Daimler's Bernhard works to boost manufacturing efficiency at Mercedes Mercedes-Benz has faced increasing competition over the past few years from BMW, Audi and Lexus in the luxury automobile market. In a bid to increase sales and streamline manufacturing, the company is building a $1.1 billion plant in Hungary, Bloomberg reports.

Wolfgang Bernhard, the production chief at Mercedes, has made four trips to the facility in central Hungary since he rejoined the Daimler AG management board a year ago. Bernhard has been tasked by the company with improving the efficiency of its supply chain as it works to win back market share from its rivals.

His effectiveness at improving efficiency and manufacturing at Mercedes is of vital importance to Bernhard's career hopes, analysts affirm. "Bernhard is the central candidate for the top job" at Mercedes, said Stefan Bratzel, the head of the Center of Automotive Management in Germany. "But he's got a lot to do. Daimler's results in recent years have resembled a roller coaster ride. Continuity is a key challenge."

Bernhard has so far effectively improved the efficiency of workers in factories; for example, he changed the process for installing wire harnesses to make it easier for workers and reduce the time needed to complete the task by 20 percent. Nonetheless, there is pressure on Bernhard to grow profit margins if he hopes to take over as chief executive of the automaker.  
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