Data analysis reveals cost and time savings for Daimler’s inspection process

What does it take to remain a leader in the commercial truck industry? At Daimler Trucks North America, the answer is executing engineering innovation. And the company’s approach to problem-solving embraces partnerships in higher education, including a longtime corporate partnership with Oregon State College of Business.

Recently, Daimler turned to Oregon State MBA students to analyze its manufacturing data and develop recommendations to optimize efficiency and reduce bottlenecks.

Daimler produces commercial trucks that provide the greatest safety, fuel efficiency and connectivity. To ensure the highest standards, Daimler subjects every truck to an extensive inspection process. Any truck that fails an inspection is sent back to fix the problem until it can pass all tests. Often, a truck fails multiple tests, slowing inspection times. Also, bottlenecks in the inspection process cause delays and increase testing times. Daimler is interested in optimizing vehicle inspections without compromising its standards. If fewer tests are needed to identify a problem, and if delays can be avoided in the manufacturing process, Daimler gains a competitive advantage and achieves cost savings.


Evaluate Daimler’s inspection data to find patterns of repeat testing failures and causes for delays.


Two student groups were assigned to Daimler. Students visited the manufacturing facility and were given access to Daimler’s inspection data. One group conducted an association analysis to assess whether testing failures were correlated to identify tests that led to cascading failures.

The other group looked at testing results, searching for patterns and circumstances that increased inspection times.


Eliminate redundant testing: The association analysis found a high probability of failing certain tests together. Eliminating similar tests could achieve the same results in less time. A review of how tests are proposed by different groups showed how improving internal communication could avoid redundant tests.

Reduced testing times: Through data exploration, factors such as the day of the week, the start time of an inspection shift and inspector training were identified as causes for delays and bottlenecks. Student proposals give Daimler a new perspective for how to examine internal processes.


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