Dajana Scheibe is our sherpa for the Leipzig Porsche tour. We meet in the lobby of what looks like a spaceship that is waiting for it’s citizens before it takes off. This Leipzig, Germany plant is where all the parts of a Porsche Cayenne and Panamera come together to become a car.
Almost 1,000 people work at the Leipzig plant. 650 people are Porsche employees, 250 people that work at the plant are external. Eighty-five percent of the workers at the Porsche Leipzig plant come from the Saxony region where Leipzig is located. Eleven percent of the line workers are women, mainly in the finish/quality team.
We walk into a room that Dajana Scheibe referred to as the Supermarket. You see workers scan a barcode and certain bins light up. The worker takes the proper number of pieces from each bin. The guys in the trucks that deliver the parts to the assemblers are not Porsche workers, they are from a company called Schnellecke that is outsourced to do the deliveries to the factory workers on the floor.
There is not a full days worth of products, only 9/10. Around 4 am every morning the bins are refilled by the suppliers.
There is a record of every car piece used. The worker scans the bar code on certain parts before putting them in the car. Other parts are put in the car then cleared by touching the monitor of the computer in their work area. Every car piece is accounted for in this just in time work place.
This cuts down on picking the wrong piece, which isn’t difficult as there are 600 variations of a dashboard alone. All cars face forward in the production line.
Porsche noticed that when they faced backwards there were more problems in production than when the car was worked on going forward. It was a right-left issue that somehow got messed up when the car was backwards.
Teams stay together but change jobs in the assembly production. That way each group gets to know each other, and every part of assembling a car. The plant was built with the health of the worker in mind. The car is set on a platform that moves on magnets. The worker can move with it instead of trying to finish it before it moves. Even at the average age of 35 years old Porsche is concerned about the ergonomics and ease of use of the worker.
Thirteen percent of the cars are taken out of the production line every day and tested for quality. Quality is important at Porsche because the quarterly bonus they receive is based on quality. Each jobber gets six minutes to do their job correctly. On other assembly lines the time can be as little as 1 1/2 minutes, causing more quality problems.
Each car is tested on the race track outside the plant and then on the off-road course next to the track.
In 2008 Porsche built onto the existing plant so that they could assemble the Panamera.
The Panamera body and doors are delivered to the plant. the body weighs 425 kilograms and 15 kilograms of paint. The body is made of magnesium, aluminum, and steel. The body is placed in a horseshoe carriage that can be flipped so that the factory worker can work on the car easier.
380 cars a day are assembled at the plant. 130 of them are Panameras, 250 CAyennes. In the United States one goes into the dealership and can purchase a car. In Europe or Germany they order a car. From the day the consumer orders the diesel it will take 7 to 8 months to receive it. A Porsche Panamera takes 3 to 4 months.
Currently Porsche assembles the Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S. They range in price from 74,000 Euros to 155,000 Euros. They also assemble the Cayenne, Cayenne CS, Cayenne CS hybrid and the Cayenne turbo. They range in price from 53,000 Euro to 135,000 Euro. In June Porsche will start assembling the Panamera hybrid, in August Porsche will start assembling the Panamera diesel.
In 2013 Porsche is planning to produce the Porsche Cajun, the Cayenne Jr., at the plant. This means they will need to enlarge the plant and hire about another 1,000 people.
It also means that the Leipzig, Germany plant will go from being just an assembly plant to a production plant.