What are the duties of a quality engineer in Procurement & Supplier Quality? And what are the skills needed for the job? We discussed these and other questions with Marvin Lauinger.
Mr. Lauinger, please introduce yourself briefly to the readers.
My name is Marvin Lauinger. I am 25 years old and have worked for Mercedes-Benz since 2011. After graduating from high school, I did a Dual Study Program at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth with specialization in mechanical engineering and production technology. I currently work as a supplier quality engineer in "Procurement & Supplier Quality" in Böblingen. My focus is on electrics/electronics. We are responsible for the driver assistance systems in Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Why did you choose Mercedes-Benz as your employer?
I was always especially interested in the automotive sector. After about 130 years, the industry now faces significant change through digitalization – a change that we at Mercedes-Benz, the inventor of the automobile, see as a great opportunity. I am thrilled to be part of this change and to contribute my knowledge in a productive way. Digitalization also has an impact on our corporate culture. At Mercedes-Benz, the advantages of a large company are combined with the flexibility of a start-up, something I find very exciting. For me as an employee, social factors and flexibility also play a key role. The Group attaches great importance to the life balance of its workforce, offering such employment models as mobile and flexible working. These aspects in total make Mercedes-Benz a highly attractive employer in my opinion.
What was your previous experience at Mercedes-Benz– starting from your first day in the company until today?
Immediately after graduating from high school, I did a Dual Study Program in mechanical engineering at the plant in Wörth, specializing in production technology. This gave me experience of several areas while enabling me to put my theoretical knowledge from college into practice. After completing my study program, I started out as a strategic project coordinator for cooperation projects in "Procurement & Supplier Quality" for Mercedes-Benz Cars. As a project coordinator, I participated in the planning, management and coordination of cooperation projects. As an interface to the cooperation partners of the company, I was able to gather a lot of impressions and quickly took on responsible roles requiring me to represent the interests of the company to outside parties. Having gathered experience with cooperation partners, I moved on to seek contacts with global suppliers. For this reason, I now work as a supplier quality engineer for driver assistance systems. I am responsible for, among other things, the brake control systems that will be particularly important for autonomous driving.
Please tell us a little more about your team.
We are a young and dynamic team who set great store by a readiness to help and a sense of humor. Knowledge-sharing between the individual team members is an important aspect of our day-to-day work. We keep each other informed about the latest state of the art and trends in assistance systems. This requires mutual trust and open communication.
We have a highly international focus and play a key role in new and promising future technologies, which are developed and procured in cooperation with suppliers.
What do you find especially interesting about Procurement & Supplier Quality? What is the department like?
In our department, we have a great deal of contact both with internal departments, such as Development and Logistics, and with external partners, such as suppliers and cooperation partners. We have a highly international focus and play a key role in new and promising future technologies, which are developed and procured in cooperation with suppliers. As we represent the Group in our work, we have a high degree of responsibility in contacts with our partners, which makes the work especially interesting. Also, the components we procure are supplied to the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans, which means that we have plenty of contact with other cultures.
What skills are needed to work as a quality engineer in your department?
As a quality engineer, you need to be especially interested in three aspects:
Firstly, you need to be a technophile with technical know-how, because you are responsible for the quality of the particular components. Secondly, a quality engineer is often out on the road carrying out audits and supplier management on-site at the production plants of our suppliers. So you need to be willing to go on business trips and you need to be flexible.
Thirdly, you need coordination and communication skills. I would say you also need a self-assured demeanor as well as a good knowledge of English for your contacts with suppliers and cooperation partners.