Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft are Collaborating to Improve Vehicle Efficiency, Resilience, and Sustainability

Published on: 12 October 2022
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Mercedes-Benz AG and Microsoft Corp. are working together to make the process of making cars more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. Mercedes-Benz's MO360 Data Platform connects its nearly 30 passenger vehicle plants around the world to the Microsoft Cloud. This makes its digital production and supply chain more transparent and predictable.

The MO360 Data Platform is the next step in the growth of Mercedes-Benz's MO360 production ecosystem. It helps teams find possible supply chain bottlenecks faster and allows production resources to be dynamically allocated to electric and high-end vehicles.

This unified data platform is built on Microsoft Azure. It gives Mercedes-Benz the flexibility and cloud computing power it needs to run artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics on a global scale while meeting regional cybersecurity and compliance standards. The platform is already available to EMEA teams and will be deployed in the US and China.

The Stuttgart-based carmaker uses the MO360 Data Platform to create a virtual copy of how its cars are made. It has information about assembly, production planning, logistics on the shop floor, the supply chain, and quality management. Before running processes on the shop floor, virtual simulation and optimisation help to enhance operational efficiency and unlock energy savings. Managers, for example, can optimise operational patterns to reduce CO2 emissions in manufacturing.

Mercedes-Benz is also looking into integrating the MO360 Data Platform with data sources from other departments to create a digital feedback loop that will promote continuous learning and innovation across the Group.

The MO360 Data Platform engineering teams will be based in the recently constructed Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus Berlin, which will also serve as the MO360 training and qualification centre for implementing digital approaches globally.

Teams can quickly evaluate and visualise production data with the new centralised data platform, allowing them to optimise production processes and identify potential supply chain bottlenecks. This allows for the dynamic allocation of operational resources within and between plants to prioritise the production of low-emission and high-end luxury vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz Operations Logistics will be able to resolve supply chain bottlenecks much faster. They can compare the availability of parts, including the availability of semiconductors, with orders for production and place this information against production factors like operational running plans. As a result, even when supply chain issues arise, plant managers keep production running and prioritise relevant vehicles.

As the market moves toward an all-electric future, the MO360 Data Platform will make it easier to keep making both electric vehicles and vehicles with combustion engines on the same production line.

The MO360 Data Platform will let teams look into several production scenarios based on the availability of components like semiconductors and real-time data about the quality of parts and equipment. It will help teams deal with component shortages and avoid delivery delays. This is expected to make passenger cars 20% more productive by 2025. It will also help avoid unplanned downtimes and plan maintenance work in a way that reduces CO2. 

Mercedes-Benz has implemented an analytics tool as part of the MO360 Data Platform to analyse and reduce its ecological footprint during vehicle manufacture, a critical milestone toward the company's Ambition goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2039.

Teams can use the data analytics tool to track and forecast carbon emissions, energy and water usage, waste management, and best practices across the production network. Mercedes-Benz wants to get more than 70% of the energy it needs from renewable sources by 2030. It plans to do this by developing solar and wind power at its own facilities and through Power Purchase Agreements. It also wants to reduce the amount of water it uses in production by 35% by reusing water.

Joerg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, responsible for Production & Supply Chain Management:

“This new partnership between Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz will make our global production network more intelligent, sustainable and resilient in an era of geopolitical and macroeconomic challenges. The ability to predict and prevent problems in production and logistics will become a key competitive advantage as we go all electric.”

Judson Althoff, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Microsoft:

Mercedes-Benz’ partnership with Microsoft is a testament to the power of the industrial metaverse. Together, we are merging the physical and digital worlds to accelerate value creation. Mercedes-Benz can simulate and refine manufacturing processes infinitely in the Microsoft Cloud before bringing them to the shop floor to enhance efficiency and minimize its environmental impact amid constant change and uncertainty.”

Jan Brecht, Chief Information Officer of Mercedes-Benz Group AG:

“With the MO360 Data Platform, we democratize technology and data in manufacturing. As we are moving towards a 100% digital enterprise, data is becoming everyone’s business at Mercedes-Benz. Our colleagues on the shop floor have access to production and management-related real-time data. They are able to work with drill-down dashboards and make data-based decisions.”

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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