World class delivery
The excitement was palpable at the Mercedes-Benz bus assembly plant in East London, as the final 2010 World Cup bus chassis rolled off the assembly line in late March. VIC OLIVER attended the event.
The workers responsible for building the 460 bus chassis in record time and ahead of schedule for the 2010 FIFA World Cup were there to witness their achievement as the final chassis came off the assembly line; and the expressions on their faces spoke volumes about how proud they all were.
And rightly so. Not only was the order completed on time, but according to Rainer Ruess, the plant’s vice president, manufacturing, the assembly team worked with such passion and commitment on this project that they even managed to overcome the unforeseen challenge presented by a delay in the arrival of some vital components from South America.
A good indicator of how committed workers are to an assignment is their daily attendance rate, which was 98.9% for the 460 World Cup bus chassis and therefore one of the highest on record globally.
I had the privilege of travelling from East London airport to the Mercedes-Benz bus plant in the Bafana Bafana luxury coach, which has just been handed over to our team. It is being made available to the national soccer side for three years, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. My trip in this luxury vehicle gave me the opportunity to experience its world-class quality.
While Marcopolo – who built the bus body which meets all South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) quality and safety standards – undoubtedly deserves praise for body-work worthy of the chassis’ outstanding quality, credit must be given to the Mercedes-Benz management team for its foresight in taking a huge business risk in 2008, spending €1 million (R9.9 million) to upgrade and expand its East London plant. This bold decision was taken without any assurance that the manufacturer would be awarded the tender to build these bus chassis. But, without expanding the plant, it would not have had the capacity to meet the 460 bus chassis order in time, while still maintaining the exceptional quality and standards for which Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches are renowned.