The Executive Interview: Marcus Wollens, Vice President, Logistics, BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd

Marcus Wollens,P05583,BBT-1Marcus Wollens says BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd (BBA) has experienced fantastic growth to date and is confident about the future. He became a member of the joint venture between the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd in 2011 and has been in China for two years. He has been working for BMW since 1995.

What percentage of BMW’s global market share does China represent?

The Chinese market represents 19 per cent of BMW’s overall global share. In 2012 over 300 thousand vehicles were sold, representing an annual growth rate of 39.7 per cent. The BMW 5 Series recorded a year-on-year growth of 52.2 per cent, becoming the brand’s first single model in China gaining more than 100,000 customers in one year, while the BMW X1 successfully achieved a growth rate of 148.2 per cent, becoming the brand’s third volume contribution in China. Looking back over my career with BMW, this is the first time we have experienced a boost in the market like this.

The BMW 3 Series Long Wheelbase is locally produced in our Tiexi Plant, one of the most cutting-edge and sustainable premium production facilities worldwide. Fuelled by these successes, we are looking forward to further solidifying our presence in the Chinese auto market.

My personal perspective of BBA’s development is that it has been making an increasingly bigger contribution to BMW’s overall success in China. Even though the growth of the premium market here is tending to slow down to a moderate level, BBA has been building up a solid foundation to maintain a sustainable and upward development in the coming years. These efforts cover R&D, local purchase, production, sales, after-sales service, training, and branding. We are deepening our roots in China and are confident of a healthy growth in the future.

How much emphasis do you put on environmental issues, in both the manufacturing process and the finished product itself (engine emissions)?

We attach great importance to environmental issues. As a matter of fact, sustainability is implemented throughout our business chain. We want to drive and shape the technological transformation to sustainable mobility. This will require all of our innovative skills: first, to develop new models and appealing mobility services; and second, to continue improving our structures and processes to further strengthen how we will work together.

The BBA Tiexi plant is one of the world’s most sustainable plants, with ground water and wind power, used in factory production. This new plant will be in full operation within this year, with the paint shop being the final part that is due to open in the second half of 2013.

Both the press shop and paint shop in Tiexi set benchmarks in the industry in terms of efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The advancement and upgrade of technology and production line will ensure the smooth supply of BMW Brilliance products to the market and meet market demand.

Thanks to extensive use of BMW Efficient Dynamics technologies, BMW models rank top in fuel efficiency among premium car makers in China.

Can you tell us a bit about some of BMW’s CSR initiatives?

BMW is the most sustainable company in the automotive industry. It has been ranked industry leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for the last eight years. By playing the role of a responsible corporate citizen, which is the ultimate goal of its corporate social contribution, BMW seeks to perform its social commitment with its core competence.

In China, BMW regards sustainability as a lasting contribution towards the economic success of the company, and strives for the long-term harmonious integration of business and society in China. BMW’s social commitment to China is also reflected in the China Corporate Social Contribution Serial Activities, formally launched in 2007, which sets BMW’s leadership in CSR in China.

BMW China Corporate Social Contribution Activities focus on intercultural innovation and social inclusion, educational support, and road safety education.

In addition we have the BMW China Social Engagement Platform and the BMW Warm Heart Fund, which, through our associates, dealers and customers, as well as the general public at large, allows us to gather strong social force and provide for the people in need.

What are your biggest challenges in terms of supply chain management from a logistics perspective?

Quality control is the most important principle for BMW: as our BBA plant continues to expand we need to increase local purchasing in line with this growth, and in this regard quality remains our top priority.

Proximity of suppliers is another important topic. The nearer the suppliers, the more we can use state of the art logistics concepts such as JIT (just in time) and JIS (just in sequence). These concepts refer to parts arriving in the production schedule as they are needed and in the correct order respectively.

We understand that your function is leading a newly launched programme called VPS. Could you explain VPS and tell us how it contributes to business development?

The translation of VPS means ‘Value-added Production System’, which is the vision of a lean company. VPS is nothing other than mindset of our managers and associates. It means the desire for improving the business in all means.

The ‘P’ in VPS is often misunderstood as it stands for ‘production’ in a literal translation. For my understanding, ‘p’ stands for people, processes and performance. That means improving such things as the working environment, ergonomic quality, processes in offices, operations. It is a mindset that is required in operations but is also important in all non-operations functions such HR, finance and R&D.