I have seen some very impressive spare-parts depots in my time but the one opened by Mercedes-Benz (UK) Limited at Hayes, near London Airport in October absolutely takes the breath away. It is enormous, and spotlessly clean, like a gigantic racing-car workshop. The ingeniously arranged spares-bins have wide corridors between them and anything from a minute washer to body shells and cabs for vast Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles can be instantly located by the latest computer and TV systems. Mercedes-Benz were the first British car manufacturers to install a computer to control their flow of spares to their dealers, back in 1966, at Brentford, but this move to an enormous new Spares Depot suggests great optimism about the importance of the British market to Daimler-Benz. The cost of building the Centre was obviously astronomical and it is geared to the 1980s. It covers 220,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space, five times that of the former facility, and the two-storey racking and binning absorbed 540 tons of steel and alone cost £500,000.
The Centre holds £5-million-worth of parts, in 50,000 line-items. The computer cost £300,000 and the place employs some 90 operatives. There are four unloading bays manually adjustable to differing heights of lorry tail-boards, rubbish is disposed of in a 1½ ton compactor, lifts, trolleys and revolving doors reduce exertion to a minimum, and altogether this is the most imposing Spares Depot I have seen. It emphasises that Mercedes-Benz retain their premier position among the giants of the World’s motor vehicle producers.—W.B.