Who dares, wins: Daimler honors suppliers

Quality, partnership, innovation, economy, delivery reliability and sustainability – those are the crucial criteria of the Daimler Supplier Award. Every year, it is awarded to suppliers in recognition of above-average performance and co-operative partnerships.

One of the ten winners at this year's Daimler Supplier Awards is MEKRA Lang from Middle Franconia in Bavaria. Founded in 1932 as a small family company manufacturing mirrors, the business has since grown into a globally active company and an important partner for Daimler in the development of the MirrorCam system. And it's a true innovation, with the new Mercedes-Benz Actros being the first series-produced truck to do away with regular main and wide-angle mirrors, having replaced them by a camera system to make it the first truck on the road to not have classical exterior mirrors.

MEKRA Lang Group is a long-term business partner of Daimler. The supplier of conventional exterior mirrors for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles dared to join Daimler in 2015 on unfamiliar terrain: the joint development and manufacture of a completely new type of system to replace main and wide-angle mirrors with digital cameras and displays.

The challenge of further developing a traditional product made of plastic, steel and glass to turn it into a highly innovative and technology-driven product and thus also overcome the many hurdles that stood in the way, was mastered extremely well by MEKRA Lang in time for the product presentation.

The result of this collaboration is a system comprising compact digital cameras which offer a much better all-round view, ensure greater safety and also have major aerodynamic advantages. Through the omission of the mirrors, the new Actros consumes as much as 1.5 percent less fuel than its predecessor on motorways and trunk roads – an important point for many transport companies.

The MirrorCam system celebrated its premiere in truck manufacture in line with the presentation of the new Actros in September 2018 and also serves to underline the importance of the collaboration which Daimler enjoys with its suppliers: bearing responsibility, a willingness to take risk and the effort involved in trying out new things are all very worthwhile. This added value and the resulting synergies are beneficial not only for Daimler and their business partners, but also in equal measure to the final customer.

The driver is shown real-time images from the two cameras installed on the left and right of the roof frame. The images are shown on two high-resolution, 15-inch displays mounted to the A-pillars inside the cab. Depending on the situation, the system adjusts the image shown on the screen.

Several assistance functions of the MirrorCam system support the driver: in bends, the image on the screen on the inside of the bend follows the vehicle movement and thus delivers an optimal view of the entire trailer – a considerable improvement when compared with a regular mirror system. When driving in a straight line, distance lines enable a better estimation of where the traffic behind the vehicle is located. A special maneuvering view helps the driver by providing a better overview: in the upper section of the display, the area closest to the vehicle is shown, whilst the lower section shows the wider surroundings of the vehicle. If Sideguard Assist is installed, the MirrorCam display also shows warnings in critical driving situations.

• Awarded by Mercedes-Benz Cars Procurement and Supplier Quality

…in the quality category:

IAC. An interior specialist from the USA, supplying door panels. IAC successfully managed numerous ramp ups and delivered in top quality.

…in the partnership category:

Corning. Since more than 165 years, the US-company is innovator in materials science. The collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Cars was close and exemplary.

…in the innovation category:

Mubea. The owner-operated company from Germany supplies Mercedes-AMG with coil springs and stabilizers. Thanks to innovative lightweight technology the weight of the components was reduced by 20 percent.

• Awarded by Global Procurement Trucks and Buses

…in the quality category:

5 years, 0 mistakes: HITCHINER Manufacturing Co., Inc. Awarded for delivering consistently outstanding and highly complex castings for turbochargers. Hitchiner casted the quality standard in one of a kind quality trucks.

…in the partnership catogory:

They made things happen: In 2018, by developing and delivering state-of-the-art crank cases in an extraordinary speed, Fritz Winter Eisengießerei made an early Start-of-Production possible. The result? They powered up the Trucks & Buses portfolio last year!

... in the innovation category:

The next level: The new Mercedes-Benz Actros is the first series production in the world to have digital rear view mirrors. Elegant, efficient and safe: MEKRA Lang pushed technology to the next level.

• Awarded by International Procurement Services

…in the quality category:

Siemens AG. Awarded as an outstanding partner with a broad variety of highest-quality solutions in production worldwide, always looking for best solutions.

…in the partnership catogory:

thyssenkrupp System Engineering. Awarded as a long term partner, setting benchmark with the assembly line for the new battery for Daimler’s first electric vehicle EQC.

…in the innovation category:

APPSfactory GmbH. Awarded as a true enabler in the field of connectivity apps, providing services in the new A-Class.

Special award for innovation

RAPA receives the “Special Award”. Rausch & Pausch developed a unique electrohydraulic control unit. It can be experienced in the new Mercedes-Benz GLE technology “E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL”.

• Once a year, Daimler presents the Daimler Supplier Award to honor above-average performance as well as partnership with ten suppliers over the past fiscal year.

• Their performance is measured in terms of quality, partnership and innovation. In addition, economic efficiency, supplier loyalty and sustainable behavior are evaluated, based on trust and open communication.

• On Wednesday 20 February 2019, the eleventh Daimler Supplier Award event was held in Stuttgart's Carl Benz Arena. Around 450 strategic partners and key suppliers from 30 nations came to the prize-giving ceremony, which this year bears the motto VISION. VENTURE. VALUE.

• The motto is a blueprint for successful business and anchors strategic focus on future collaboration between Daimler and its business partners. As part of this, suppliers are encouraged, among other things, to actively advance transformation and digitization, as well as introduce new ideas in co-operation with Daimler.

Daimler Supplier Award 2019

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