Products to improve road safety in world’s largest automotive market
Strengthening local production for local customers
Chengdu - Bosch opened a new plant in Chengdu, western China. In the future, the plant will manufacture safety systems such as the ABS antilock braking system and the ESP(R) electronic stability program for local customers. The new site covers a total of some 127,000 square meters. Bosch, a supplier of technology and services, will be investing roughly 100 million euros in the location in the years ahead. Of this amount, 35 million euros have already been spent on the first construction phase.
The new manufacturing facility will strengthen the company’s local presence. “Chinese drivers are placing increasing importance on road safety. Like in other regions, this is causing increased demand for safety systems,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, who sits on the Bosch board of management, at the official opening ceremony. “Our new Chengdu plant underlines our great confidence in the world’s largest automotive market. And by manufacturing locally, we can react better and faster to the requirements of our western Chinese customers.”
In organizational terms, the new plant will belong to the Chassis Systems Control division. This Bosch division manufactures and develops components and systems for active and passive safety, as well as driver assistance systems. Worldwide, Chassis Systems Control employs some 16,000 associates at more than 35 locations. It has had a manufacturing facility in Suzhou, near Shanghai, since 2002. To allow these safety systems to be tested, Bosch opened a further test track in Donghai, in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, in June this year.
Bosch in China A global supplier of technology and services, Bosch has been present in China since 1909. Today, Bosch China has some 34,000 associates, working in the Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology business sectors at 58 locations. Following Germany and the U.S., China is Bosch’s third largest market. It generated sales of some 5.1 billion euros in 2012.
Further building under construction for engineering center
Entire complex has surface area of 50,000 m2
One billion euros invested in Hungary between 2004 and 2013
Budapest – On July 31, 2013, the Bosch Group opened its new Hungarian headquarters in Budapest in the presence of the Hungarian national economy minister. The new facility is home to 350 associates in sales, administration, and engineering, all of whom previously worked in neighboring rented premises. In total, the supplier of technology and services intends to invest some 100 million euros in Budapest by 2015. The location will have a total surface area of 50,000 square meters, which corresponds to roughly six football fields. The facility will also include an engineering center, which is currently under construction. Following the center’s completion in 2015, some 850 engineers will be relocated there from the rented offices they currently occupy.
Bosch has been present in Hungary since 1899. This investment underlines the company's long-term commitment to the country. As the member of the board of management Uwe Raschke said during the ceremony: “For us, Hungary is an important manufacturing and engineering location with highly-qualified and motivated associates. This investment is a symbol of our confidence that the country will continue its positive development.” By the end of 2013, Bosch will have invested approximately one billion euros in its Hungarian locations since 2004.
Bosch in Hungary In 2012, Bosch generated sales in Hungary including intercompany sales of more than 2 billion euros – that represents more than two percent of the country’s GDP and is an eightfold increase from ten years ago. Bosch in Hungary employs 8,500 associates in its business sectors Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology.
Stuttgart-Feuerbach and Homburg locations are winners
Process efficiency and energy efficiency are clear competitive advantages
Bosch Group: 20 percent less CO2 by the year 2020
Stuttgart – Bosch receives two 2013 Lean & Green Efficiency Awards. The company’s Stuttgart-Feuerbach and Homburg manufacturing sites in Germany are awarded joint first place in the “automotive group/OEMs” category; performance at both locations impressed the jury enough for it to award first place twice. The Lean & Green Efficiency Awards recognize successful approaches to protecting the environment and conserving resources. Instead of viewing the environmental aspects of product development in isolation, the awards see them in the context of the manufacturing process itself, evaluating how energy and environmental considerations are dealt with through process efficiency and lean principles. “Receiving this double award underlines our conviction that economic and environmental interests are very compatible. They’re even mutually beneficial,” says Dr. Werner Struth, whose responsibilities as a member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH include production systems and environmental protection. “Increasing energy efficiency helps to protect the climate as well as improve our competitiveness,” Struth continues.
Award winner Stuttgart-Feuerbach: identifying waste “We do not tolerate waste. We’ve been implementing the principles of the Bosch Production System for more than ten years now. In the past, we systematically identified unnecessary waste in production and logistics processes,” explains Dr. Andreas Wolf, the technical manager of the Feuerbach plant. “Nowadays we’re just as systematic and meticulous in our endeavors to pinpoint energy waste,” he continues. Energy consumption at the Feuerbach plant has dropped by more than 40 percent since 2007. Total CO2 emissions fell by almost 50 percent in the same time period, while relative CO2 emissions (in relation to value added) dropped by more than 10 percent. Taking a smart approach to shutting off production machines, for example, can save enough energy in a year to supply 3,200 family homes.
Award winner Homburg: energy value stream reveals levers "We are improving our energy efficiency using the same methods we use to optimize our production processes. This illustrates the importance we give to combating resource waste. Our systematic approach is yielding great results,” explains Thomas Gönner, the technical manager at the Homburg plant. An energy value stream is used to ascertain how much energy is consumed at each stage in the process of manufacturing diesel injection pumps. “The energy value stream creates transparency. This is how we identify the levers that allow us to increase energy efficiency,” Gönner continues. The plant has implemented many energy-saving measures since the early 2000s. Gönner and his associates have managed to reduce energy consumption by a further 16 percent since 2007, for example by optimizing cleaning systems to improve their energy efficiency. Once optimized in this way, cleaning systems consume around 20 percent less energy, which enables the Homburg plant to save enough energy every year to supply some 1,400 family homes.
Bosch Group: 20 percent by 2020 Industry accounts for over 30 percent of all energy consumed worldwide. The Bosch Group aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its manufacturing sites by 20 percent by the year 2020, compared with the 2007 baseline. It also aims to improve its energy efficiency by 20 percent. In addition to grid-based energy supply Bosch generates energy from renewable sources such as hydroelectric power and photovoltaics at its locations in Germany and elsewhere. Upgrading the energy efficiency of manufacturing facilities and power stations helps to make the energy supply system more efficient overall. Associates’ awareness of energy-efficiency topics is raised through training events such as “energy experiences,” “energy schools,” and “energy days.” More than half of the technology and service company’s approximately 260 locations around the world are certified to ISO 14001, the global standard for environmental management systems. More information on this topic can be found online.
About the Lean & Green Efficiency Awards The 2013 Lean & Green Efficiency Awards will be presented at the beginning of November at the Lean & Green Summit. Awards in the categories “groups”, “OEMs”, and “SMEs” will be presented to representatives from both the automotive industry and the mechanical engineering sector. There will also be a special award for particularly outstanding performance. An independent jury drawn from science and industry decides on the winners.
July 19, 2013 We are used to convincing our customers with technological arguments. Our company has a long-standing reputation for producing quality products that have been designed and developed by engineers. Bosch regularly receives top results in customer satisfaction surveys. We know that this focus on technology is important, and that our lasting promise of quality and reliability is absolutely essential. But we also know that this alone will not be enough to secure our market position in the future, when we will be up against old and new competitors offering products that are essentially similar.
If nothing else, the success of Apple has prompted a rethink. It is important to find out what customers really want – and not just by conducting more market surveys, studies, and polls. We have to find out what the needs and desires of our customers really are, and strive to reach them on an emotive level. This is the only way we will be able to convince them of the exciting possibilities offered by our solutions and innovative approaches. A crucial factor in this respect is focusing on our customers’ user experience, and this has led Bosch to establish its own dedicated user experience team. Working as a service provider for all divisions, this team places the user at the center of its deliberations. ‘User’ refers to the person using a product or service on a daily basis, and can include everyone from car drivers to the associate operating a packaging machine.
User comfort in electric vehicles On the basis of this approach, Bosch has designed a cockpit for an electric vehicle. Over the course of six months, the user experience team spoke to potential users, accompanied them on their way home, and observed them during test drives. The art lies in finding the right users for studies of this kind, and being able to interpret their needs. The 20 test subjects included techies, computer gamers, and people who don’t drive. The information collected from this mixed bunch was correspondingly diverse, and sometimes produced surprising results. For example, we had integrated an information screen into the cockpit that displayed the charge still left in the battery as a percentage figure. At one point, one of the test drivers in the simulator said: “I’m not interested in knowing how much power I’ve got left, I want to know how much further I can go.”
The user experience team is not just made up of engineers and computer scientists. Psychologists, prototype specialists, user-interface and industrial designers, and marketing experts also contribute their knowledge and points of view to help answer important questions such as: Does the user think the product is practical? Esthetically appealing? Easy to use? Is the product fun to work with? Does the user feel that the product suits them? Getting a product or service to the stage where it meets all these requirements usually involves a large number of steps. The aim is to meet the hidden needs and desires of customers. We want to fascinate our customers by recognizing and addressing those requirements that go beyond a particular product’s pure functions or obvious benefits.
Another example of a discovery made by our user experience experts is that starting the engine is a key moment in the driving experience. Electric motors don’t make any sound when they are started, leaving drivers unsure whether the engine is in fact running. Our designers have created a starting system that gives drivers exactly this ‘start-up’ experience when they turn the key in the ignition. The control unit looks like a high-end hi-fi system, and uses lighting and sound effects to let drivers know that the motor is on and running.
Cardboard prototype Whenever a problem comes to light, the specialists are quick to put their heads together to try and solve it. They use simple media to quickly construct new prototypes during the early stages of the development process. On some occasions, successive models made of foam, paper, or cardboard are presented straight back to potential users to find out what they think of the improvements. Simply offering an explanation of what the new design will look like is not enough. We have found that giving people the chance to visualize the product makes all the difference.
Approaching things with the user’s experience in mind is not only effective for designing products and software, but also entire systems and user environments. Users must not get the feeling that such systems are complex. Take electromobility. From the user’s point of view, this involves much more than just the vehicles themselves. In order to offer an integrated solution, Bosch has developed an emobility infrastructure system in collaboration with the city state of Singapore. The system directs drivers of electric vehicles to the next charge spot as required, and takes care of billing the utility company. Rental car companies or parking space operators also have the opportunity to supplement this open system with additional services. We have tailored the total package to suit the needs of the user, and implemented it in an intuitively understandable way.
Faster, more innovative, and more cost-effective Regardless of the type of product or where it is to be used, we believe that approaching things with the user’s experience in mind offers decisive advantages compared to developing and designing products strictly on the basis of technology and market requirements. Firstly, it makes companies more innovative. The user experience approach means that experts from diverse disciplines study a broad range of users. Accordingly, it takes account of the widest possible range of experience and viewpoints. We are all well aware that diversity is a key driver of innovation. Secondly, it makes companies quicker off the mark. Collecting user experience and improving products in an ongoing and rapid system of feedback and redesign shortens development cycles. And thirdly, it saves costs. Anyone who makes their mistakes in the early phases, prior to investing too much time and money, and who keeps a close ear to their customers, is unlikely to be confronted with the labor- and cost-intensive need to rework and optimize things at a later stage of development work.
Our strategic imperative is “Invented for life.“ For Bosch, this not only means being expert in the technology we offer, but also ensuring without fail that it suits the needs of our customers. Systematically applying the user experience approach is of central importance to achieving this objective.
Dr. Peter Schnaebele, Head of User Experience, Robert Bosch GmbH