From the initial design sketch to series production - as the person responsible for door trim components, Zoé Pasquay is in charge of the entire development process. In her job, the development engineer ensures that the Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles of future generations combine a unique interior and the latest technologies. In her interview, Zoé Pasquay tells us what steps a component goes through until it is finished, what interfaces make up the entire process, and how she came to Mercedes-Benz.
Ms. Pasquay, you are responsible for the door trim components - what exactly does that mean?´
Please, call me Zoé. I work in interior development, and in particular, I am responsible for the door trim. From the first design concept, which all technical requirements need to be incorporated into, I support the entire development of this component. You could say that I look at "my" door trim down to the last screw and develop it together with the other departments until it is finally visible in the vehicle for the customers. I am primarily responsible for the technical development of the door trim, and coordinate the interfaces with the other development departments. These include, for example, Design, Logistics, Procurement and Passive Safety.
So you work with quite a few interfaces.
That is true. We regularly consult with our colleagues from the very beginning. At all stages it is about exhausting the technical possibilities, because as the person responsible for the components, I am given a large bouquet of requirements for my door trim - so it never gets boring. The most exciting thing is that I go through all the phases of development. And I learn something new every day.
How long does the process take from the design sketch to completion?
It takes some time! (laughs) When I think of all the interfaces and coordination, I realise again and again that we can only achieve our goals when everyone works together effectively. I am currently industrialising the door trim of an upcoming EQ model.
What decisions do you have to make to meet all of the requirements for the door trim?
In addition to the design meetings, we pay attention, for example, to how we can optimise our components while adhering to the design idiom within technical development. The focus is also on accommodating components such as switches, trim parts and lighting elements in the door trim, as well as the best possible sound experience through the loudspeakers. We also address ergonomic criteria to enable maximum comfort for the passengers. In addition to the door panelling in the interior, components adjacent to the exterior such as the door module, wiring harnesses and the body shell are also coordinated with the respective departments.
And after the development phase, you move on to production?
Exactly. I am then in consultation with toolmakers and my colleagues from Quality Management. Crash tests are also carried out with our hardware components, which I am involved in. This is very interesting because you can see how a component behaves under significant stresses. Other exciting events include the installation tests. Among other things, the focus is on the assembly and quality of the components so that industrialisation can begin and the start of production is successful. For this, it is important to exchange ideas with international colleagues, depending on where production is taking place.
What is your team like and how do you work together?
Our team consists of 12 employees. Each one is responsible for a specific component. In my team, I am the only responsible for the door trim of an upcoming EQ model. The other colleagues handle interior scopes such as the door panels of other model series, cockpit, centre console, air nozzles or glove box. As we each work independently, we ensure in our team meetings that we take advantage of each other's synergies and keep each other up to date.
What did you study, and how did you actually come to Mercedes-Benz?
I did my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in completely different fields, but they are a very good combination for my job: I completed my Bachelor's degree in design and project management with a focus on engineering and then specialised with a master's degree in vehicle construction with a focus on body development. This was prompted by my Bachelor's thesis, which I wrote at the company. In the process, I realised that this was exactly the right thing for me. In 2017, I joined the Group as a component manager and that will not change any time soon, because I really like this job.
What makes working at Mercedes-Benz special for you?
On the one hand, definitely the good atmosphere. It is incredibly fun to work with my colleagues, and just great to make my own contribution to our team. When you see your component in the vehicle at the end, it is simply a feeling of happiness because you know how much work and heart has gone into it. In my opinion, Mercedes-Benz vehicles have an outstanding interior. Moreover, I have so many opportunities at Mercedes-Benz to develop my talents and personality, and that motivates me every day.
Another personal question: Do you also like to be creative in your private life and use your technical knowledge?
I also enjoy being creative privately. I renovate furniture and upholster armchairs, for example. I often think about what technical improvements could be implemented in everyday life - as a developer you have one or two thoughts. Coming up with new solutions and ideas is a lot of fun for me.
Zoé Pasquay (29) has always had a passion for technology. That is why, after completing her Bachelor's degree in design and project management at South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, in Germany, she decided to study for a Master's degree in vehicle construction at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW). Today, the component manager lives with her boyfriend and her cat in Grafenau near Sindelfingen. When Zoé is not working on new technical interior solutions at Mercedes-Benz, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking and, as a native of Saarland, she especially looks forward to visiting her parents and have fresh baguettes from France, which is only five minutes away.