Mr. Christ/ Daimler AG, StuttgartEgon Christ, Daimler’s long-term head of vehicle logistics at Daimler (pictured), is moving to a new role at the beginning of October this year as head of purchasing and F&E services (forshung und entwicklung – research and development).

Christ will be rotating roles with Dr Monica Schmickler, who will replace him as senior manager of worldwide transportation vehicles. Schmickler, like Christ before her, will  report to head of worldwide transportation and logistics, Heiko Gaiser.

The news, which was first reported by the Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG), was circulated by Daimler in an internal and supplier email earlier this month.

Christ has been head of vehicle logistics at Daimler since 2002, at then DaimlerChrysler. He joined Mercedes-Benz in 1996 in the inbound logistics Europe department before being appointed manager of vehicle logistics Europe at Daimler-Benz the following year.

Christ has long played an important role in shaping Daimler’s global outbound purchasing and logistics, including helping to establish many of the rail services that today from the backbone of the carmaker's European distribution and vehicle flows. Among the notable developments at Daimler under Christ’s tenure has been the implementation of performance-based payment concepts for carriers in Europe, the centralisation of ro-ro flows in a global tender, and taking over more responsibility for Daimler’s import and local distribution in China. Christ has also been central to the rollout of Daimler’s latest outbound distribution concepts, designed to support a big increase in production up to 2020. These include a hub-and-spoke model in Germany that will increase flexibility and rail transport, as well as more global logistics performance monitoring.

Most recently, Daimler’s vehicle logistics team has made notable shift in its finished vehicle export flows from Europe to East Asia with the selection of Slovenia’s port of Koper to handle vehicles destined for China from Daimler or partner plants in southern Germany, Austria, Hungary, France and Slovenia. Such production has typically moved from northern European ports. Daimler is expected to extend the concept to other Asian markets next year.

Egon Christ, who has long been active at Automotive Logistics and ECG conferences in Europe, has also been notable for his willingness to engage and communicate with vehicle logistics providers, both in working toward shared benefits or in pointing out his desire for change or improvements. For example, he has often been vocal when he felt vehicle logistics providers were falling short in quality, capacity and service. He told Automotive Logistics in 2013, for example, that he was disappointed with the lack of innovation in outbound logistics, while he also encouraged established providers to look for more opportunities to expand and purchase equipment in emerging markets.  

“We would encourage note only European companies, but also our global supplier base to move toward BRIC markets,” he said. “We believe the right way of doing it is an asset-based approach.” (read more here).

Christ has also advocated collaboration among carmakers and logistics providers. He played a leading role in the now discontinued ACEA Automotive Logistics Working Group, which sought to align OEM communication vis-à-vis industry interests, while he has been quick to work with ECG on topics such as common handling and damage standards.

Meanwhile, Dr Schmickler brings extensive experience from multiple managerial and operational roles in the procurement of services. These include marketing, travel, logistics and, most recently in procuring research and development services. She joined Daimler in 1997 as part of the International Management Associate Program. After beginning her career in powertrain sales in South Africa, she moved to IPS to become assistant to the head of procurement.

Schmickler takes over Christ role in what has already been a centralised team for purchasing global outbound purchasing and logistics, which combines logistics planning, network design and purchasing across cars, vans, trucks and buses, an approach that Christ has advocated. “If we were to split our procurement by business unit, we would cut a big cake into different slices, taking out opportunities for balanced flows and bundling,” he told Automotive Logistics back in 2013 (read more here).

Now, however, the carmaker has been further shaking up its logistics management, most notably at Mercedes-Benz passenger car division, where outbound, inbound and in-plant logistics have now been centralised into a supply chain management unit, which is headed up by Alexander Koesling, and reports directly to the carmaker's board member for production and supply chain management, Markus Schäfer. The realignemnt is part of wider efforts to reduce logistics cost per car by up to 20% (read more here).

This story was updated from its original version of July 27th.