Renegotiating mobility on a daily basis Buyer for automated driving and active safety

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Lena Wiedmann is a buyer for automated driving and active safety. In her job she negotiates with suppliers on components which contribute towards safety in vehicles. "I am spurred on by being part of the change and actively shaping the mobility sector," says the 22-year-old. In this interview she explains what exactly her duties are in this position and which skills it requires.

Hello Ms. Wiedmann, what kind of study background do you have and how did you come to join Mercedes-Benz?
I completed a dual course of study here, specializing in industrial business administration. This gave me the opportunity to take a peek at various units in the company. Since I completed my degree in 2017 I have been working at the Purchasing and Supplier Quality unit in Böblingen, where I am a Buyer responsible for autonomous driving and active safety.

What does this mean in general terms?
Generally speaking we are responsible for buying various components which contribute to safety in our vehicles. We are responsible for our respective components and we negotiate prices, logistics conditions and capacities as well as development costs with our partners. We are project managers and cooperate closely with development and logistics.

Now you are involved in particular in the issues of autonomous driving and active safety. What does this mean for purchasing?
In our team we are responsible for purchasing component parts which will be essential for automated driving in the future. Central to this is the sensor system installed in the vehicle to function as the vehicles’ "eyes and ears". For example the long-range radar or the stereo camera. By purchasing these future-proof components we always keep pace with the times in our work.

What do you like best about your role?
My work gives me lots of variety and choice. Thanks to the different interfaces I gain insights into many of the units in our company. In direct contact with the suppliers I am given the opportunity to assume a high degree of responsibility. Obviously we are operating in a global environment. That means that I sometimes travel to places such as Japan and Korea. In my unit I have the opportunity to help shape and set the points for the future right from the start of the project.

Please tell us a bit more about your team and your work. How is the team composed? What is your work routine like?
No two days are alike thanks to the variety of tasks. The spectrum of duties ranges from strategic purchasing activities to operative negotiations with the supplier. We are often involved in quality, production and development processes or market investigations, which makes the work very diverse and exciting.

What profiles are you looking for in your unit?
At Purchasing we represent the interests of our company towards the suppliers, which requires a great sense of responsibility and a high degree of integrity. Good communication skills are also necessary in order to be able to achieve corporate goals: You need a certain amount of tact and sensitivity. And the classic topics such as team spirit, personal initiative and reliability are naturally also required.

Why did you choose Mercedes-Benz as your employer?
The Mercedes-Benz Group is an exciting company due to its global presence and the many different functions with great opportunities for personal development. As an automotive company and mobility service provider we are part of the change in the mobility sector, which provides us with the chance to work on fascinating and innovative projects. Mercedes-Benz also places great emphasis on further development of a creative and open working culture, which offers me as an employee additional responsibility and even more decision-making leeway. I am proud to be a part of this change.