Kuehne + Nagel is providing inbound logistics support for production of the B-Class at Mercedes-Benz’s €800m ($1,014m) Kecskemét plant in Hungary and has opened a new warehouse next to the facility to support timely material supply to the body shop and final assembly line.

The Austrian-based logistics provider is handling inbound materials, operating supplier and production storage areas, as well as picking and feeding to the production line using kanban and just-in-sequence systems.

The start-up phase of production at the Kecskemét plant began in March and Kuehne+Nagel said it had been fully involved in the logistics planning process with Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler.

"We are delighted to support the production logistics of the Mercedes-Benz plant Kecskemét with our flexibility and experience of more than 20 years of business in Hungary,” said Kai Olschner, director of operations at Kuehne Nagel Eastern Europe. “Being fully integrated in the plant’s logistics concept from the start shows the confidence in our ability to make an  important contribution to the optimal supply of the Mercedes-Benz plant."

Olschner said the initial phase of production support had been very successful and that the company would continue to develop and improve the production logistics processes for the carmaker.

The warehouse established to store and supply part for B-Class production has a 10,000-square-metre storage area and is designed for rear and side loading. Kuehne + Nagel is managing empty equipment flows as well as the management of sub-suppliers from the facility.

Bob Mihok, regional manager of Eastern Europe, said the new Kecskemét warehouse enabled the company to support the logistics processes of the suppliers of Mercedes-Benz in an optimal way.

“This concerns both the sourcing processes as well as the direct feeding of the production line,” he stated. “The implementation of the logistics centre marks another important step in our strategy to focus on services for the automotive industry.”

Daimler said it would be introducing another Mercedes model at Kecskemét by the end of the this year in the form of a 4-door compact coupé.

The carmaker decided to extend production capacity for the B-Class beyond the Ratstatt plant in Germany because of high demand for the vehicle, with more than 100,000 orders taken since its launch in November last year. The Ratstatt plant began production of the model in September 2011.

A flexible production network between the two plants includes a logistics link that is part of the Daimler Rail Net network. The recently opened east-west rail link supplements the existing north-south links between the powertrain and vehicle plants in Germany. In particular, body parts, engines, transmission systems and other components are delivered from the German locations to Kecskemét by rail. From 2013, most of the completed vehicles will also be transported by rail in the opposite direction said the company.