The employee magazine
of the Volkswagen brand

Product line organisation

Volume isn’t everything

Brand CEO Herbert Diess regularly answers questions from the staff. This time he’s in Wolfsburg with Board Member for Production Thomas Ulbrich.

What’s your vision for the MEB?

Employee from Body Construction

I hope we are able to use the modular electrification toolkit (MEB) as an ­opportunity to create a system superior to that of our competitors, one that will allow us to build cars 40 percent faster. The MEB gives us the freedom to design. We need to make the most of this – through a close working relationship between Technical Development and Production.

Should we manufacture production tools without modifications in the future?

Employee from Process Control

That’s quite a challenging goal. Let’s be realistic: Having no modifications at all won’t work. However, we do need to significantly reduce their number and scope. The same applies to complete overhauls in later phases of vehicle development.

How do we balance quality and local market requirements?

Employee from Assembly Planning

Our premium quality will continue to help us stand out from our competitors in the high volume segment. The meaning of quality varies according to the market – for example, it could relate to the materials or the final fit. On the other hand, everyone wants cars with zero faults and a long warranty. Our quality standards have to meet specific requirements in each market. Chattanooga is running a pilot project on acceptance standards, and we’re keeping a close eye on that. However, giving up on quality and value would be completely wrong.

High investments in future technology, strict CO2 targets: How will we manage that financially?

Employee from Test Equipment Construction

It will be tough, that’s clear. However, we’ve got a good plan with the TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy and the Pact for the Future. We aim to increase our profit margin by 4 percent by 2020. We need at least that for our core business and a portion of our planned investments. We want to reach 6 percent by 2025 so we can cover all future-related issues. Quick and consistent implementation of the Pact for the Future will be decisive in this process.

Product line managers should be making decisions about vehicles, not the Board of Management, right?

Pilot Hall employee

Right, but the product lines haven’t been around very long. Everyone’s doing their best but it’s not yet all running smoothly. This will take time. We need to train the product lines: support and challenge.

Which goals do you still hope to achieve?

Employee from Advance Planning

I want to make sure that our company is future-proof. We have made progress when it comes to starting new production, regionalization is currently underway, and we’ve got some top talent on board. We just need to make sure that we’re quick enough. Our competitors are on our tail and even one step ahead of us in some areas.

What moves you personally?

Employee from Advance Planning

The issue of responsibility. I hope that every employee has faith in their abilities to make clear and sensible decisions. The question has to be: What decision would I make if I owned the company? Of course, it’s more complicated than simply looking to those above you. But in return, you get the feeling of having made a contribution. And you can feel proud of what you have done.

We often compare ourselves to other car manufacturers. Must we always be number one?

Employee from Automation Technology Planning

I think it’s good that we want to win. However, over the past few years we have been concentrating a lot on volume. But that’s not everything. We need to generate profits to secure our future. In particular, we need to make our processes even better. That’s why everyone in production plays such an important role. For a high-volume manufacturer like us, having secure and efficient processes is very important – in Production, in ­Development, and between divisions when starting up production.