This post arrives later than “normal”. Yesterday was one of the most unforgettable days not just of this trip but of my life. I’m excited to share what happened.
The Kundencenter + Factory Tour
I finally had the opportunity to visit the Mercedes-Benz Kundencenter in Sindelfingen. The Kundencenter (translation: Customer Center), like the Mercedes-Benz Museum, provides a unique view into the development and production of Mercedes-Benz cars and vans. If you’re ready to pick-up your car directly from the factory or you want to see one-of-a-kind concept cars on display or you want to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fahrzeugsicherheit (translation: vehicle safety) practices and methodology, go to the Kundencenter.
After meeting up with my colleagues and watching an introduction video about Mercedes-Benz production and manufacturing plants, we jumped onto a bus and made our way onto the main factory site. The entire tour was in German, which made the experience even cooler in my opinion.
We had the opportunity to see production sites for the E-Class, S-Class, EQS, and Maybach vehicles lines. We couldn’t get an inside tour of Factory 56, where the complete S-Class and EQS production lines exist. We only had the opportunity to see the production zones where they literally hammer and bend each chassis out of metal. A S-Class without its nice bucket seats is a sight to behold.
It was incredible to watch production lines where there were no humans and only large robotic arms executing work flawlessly. The precision of each robotic arm was unbelievable to watch, as they not only swiftly moved large chassis pieces weighing several thousand pounds from one zone to another, but they also used specialized tool heads to install some of the smallest but necessary screws. At one point, you almost had the feeling that they would mess-up. But that feeling quickly disappears when you learn about the extensive programming and design that goes into building incredibly efficient control and monitoring programs.
Of course, human factory workers are needed for final integration of major components like tires, doors, and seats. It was really cool to see factory workers integrate components live. The conveyor belt never stops, so workers need to efficiently conduct their business as cars make their way through the production line. I’ve finally seen how Mercedes-Benz cars are created.
The Next Generation
After the factory tour in the morning, I went into the office to meet with colleagues for various topics. We ended up going deeper than intended, and discussed so many topics that my head was spinning by the end of the day. Since being in Germany, I must admit that I’m learning so much each and every day. I’m realizing that this is perhaps the most important measure to weigh any kind of job or career opportunity.
Wrapping up at around 7:30PM or so, I ended up grabbing dinner with a co-worker. We went to Andalucia - Casa Muu, a Spanish tapas restaurant. The food was muy delicioso. We ordered a bunch of tapas plates and some Sangria to go with it.
After dinner, we walked over to the main square in Marienplatz. Today was Critical Mass, a biking event on the first Friday of each month where hundreds of cyclists ride around Stuttgart. Unfortunately, I didn’t join the ride, but we met up with others to have beers outside in the warm evening weather. We even ran into some other co-workers, which was super fun to hang out with people outside of the office.
I received the greatest call to date. I am officially now an Uncle 😃. I got a call that my little nephew finally decided to leave his comfy little home and make his way into the world. This is where my writing is going to get really sappy and unstructured really fast. Oh my gosh, he is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Everyone is happy and doing well (mom, dad, grandmas). I absolutely lost it when I saw a video of him realizing he has a tongue 😂. He is so unbelievably handsome, especially sporting his custom beanie and booties from his grandma. I can’t believe that he’s finally here. I’ll take some time off when I get back to the US to visit him and assume my role as the fun uncle.
After sharing the news with my co-workers, we spontaneously decided to celebrate the moment by going out dancing. We went to a local, fairly popular and well-known club called Schankstelle. It’s been almost 4 years since I last went there, but it’s pretty much exactly the same. The music was on point, but the DJ needed some help understanding how to mix songs together — abruptly stopping and starting the next song is not the way to go. But I can’t complain — I was over the moon celebrating and dancing. We ended up coming home at around 4:00AM or so (hence the late article).
Today was truly an unforgettable day. I got to see how some of my favorite cars in the world are created, and I got to welcome my nephew into the world. I can’t wait to see him when I get home.
Frieden und Liebe ❤️ (translation: peace and love)