Board of management members meets with employee representatives
Greater growth and improved regional presence can ensure future survival
Gerlingen – On Thursday, July 2, 2015, employee representatives organized a demonstration outside Bosch headquarters in Gerlingen. It was held to protest the planned realignment of Bosch’s Starter Motors and Generators division. On June 9, 2015, the company had announced its plans to find a partner or buyer for the division. According to official estimates, the demonstration was attended by just under 2000 people.
In a meeting with employee representatives, Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, and Christoph Kübel, the director of industrial relations, explained why the planned realignment was necessary. They also expressed sympathy for the demontsrators’ reactions. “We take our responsibility for our associates very seriously, and so this decision was not taken lightly. But we firmly believe that the division’s future survival can only be secured over the long term together with a partner or buyer,” Denner said. “Naturally, we have a responsibility toward the Starter Motors and Generators division, but also toward the company as a whole. We have to secure its future existence.”
Contructive dialogue between company and employee representatives At this afternoon’s meeting, the company agreed to consult openly with employee representatives about the realignment and how it affects employment. “Any steps we take will be characterized by fairness and a sense of responsibility,” Kübel said. “If there should be a definitive transfer to a new company, associates will know in advance who the potential buyer is. This is a sign of openness and transparency.” For Kübel, the same considerations guided the company’s decision to inform employee representatives and associates about the planned relaignment at an early stage. Today’s meeting, he said, had been correspondingly constructive, and formed an initial basis for further discussion about employment conditions and job security. Kübel added: “What concerns us is the long-term viability of the Starter Motors and Generators division and the jobs that depend on it.”
Greater growth and improved regional presence to ensure future survival There is considerable overcapacity in the market for starter motors and generators. The result is considerable cost and competitive pressure. In addition, technological developments are putting starter motors and generators under increasing pressure. Downsizing – smaller engines with smaller starter motors – is reducing value added. This will lead to a market shake-out, in which only a leading market position will offer long-term prospects of success and growth. Together with a partner or buyer, the Starter Motors and Generators division can use consolidation effects to significantly reduce its costs, while a stronger regional presence will improve its market position. This applies above all to the growth markets of Asia and North America.
Turnaround efforts have produced results, but will not be sufficient long term The Starter Motors and Generators division has successfully managed to transform itself over the past few years. Recently, it has significantly improved its competitiveness and performance. This is also due to the hard work of its associates. But regardless of this, it was not possible to achieve a market position that would secure the business long-term success in a market shake-out.
By the end of 2015, the division is to be carved out and made a legally independent entity. In addition, Bosch intends to look for appropriate partners and buyers with a clear concept for taking the business forward and securing its long-term future.
Bosch supervisory board chairman Fehrenbach: “Hermann Scholl played a crucial part in many strategic decisions at Bosch.”
50 years in the service of Bosch, ten of them at the very top
Passion for engineering: triumph of automotive electronics
Stuttgart – Professor Dr. Hermann Scholl turns 80 this month. On June 21, 2015, the Bosch Group honorary chairman celebrates his birthday. For nearly half a century, Scholl, who has a PhD in electrical engineering, made a lasting mark on the development and success of the supplier of technology and services. Above all, Scholl’s name is associated with the triumph of automotive electronics. As early as the mid-1960s, Scholl played a decisive role in the development of electronic gasoline-injection systems. Later on, this was followed by such pioneering developments as electronic engine control and the life-saving ABS and ESP systems. Under Scholl’s leadership, Bosch became a globally leading automotive supplier. At the same time, he drove forward the diversification of the company with takeovers such as those of Mannesmann Rexroth AG and Buderus AG at the start of the new millennium. “With his entrepreneurial vision, Hermann Scholl played a crucial part in many strategic decisions at Bosch. He also drove the internationalization of Bosch forward, especially in Asia Pacific,” says Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch supervisory board and managing partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG. Scholl, who started his Bosch career in 1962, became a member of the executive management in the automotive sector in 1973 and a member of the board of management in 1975. From 1993 to 2003, he was chairman of the board of management. Between 2003 and 2012, he was chairman of the supervisory board and managing partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG. Since July 1, 2012, Scholl has been honorary chairman of the Bosch Group.
Pioneer of technological innovation “For decades, Hermann Scholl repeatedly recognized the potential and opportunities offered by new technologies. Today’s cars jam-packed with technology would be inconceivable without the groundbreaking engineering work associated with Hermann Scholl’s name,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management. Right from the start of the 1960s, Scholl worked to bring electronics into the car. During that time, as an associate in automotive technology advance engineering, he designed a system for the electronic control of manual transmissions. Its modified successor system, adapted for automatic transmissions, is now the standard in all cars featuring such transmissions. The success of electronic gasoline-injection systems has continued unabated. In the mid-1960s, Scholl played a decisive part in developing this resource-conserving technology. Today, Bosch is a global leader for such systems. And with diesel direct injection, Bosch was a key enabler of the triumph of diesel passenger cars. The common-rail system, which was made ready for mass production under Scholl’s leadership at the end of the 1990s, is now the industry standard. Here again, Bosch is the global market leader. Other technological innovations include the first reliable ABS antilock braking system for passenger cars (1978) and the ESP antiskid system for passenger cars (1995). Countless times, the two systems have prevented road accidents and saved lives.
Strategic decisions – huge success During his roughly ten years at the helm of the company, Scholl drove forward the internationalization and diversification of the company. The sales of the supplier of technology and services doubled from just under 17 billion to 36 billion euros, while the share of sales generated outside Germany rose from 49 to 71 percent. Headcount increased from 165,000 to more than 230,000. Above all, Scholl encouraged expansion in China, Korea, and Japan. With more than 50,000 associates and sales of 6.4 billion euros, China is now Bosch’s most important market outside Germany. Moreover, for nearly 15 years Scholl bore overall responsibility for what was then the Automotive Technology business sector (now Mobility Solutions), first in his role as a member of the board of management (from 1989) and later in combination with his duties as Bosch CEO. At the start of the 1990s, automotive technology accounted for nearly 50 percent of total sales. By the start of the new millennium, this had risen to more than 70 percent. To create a better balance among the business sectors and reduce dependence on automotive technology, Scholl used various acquisitions to strengthen the Industrial Technology and Consumer Goods business sectors, including Mannesmann Rexroth in 2001 and Buderus AG in 2003.
For Professor Dr. Hermann Scholl’s resumé, click here
Contact person for press inquiries: René Ziegler, Phone: +49 711 811-7639
Agile product development for greater speed and flexibility
Award from Tesla for especially rapid implementation of a project
Stuttgart, Germany – In the space of just three weeks, Bosch experts successfully developed a new connected sensor solution for white asparagus cultivation, which can be used to transmit information to smartphones about the temperature in the soil mounds in which the sought-after vegetable is grown. The sensor solution allows farmers to track temperature changes in detail, which helps ensure ideal growing conditions. The short development time was made possible through the use of agile processes. Bosch is increasingly applying methods normally used in software development for achieving fast results to product development as well. “Agile developments such as these make sense especially if the technology or solutions to be developed are not clear at the outset, or the demands made of a new product are going to change over time. These methods are making us faster and more flexible,” Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner said on Tuesday at the largest German conference dedicated to agile development – “Scrum Day” in Filderstadt, Germany, just outside Stuttgart.
Agile and unconventional The new sensor solution is just one example that demonstrates that the supplier of technology and services is becoming more agile in many areas, including product development. “With the help of new and unconventional methods, we are able to respond even better than before to new customer requirements and increasingly volatile markets,” said Denner, who is also responsible for corporate research and advance engineering on the Bosch board of management. The scrum process is one of these new methods. It manages without detailed targets in many cases, though it quickly results in very good solutions. Some 300 experts are participating at a conference on this topic in Filderstadt, including Jeff Sutherland, who is one of the two creators of the scrum process.
Small teams, more responsibility The term “scrum” comes from the sport of rugby, in which it denotes a pack of players that attempt to gain possession of the ball. When applied to the world of business, the concept stands for small teams that work with great focus and motivation to jointly develop a product. In the scrum process, teams assume more responsibility than they would normally and self-organize to a large extent. During periods known as sprints, they work towards achieving small intermediate goals and define the next steps. The teams work in especially close cooperation with customers and users, and feedback is given at very short intervals. Since the early 2000s, use of the scrum process has been growing. It first became popular in the IT world, and now it is growing more common in the development of hardware products. Developers from various Bosch divisions collaborated on the new sensor solution for white asparagus cultivation.
Example 1: The white asparagus project White asparagus grows best at temperatures of between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Among other methods, farmers can achieve this range by covering the soil mounds with plastic sheets, though they must take weather reports into account if they use these sheets. The Bosch solution consists of several temperature sensors. They are placed into the soil at different depths and record the temperature level. Cables relay the measured values to a small box, where the data is wirelessly transmitted to a cloud platform based on the Bosch IoT suite. From there, the data makes its way to an app on famers’ smartphones. “Once again, we have combined our expertise in sensor technology with our internet of things know-how,” Denner said.
Proving useful in the current season Thanks to the agile approach, the white asparagus project was completed in just three weeks. During this time, the team members created the wireless connection, programmed the app, located farmers to partner with, and adapted the cloud, among other tasks. At the end of the three weeks, the first two systems were finished; another eight systems were ready just six days later. As a result, the farmers had smartphone access to information on the soil temperature and how it changes throughout the course of the day. The temperature-regulation system was immediately ready for use in fields during the 2015 white asparagus season. The agile development process was also dictated by Mother Nature herself, since the white asparagus season only lasts from April to June. The basic principle implemented in the Bosch solution can also be applied to cultivating other agricultural crops. Bosch is currently looking into industrializing and marketing the new system.
Example 2: Agile collaboration with partner Tesla Agile development also proved useful in the company’s collaboration with Tesla, for whose electric vehicles Bosch supplies chassis and safety systems. Many of these components can be precisely adapted to the requirements of the respective vehicle and the desired handling. Together with Tesla, this adjustment, referred to as an application, was carried out within a short period of time. “This collaborative effort was well suited to the use of agile development methods. In recognition of the successful partnership, Bosch was presented with Tesla’s Excellent Development Partner Award in 2014. Once more, this proves that Bosch is able to adapt to a wide range of customer requirements, including those of new market players as well,” Denner said. Altogether, only half of the usual development time was needed for the application with Tesla.
Bosch-CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner @ ConnectedWorld Blog on agile projects embedded in an agile organization: http://bit.ly/1IjX4Bc
Next-Generation Workplace: new IT solutions introduced
Online chat and video telephony aligned with associates’ personal social media habits
Deputy chairman Asenkerschbaumer: “State-of-the-art office software increases our agility and makes us more competitive”
Stuttgart – Bosch’s “Next-Generation Workplace” project marks the next milestone on the road to becoming a globally connected, agile company. This project will equip the technology and service provider’s 240,000 office workplaces worldwide with the latest office applications. The aim is to bolster the agility of how associates work by introducing a standard suite of user-friendly office and communications software. Incorporating the way associates use social media in their personal lives, the project introduces new communications tools such as video telephony and online chat. Associates will be able to access these tools using various devices such as notebooks or smartphones in the future – whether they are in the office, traveling, or working from home. By the end of 2015, the new office software will have been rolled out at 100,000 workplaces. “We are optimizing working conditions for our associates by giving them a state-of-the-art IT environment to operate in. IT infrastructure is a major factor in the company’s agility,” says Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management, who has responsibility for information systems. “Mobile computer workplaces with high levels of user-friendliness strengthen flexible, efficient collaboration and increase our competitiveness.” In total, the company is investing some 800 million euros in this initiative over the next few years.
Office software reflects associates’ requirements According to Asenkerschbaumer, the success of the “Next-Generation Workplace” project depends on widespread acceptance of the new IT solutions and additional communications options. That is why Bosch involved its associates at a very early stage in the project, in order to find out what they wanted, needed, and expected their computer workplace to offer in the future. “I’m used to chatting electronically with friends and family and using various social media channels to communicate in my private life. Now when I’m collaborating with colleagues, communication is just as intuitive. That makes me more productive – and my work more fun,” says Ee Von Lim, an accounting manager for Bosch in Singapore. She has been taking part in a “Next-Generation Workplace” pilot project for the past several weeks.
Standard, easy-to-use graphical interface “Our associates have to be able to work together easily from any of our locations worldwide – both in and out of the office,” says Dr. Elmar Pritsch, the head of IT at Bosch. “That’s why we’re using a seamlessly integrated environment for our office software.” In the future, associates will be able to use a single program on their notebooks or smartphones for phone calls, video conferences, and online chat. It will also take them just a few mouse clicks to create and manage documents and work on them collectively. In combination with its existing Bosch Connect social business platform, the company is expecting to further reduce the volume of e-mails and make it even easier for associates to communicate. The new software package includes not just Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite but also the SharePoint platform for collaboration on documents, the Skype for Business communications program, and the OneNote digital note-taking application. This program turns the computer into a kind of note pad, making it easy to create and manage notes, drawings, screen clippings, and audio. The “Next-Generation Workplace” is a long-term project for Bosch that aims to make efficient mobile working even easier for associates in the future.
Contact person for press inquiries: Nicole Neuer, phone: +49 711 811-11390