that I can't really give you a proper answer! But it's this variety that makes my work so interesting. I really like being on-site in the warehouses. Today, for example, a colleague and I took a closer look at a loading gate where the loading process is not working perfectly, and for which we will have to come up with a solution. And of course I'm often in meetings and working in my office. Then, I sketch first drafts and compile facts and figures for planning.
What do you consider to be special about working for Daimler?
In terms of my projects, I have a lot of freedom and independence in my job. This is very important to me in my work. The company offers great opportunities for development, as well as many other benefits for example in the field of healthcare. Daimler's culture is truly special. This is something that appealed to me from the very beginning.
One last personal question: Where can you usually be found at 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday evening?
At that time I'm often out eating with friends. I'm a real foodie – particularly when it comes to Asian cuisine. I simply can't resist it (laughs).
I love finding solutions that make work in the warehouse easier.
Theresa Burgert (31) started working in the "Methods and Systems" team in Wörth after completing her mechanical engineering degree at the Cooperative State University in Mannheim. Since 2015, as a material flow and facility planner in Germersheim, she has helped keep the processes of the Global Logistics Center running on schedule. Perfect timing is not just important to Theresa Burgert in her job. Whether it's precise steps when dancing in shows or the perfect wave when surfing – the main thing for the woman from the Pfalz region is that everything is "just in time".