Goodbye to all that paper!

The future is paperless – Mercedes-Benz is working towards this objective on a continuous basis. Many Mercedes-Benz plants have already taken measures to reduce or even eliminate paper.

In the forge of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim, the lead plant in the global Powertrain production network, a completely digital process chain has been in place for the production of massive-formed parts, such as steering knuckles, since 2015.

Where a plethora of technical drawings was previously circulated, everything now place in digital form up to the creation of the optimally formable overall product.

Previously, there was an assembly and component drawing for each product and tool along the way, with all the necessary drawing information. These drawings consisted of several sheets of paper in large-scale A0 and A1 format.Every time a design modification or improvement took place, the drawings for each area, such as pre-planning, NC programming, tool production, tool assembly, measuring technology and production, had to be printed out in several copies and the drawing statuses archived for documentation purposes. This created vast volumes of paper.

As a result of improved computer performance, software development, state-of-the-art CAx programs, operating systems and databases, it is now possible to implement the entire process chain in digital form. The basis is provided by a central data model and the systems are interconnected. Data control is ensured by means of authorizations and change histories.

In switching to a seamless digital process chain from development through to production, we in the forge are among the pioneers when it comes to saving paper, costs and time.

Bernd Kutter, Head of Massive Forming.

The technology has developed continually over the past few years, as a result of which forge operations have been largely paperless from component production through to installation in the forging press for two years now. The digital process in the forging area is leading the way at Mercedes-Benz. Increased efficiency, greater cost effectiveness and higher environmental compatibility - three key factors that have been improved by the introduction of the digital process.

See below what other Mercedes-Benz locations do to save paper

Where paper, printers and walking distances were previously necessary, at the Bremen plant the "Q-LIVE" app is now being used to provide all the relevant quality information in the workplace digitally or via the smartphone. Whether it´s error detection or fault reports, rework control, fault remedy process or prevention, everything is now carried out digitally and transparently.

Rollout of this savings process is currently in progress at the Mercedes-Benz plants in Bremen, Sindelfingen, Rastatt, Tuscaloosa, USA and Kecskemét in Hungary and will follow in five more plants.

In C-Class Assembly documentation on paper is replaced on the production lines by state-of-the-art data transfer and the latest hardware solutions. Via screens the employees find out about the host of equipment of the individual cars. Additional mobile end devices such as tablets, mini PCs and smart PDAs support the staff in the individual work stages.

Some 4 million sheets of paper are saved through this measure every year.

The van plant in Düsseldorf uses modern technologies such as touchscreens in order to facilitate paperless communication within the production process.

In Assembly today all the standard worksheets and job element sheets can be called up completely digitally via 600 industrial panel PCs. Outdated printouts or missing documents are thus a thing of the past and what are known as the standard worksheet boards are also superfluous.

The first lines from Bodyshop and Paint are also currently in the pilot phase.

With these measures the Düsseldorf plant saves around seven million sheets of paper per year and thus reduces the CO₂ emissions by approx. 40,000 kilograms annually.

At Mercedes-Benz in Portugal invoices are prepared electronically at all Mercedes-Benz dealers. No matter whether it is a new or used vehicle purchase, for workshop services, warranties, in replacement parts business or for leasing contracts. In the last five years around one million sheets of paper have been saved through this changeover.

Since 2012 leasing companies and

Mercedes-Benz fleet customers have been able to use FleetSite to coordinate workshop care for their vehicles completely online. FleetSite encompasses all services from maintenance through repair, wheels and tires to automated explicit warranty and goodwill checks. The offer is rounded off by a user-friendly collective invoice. By way of example this has saved around 360,000 sheets of paper since 2016.

Use of the internet-based platform is free of charge for both the customer and the 950 participating workshops and available for both passenger cars and vans.

Mercedes-Benz customers will in future be able to purchase their vehicle with just one single electronic signature.

The electronic signature is currently being implemented in all Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets. It will also follow at Mercedes-Benz dealers. The annoying paperwork which for a long time was part and parcel of purchasing a car and puts so many off is thus no longer necessary. As of now, concluding a passenger car purchase contract requires significantly less bureaucratic effort and saves a huge amount of paper.

As part of the sustainability projects in alliance with Biopappel, one of the world´s leading manufacturers of paper from recycled material, Mercedes-Benz employees take the paper they use in their offices to special containers so that it can be recycled.

Thanks to this contribution, since the project began in July 2016 Mercedes-Benz Mexico has ensured that not only has the paper been recycled, but that CO₂ emissions have also been reduced, plus water and energy have been saved. Now the previous paper disposal costs have also been eliminated.