Hi, smarties. My name is Lena. I work for the smart Marketing department in Germany. As part of my traineeship rotation I will spend a week at the smart assembly line in Hambach, France.
Today was my first day at Hambach, France. Hambach is located between Saarbrucken and Strasbourg, around 65 miles away from the German border. It is located next to a big highway in order to ship the cars as fast as possible to their next destinations, e.g. Bremerhaven. This is the big port in Germany where smarts are sent to the US. In total, about 1500 people work at the plant. All smart fortwo are manufactured in this plant, 446 per day. In order to produce 446 smarts, the workers work in two shifts, an early shift starting at 6 am, and a late shift starting at 2 pm. That number adds up to more than 100.000 smarts per year and about 1.4 million smart fortwo that have left the plant to date.
The plant itself was built in a very special shape. The assembly line in the shape of a “plus” symbol optimally meets assembly and logistics requirements, ensuring highly efficient production processes. System partners and suppliers are able to deliver supplies and parts directly to that part of the assembly line where they are needed. That enables shorter lead times and thus enhances the production efficiency. In June 2012, the plant received the industry award "Trophèe de l'Excellence Industrielle" from 'Usine nouvelle' trade magazine and INSEAD and WHU business schools for its production model and its efficient logistics operations.
Before I am allowed to start working, several things have to be organized. First, I got my work clothes. Every worker gets smart sweaters, pants, t-shirts and gloves. I got shorts, because I am too short for pants :). It is very important to wear this special gear in order to avoid any scratches or damages on the cars. This is part of our quality promise.
After I got my work clothes and a presentation about safety instructions and quality procedures, I met my trainer Fred. Fred will accompany me the next days in order to explain me how I have to execute the different work steps. He gave me a tour through the whole plant in order to give me an understanding of the different steps of the smart production. I try to upload a short video about the tour tomorrow.
Now I am ready to start working at the assembly line. My first job will be the installation of headlights.