The last two weeks of my summer vacation I spent for an internship at Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Poland. The plant is still being built up and under construction. The construction works began in August 2017 and the plant will open in 2019. This will be the first engine factory for Mercedes-Benz in Poland and will produce four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. The factory is located close to Jawor, a small town near Legnica in Lower Silesia, about an hour west of Wroclaw. The Jawor plant will be a fully CO2 neutral based on wind and biomass and will follow an industry 4.0 concept with more than 1,000 people working on a total production area of 180,000 m².
I was very lucky to learn about the work during the development of such a modern manufacturing plant. The office building being in Legnica I spent most days there, but had been allowed to accompany my colleagues to the impressive construction site.
In my first week, I joined the IT-Department and they involved me in their duties and work. I took part in several meetings and received explanations and presentations about planned IT-systems in the plant, by whom and how they will be managed. I saw the process flowcharts for problem and incident handling and a qualification matrix about necessary training for (future) employees. Since they are still employing many new people at every beginning of a new month, I helped with preparations for that, for example, the configuration of their laptops, changing keyboards and reactivating and updating phones. For this, I also had to create tickets and take over tasks in the IT-shop, and had to take care of documentation about open requests and finished tasks. As the team is looking for quite a few new employees, they hosted an IT recruitment day which was taking place during my internship days. I was therefore helping to prepare this event and was even allowed to assist during this special day. Since I was an “external”, I could contribute questions, suggestions and a lot of feedback to their planning. At the IT-recruitment day itself, I was also involved by giving the visitors information about the company, its history, future plans and the development of the plant.
I also joined the IT colleagues during a visit to the construction site and took part in a meeting about the cabling with a planning, consulting and project management enterprise and an electrical company. Following this, I was able to see the construction work and the whole plant, which was very interesting as you do not have an experience like this every day.
Furthermore, I spent some days in Finance and Controlling where I was introduced to the different sub-departments and their work. I was also given a task and had to prepare the data for planned budget and spendings. I compared these numbers for the departments depending on the number of FTE (full-time equivalent) and importance for the years 2019 and 2020. Additionally, I received an insight into the HR department and gained knowledge in their fields of work. In-between I completed some independent tasks such as creating and updating PowerPoint presentations on different topics or compiling a list of inventory.
During my internship, I was staying with a family in Wroclaw and was invited to different fantastic activities such as attending the “Bread and Gingerbread Festival” in Jawor. This is a traditional festival where many different activities are going on during a weekend in August. One of the goals was to beat the world record for the longest gingerbread – and Jawor succeeded (again).
They also took me on a city tour through Wrocław, I cheered on Mercedes employees at the annual business run and I watched the last horse race of the season.
On my last weekend, I went to Oświęcim which is about two and half hours south-east of Wroclaw to visit the Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau established by the Nazis in 1940 and liberated by the Soviet army on 27 January 1945. A guide took us around the different buildings giving detailed explanations. This excursion was really depressing, but I can still recommend the visit.
My internship at Mercedes-Benz Poland Manufacturing was a fantastic experience allowing me to gain a comprehensive insight into different fields of work especially related to the build-up phase of a modern manufacturing plant.
I want to thank everyone who made this unique and very interesting experience possible, to all my colleagues who spent their time showing me around or explaining their work and assigning many different tasks to me. I want to thank them for involving me into their daily work life and for making me feel part of the team. I would like to give a special thank you to Andre, Melanie and Jan-David for taking care and for including me in their family life. I really felt at home and had a great two weeks at their home. Thank you also to Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Poland for the pictures originating from their homepage which I used in this report.