• Utility Trailer Sales of Utah Inc.
  • Mercedes Benz USA
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Pep Boys
Move
-

Manufacturers

Top Headline

Primary Protection

Primary Protection

The catch-22 for most vehicle enthusiasts is, they want to show off the pristine finish on the open road but the open road is not a hospitable place for maintaining that look. Every time any vehicle hits...

Read More...

Turtle Wax

Turtle Wax

Turtle Wax founder Ben Hirsch initially marketed the auto polish he invented in the family bathtub by polishing car bumpers outside Wrigley Field and selling bottles of the product to baseball fans after...

Read More...

Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc.

Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc.

Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. has been hard at work to incorporate both Japanese and American cultures into one business. Over the past two-and-a-half years, its Campbellsville, Ky.-based plant...

Read More...

DRÄXLMAIER Group

DRÄXLMAIER Group

For nearly 60 years, the DRÄXLMAIER Group has been developing high-quality interior solutions that have gone unmatched in the automotive industry. “We want to deliver a full package to the customer...

Read More...

Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC

Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC

Since its establishment in 2009, Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram Truck Brand has grown its marketshare year-over-year and increased its annual sales through one simple tactic. “The biggest reason for our...

Read More...
Move
-

Featured Content

Top Headline
Dahl Automotive

Founded in 1911, Wisconsin-based Dahl Automotive has been in the automotive business for more than a century. The company began its days in the car business selling Ford Model T’s from a family general...

Read More...
Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet Inc.

As one of the preeminent car dealerships in southern Louisiana, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet Inc. is locally owned and has been in business for more than 45 years. The dealership has the passion, experience...

Read More...
Riverside Auto Group

Customers expect courteous service when shopping for cars, but at Riverside Auto Group’s dealerships, they are called “guests” and are given the kind of care they would receive at a four-star hotel....

Read More...
McMahon Truck Centers

Operating heavy- and medium-duty commercial truck businesses at eight locations in five states, McMahon Truck Centers has become known for its support solutions and selection of premium vehicles. A family...

Read More...
Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive is trying to change the way its industry conducts business. A Fortune 500 company and member of the Russell 2000 Index, Sonic is among the largest automotive retailers in the United...

Read More...
ROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/thompson%20ed%20pic1.jpgROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/planet_honda%20ed%20pic1.jpgROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/magic_city%20ed%20pic2.jpgROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/hillside_honda%20ed%20pic1.jpgROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/dick_genthe%20ed%20pic1.jpg
Move
-

Dealers/Retail

Top Headline

Thompson Automotive Group has been passed down through four generations. What began for the Thompson family as a small-service gas station in 1929 grew to the full-service car dealership it is today with...

Read More...

For many years, Planet Honda customers would come to buy a car, but it was the spaceship in the middle of the dealership that wowed them. The motion simulator ride through space started as a fun way to...

Read More...

On the surface, Magic City Ford Lincoln may appear to be just your average auto dealer. But the company has been serving the Roanoke Valley since 1938, and today President Cameron Johnson is leading the...

Read More...

On any given day, prospective car buyers browsing Hillside Honda’s show floor might overhear some Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Russian or even Bengali. The linguistic variety is a reflection of the surrounding...

Read More...

Visit Dick Genthe Chevrolet for an oil change, tire rotation and multi-point inspection, and you won’t even get out of the car. The service is performed in 15 minutes and is one of the keys to the dealership’s...

Read More...
Move
-

Service Providers

Top Headline

Custom Trends

Custom Trends

Automotive designs have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. From the boxy cars of the ’80s to the new 2016 releases over the past few months, the appearance and performance of our cars is something...

Read More...

Piedmont Peterbilt

Piedmont Peterbilt

Piedmont Peterbilt has become a trusted name over the past 24 years in the Greensboro, N.C., area for its quality service and maintenance of heavy-duty trucks. “Everyone knows us in the area because...

Read More...

Palmer Trucks

Palmer Trucks

Specializing in providing top quality Kenworth trucks, parts and service to clients throughout the Midwest, Palmer Trucks is a privately owned company focused on offerings service and solutions to the...

Read More...

Motown Automotive Distributing Co.

Motown Automotive Distributing Co.

The leading full-line undercar and underhood auto parts warehouse in southern Michigan, Motown Automotive Distributing Co. has more than 50 years of experience in the automotive marketplace. The company...

Read More...

Lamb’s Tire and Automotive

Lamb’s Tire and Automotive

Jim Ramsey knew something was amiss with Lamb’s Tire and Automotive’s business model after his first three months on the job as the company’s president and CEO. “When I came in, the company was...

Read More...
ROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/pirelli_tire%20ed%20pic1.jpgROKMICRONEWS ERROR: File not found: images/explorer_van%20ed%20pic1.jpg
Move
-

Suppliers

Top Headline

When the rubber meets the road, drivers want tires that they can rely on. They often turn to Pirelli Tire, which has earned a reputation for quality, high performance products, John Godfrey says. “It’s...

Read More...
Aluminum Strength

It would have been easy to stand pat with the Ford F-150. The truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America for more than 30 years thanks to its reputation for reliability and durability. But the...

Read More...

After more than three decades, Explorer Van Inc. has become completely self-reliant at its headquarters in Warsaw, Ind. “We do almost everything in-house,” owner Steve Kesler says. “We build our...

Read More...
Wheeler Bros. Inc.

For the past 50 years, Wheeler Bros. Inc. has specialized in the design and distribution of fleet vehicle maintenance and defense components. The company’s dedication to continue innovating vehicle...

Read More...
International Fleet Sales

Not many people can say they enjoy the daily challenges in their business, but International Fleet Sales (IFS) President and owner Mike Libasci can. “That’s why I like it,” he asserts. “It is...

Read More...

Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., Mercedes Benz USA is responsible for distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes Benz products in the United States. One of the most respected brands in the automotive industry, Mercedes Benz USA has gone to great lengths to improve its supply chain to help optimize its performance. 

“It is challenging to get all the cars we need with all the options, and this is a growing market,” says Rory Anne Hepner, general manager of vehicle distribution and logistics. Hepner manages retail vehicle distribution, imports and logistics, distribution systems, allocation and ordering, as well as vehicle preparation centers in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Brunswick, Ga.  

“We then must have the allocation system in place to move the cars to where they need to go,” Hepner says.

On the Upswing

Mercedes Benz USA has seen a period of growth recently. In 2012, the company sold 305,072 passenger vehicles in the United States, which represents year-over-year growth of 15.4 percent. 

Many of the Mercedes Benz vehicles coming into the United States are brought in by ship. Hepner works closely with her counterparts in Germany to devise a shipping schedule that allows the company to take advantage of market conditions and hit quarterly and annual targets. 

In addition, the company has plants in Alabama and South Carolina. The South Carolina plant manufactures Sprinter commercial vans, while the 3,000-worker Alabama plant manufactures luxury SUVs and crossovers. In 2012, the Alabama plant made more than 180,000 vehicles, a record for annual production at the plant. It has also undergone an expansion project to increase its capacity and allow it to begin producing C-Class sedans. 

“The facility is responsible for building those vehicles and distributing them domestically and to various parts of the world,” Hepner says. “So we’re not just dealing with distribution in the U.S.; we’re dealing with exports, too.”

To make sure domestic dealers have the products they need, the company has a priority system that oversees inventory. Mercedes Benz USA focuses on sold cars, and dealers let the company know when sales are made. Those sales then get precedent in processing and delivery. 

“We have a robust KPI system and incentivize our carriers to reach certain performance levels,” Hepner says. “That helps us to be responsive to dealers, end-customers and internal departments. Once a car is loaded on a truck or railcar, it then goes into our tracking system, which dealers can see. This provides better transparency to our dealers and customers so that we can meet and exceed customer expectations.” 

Footprint Enhancement

Mercedes Benz USA’s supply chain operations have been strengthened in recent years thanks to changes made at the facility level. For example, in 2008 the company moved into its vehicle preparation center in Baltimore to help prepare for the future. 

“That facility will allow us to handle growth over the next five to six years,” Hepner says. 

Additionally, Mercedes Benz USA moved out of a vehicle preparation center in Jacksonville and built its Georgia facility. Next, the company will move into a 1-million-square-foot vehicle preparation center in Long Beach, Calif.

“In our strategy, it is Mercedes Benz USA’s staff that brings cars in, processes them and gets them out to the dealers,” Hepner says. “We think it is an advantage to have our own employees involved in inspecting, processing and preparing MB vehicles for the market.”

Hepner says the set up provides the company with flexibility, and she believes the employees take pride in their performance. Because the company has that level of control over vehicle preparation and processing, and because it has made significant investment in its vehicle preparation centers, Mercedes Benz USA can live up to its commitment to have the resources and infrastructure in place to support growth in the United States. 

“We’ve made infrastructure improvements and added manpower in Alabama to prepare for the C-Class from a logistic standpoint,” Hepner says. “We’ve also developed better relationships with carriers, providing them with information on what we are doing with our products and our plans. 

“We’re working together and learning about each other’s challenges so that it is a better partnership going forward. All of that has made a big difference over the last few years.”

Looking ahead, Mercedes Benz USA will continue to take the pulse of the market to be sure it is in tune with what products are hot or not. Hepner says Mercedes Benz SUVs remain in high demand, so the company must continue to plan meticulously to get what it needs from plants. She says 98 percent of each product that is produced every month is sent out, which takes a lot of planning and communication with plants, carriers and dealers. 

“My sales background helps there, as I can look at inventory and supply and try to determine what the dealers will want and what we needs to be given priority,” she says. 

Additionally, the company also will be focused on getting the new California vehicle preparation center up and running. Hepner says the new facility is critical because it will become a regional campus and expand Mercedes Benz USA’s presence in Southern California, one of its top markets.  

“We will continue to make sure that we have the staff and processes we need to operate in the most efficient way possible,” Hepner says. ­­­

Category: Featured Content

Digital Edition


View our Digital Edition!

 

Subscribe