Training also available for IT and commercial functions
New year of training starts with 80 women and men
200 million euros for associates' professional development
Christoph Kübel, Bosch director of industrial relations: “Lifelong learning is a competitive advantage”
Stuttgart – Bosch is preparing its skilled workers for the demands of the connected working world and is expanding its development program for skilled workers in Germany to do so. In the future, the supplier of technology and services will train associates without a college degree to take on positions in IT and commercial fields that normally require higher education. Since 1999, Bosch has been offering skilled workers in technical professions a two-year development program that gives them the opportunity to take on responsibilities similar to those of an engineer. The expansion aims to meet the growing demand for software expertise and prepare associates for jobs in connected production, also known as Industry 4.0, among other things. Some 80 skilled workers, including ten women, are participating in this year's class. Around 700 participants have completed the program since it began.
Skilled people for the connected working world “The increasing level of connectivity in our plants calls for highly trained skilled workers, because their tasks are growing more and more challenging,” Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH, told the roughly 90 graduates of the program obtaining their certification this year in Gerlingen, near Stuttgart. “Our associates' willingness to keep learning throughout their lives is a competitive advantage for us. That is why we as an employer are focusing on competence management that provides the necessary knowledge and skills.” Kübel announced that Bosch intends to invest more than 200 million euros worldwide in its associates' training this year.
Back to school – with a busy life A mix of online seminars, classroom learning, and group study projects are planned to allow participants to complete training while they work. As a result, certain courses can be completed from a home computer. “It was both a career opportunity and a challenging time for me,” Mario Löhrlein, a mechatronics engineer at the Bosch plant in Bamberg, recalled at the graduation ceremony. “Juggling a career, a private life, and training at the same time, all while spending time abroad, was a real challenge. But my family and my supervisor lent me their full support.” The 30-year-old entered the development program in 2013. During his training, he had the opportunity to spend six months helping oversee a production start-up at the Bosch plant in Wuxi, China.
50 days of training call for dedication The training program, which will be known in the future as the “Skilled workers development program,” is aimed at associates without a college degree who have good professional qualifications and are interested in comprehensive professional development. “The training program lasts around two years and consists of 50 days of training,” says Siegfried Czock, who is responsible for occupational and further training at Bosch. “The participants spend 20 days of this time when they are off the job, such as at weekend seminars.” According to Czock, the program seeks to teach specialist and conceptual skills (including quality and process management as well as work methods) plus interdisciplinary knowledge of methods and social skills (such as project management, facilitation, and foreign languages). At the end of the program, the participants write a report on topics such as process optimization, error analysis, or energy management.
Consistent global competence management ensures quality standards At Bosch, global competence management ensures that associates participate in ongoing training according to consistent quality standards. A Bosch Training Center with six locations worldwide teaches skills and knowledge following proactive analysis of participants' needs. Bosch has many years of experience in the field of connected manufacturing and is able to draw on expertise as both a leading supplier and a leading exponent. Czock sees that as an advantage: “We also put this know-how to use in the skilled workers development program to give our associates the best possible preparation for their future jobs.”
Global day of action for associates strengthens intercultural dialogue
New pilot project in Germany for intergenerational learning
Christoph Kübel, Bosch director of industrial relations: “Placing value on diversity enhances social integration”
Stuttgart – Bosch is mobilizing its 360,000 associates worldwide as ambassadors of diversity and equal opportunity on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The supplier of technology and services intends to send a signal that emphasizes the value of similarities and differences between people in the world of work. To do so, Bosch is organizing its second international day of action for its associates on May 21, 2015. On Bosch Diversity Day, dialogue events and activities aimed at getting people involved at more than 200 locations are intended to shine a spotlight on the role diversity plays in achieving excellence. Bosch sees teams encompassing different ages, nationalities, genders, and ways of working as a driver of its innovative strength. Each year, the group applies for thousands of patents worldwide.
Strengthening diversity – with ambassadors in 60 countries “The benefits companies reap from diversity should also provide incentive for improving social integration around the world,” says Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH, explaining the campaign to mark the day. “The fact that our associates work with people of other nationalities means that they are well-versed in intercultural dialogue in their private lives as well. As ambassadors of diversity and equal opportunity, our associates in around 60 countries worldwide make a contribution to a society of mutual esteem and respect.” In particular, the promotion of equal opportunities for men and women, the integration of foreigners, and the acceptance of older workers are important for civil society, he adds. The UN’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was instigated in 2001. Among its objectives is to foster peaceful coexistence between diverse people and sections of society.
Diversity management fosters excellence Diversity is an integral part of the corporate culture at Bosch. It consists of the four dimensions age, gender, nationality, and working culture. “Our customers expect excellence and fascinating products from us,” says Heidi Stock, who is in charge of global diversity management at Bosch. “We achieve this through a working atmosphere that respects and values different perspectives and encourages and harnesses diversity. This allows our associates to achieve better results, especially in international cooperation.” Mixed teams help solve demanding challenges in an increasingly connected world. For example, associates from different areas came up with the idea of using a lambda sensor from automotive technology in an oven. As a result, a sensor measures moisture levels and informs users by app when their cake is finished baking.
“Intergenerational tandem”: new pilot project in Germany Partly as a result of demographic change, working in mixed-age teams is a major topic in Europe where diversity management is concerned. In Germany, Bosch has launched a new pilot project that allows younger associates to learn from older associates – and vice versa. An “intergenerational tandem” brings two associates who are at least ten years apart in age together on a voluntary basis. At regular intervals, they exchange knowledge and experiences from their day-to-day work, offer each other advice, and take a conscious look at things from a different perspective. “We want to further connect our associates across generations and show that everyone can learn from each other,” Stock says.
“We are Bosch”: diversity as corporate value Diversity has more than just strategic importance at Bosch. The appreciation of different mindsets, life models, and experiences is a reflection of the company’s values-based culture. These corporate values form the basis of the company’s recently-revised “We are Bosch” mission statement. Straightforward and compact, the mission statement expresses how Bosch sees itself as a company.
Growth targets surpassed in 2014, despite difficult environment
Sales growth in all business sectors and regions
Sales expected to rise by 3 to 5 percent in 2015
Increasing importance of software competence
15,000 software engineers, 3,000 for the internet of things
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group has made a good start to 2015. In the first quarter, sales grew by roughly 13 percent.1 After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, the increase was 5.4 percent. For the current fiscal year, the global supplier of technology and services expects its sales to grow 3 to 5 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. Because these effects are considerable, Bosch expects its nominal sales growth to be higher than this range. Presenting the annual financial statements in Gerlingen, Germany, Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, said: “Our economic and technological strength in our established fields of business allows us to open up new market segments.” Internet-enabled products and internet-based services are one of the focal points of the company's future sales growth. “We are driving connectivity forward in all our business sectors and playing an active role in shaping it,” Denner added. In 2014, Bosch launched many new products and connectivity solutions. They include web-enabled ovens and software solutions for connected heating systems and buildings, as well as for connected industry and connected mobility.
Business developments in 2014: significant progress In 2014, product innovations again helped Bosch to further improve its market position in many areas. In the past business year, the company increased its sales by a nominal 6.3 percent to 49 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, growth was 7.4 percent. As a result of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 500 million euros, the temporarily strong euro had a considerable impact on the sales figure. This strong development of sales also contributed to an improved result. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to 3 billion euros last year – a year-on-year increase of roughly 10 percent. Bosch thus disclosed an EBIT margin of 6.2 percent in 2014. This is roughly one percentage point better than the value for 2013, adjusted for one-off and extraordinary effects. “Our rigorous work on costs also played a part in this significant improvement in result. In 2014, we were successful despite only moderate global economic growth,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the Bosch chief financial officer and deputy chairman of the board of management. Following the complete takeover of BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (now BSH Hausgeräte GmbH), the supplier of technology and services has strengthened its position in the area of smart homes. And with the acquisition of ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (now Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH), Bosch has added to its portfolio in the growth area of automated driving.
Mobility solutions for tomorrow's traffic For Bosch, automated driving is a significant area of growth. The company is successively launching new driver assistance systems. For example, 2015 will see the start of series production of remote-controlled parking, the traffic jam assist, and an assistance function for evasive maneuvers and turning against oncoming traffic. In the Mobility Solutions business sector, more than 2,000 engineers are working to make the auto pilot for drivers a reality. When it comes to the mobility of the future, Bosch is not only concerned with automation, but also with connectivity and electrification. As of now, the company has received 30 orders relating to electrical powertrains. Each year, Bosch invests nearly 400 million euros in electromobility, not least in further developing battery technology. “We were instrumental in the success story of the diesel. We want to do the same for the electrical powertrain,” Denner said. One key to the market success of electrical powertrains is their suitability for everyday use. For example an app developed by Bosch gives drivers access to a network covering 80 percent of all web-enabled charge spots in Germany. For users, this means that recharging their electric vehicles is easy.
Today, Bosch sees itself as a supplier of mobility solutions that cover more than just the car. In 2014, systems such as gasoline and diesel direct injection were once again extremely successful. Increasingly, they are being joined by software solutions and mobility services. “Connectivity makes completely new solutions possible for the multimodal traffic of the future. And in established areas as well, it will play a significant role in creating customer benefit and conserving resources,” Denner said. Last year, for example, Bosch debuted connected electronic engine management systems for two wheelers. Riders can use their smartphones to read and evaluate vehicle data.
Growing significance of software competence In the connectivity business, there is a new “3S”: sensors, software, and services. Bosch is the globally leading manufacturer of micromechanical sensors, more commonly known as MEMS sensors. This year, it will manufacture 1.6 billion such “sensory organs,” nearly 25 percent more than in the previous year. Moreover, for some years now, the technology company has been expanding its software competence. Today, one in three of the 45,700 associates working in research and development is a software engineer. Three thousand engineers are working on the internet of things alone. “For Bosch, software expertise is a key competence for the future,” Denner said. “Embedded software is already one of our strong points, and we are successively adding to this with IT software know-how.” Only recently, Bosch acquired the connectivity specialist ProSyst, a supplier of gateway software and middleware. In smart homes, ProSyst software acts as an interpreter for the devices of different manufacturers.
Bosch IoT suite: platform for the internet of things One central software platform for the internet of things is the Bosch IoT suite. It orchestrates communication and data exchange between web-enabled objects such as factory machinery, heating systems, and security cameras. The Bosch IoT suite can also analyze and process the kind of big data generated in areas such as connected manufacturing. Bosch also makes parts of its IoT suite accessible for open-source developers. “Our IoT suite is meant as an invitation to participate. In shaping the connected world, we put our faith in open solutions, since we believe they will drive forward the manufacturer-independent networking of devices and machines,” said Denner, whose responsibilities on the Bosch board of management include research and advance engineering.
A multitude of services on the internet of things According to Denner, the business potential of the internet of things lies above all in the services that can be derived from connectivity. “Bosch is in equal measure a supplier of technology and services, and both are an advantage for us in the connectivity business.” Even today, Bosch offers a wide range of service solutions for many industries and customers. For example, its Security Systems division offers telematics services such as eCall for 500,000 vehicles in 16 languages. By the end of 2015, Bosch will have facilitated the connectivity of some 100,000 vehicles for the fleet management of leasing and insurance companies. At the Hannover trade fair, Bosch presented its remote service manager. In connected manufacturing, it makes the remote maintenance of machinery possible.
Data security and data protection in the connected world With growing connectivity, there is also a growing demand for data security and data protection. “The decisive factor for the widespread acceptance of connected solutions will be data protection, and thus people's trust,” Denner said. In this context, the Bosch CEO called for rapid adoption of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. “Both legally and technologically, there is still much to be done to make Europe truly ready for the internet of things.” In the area of data security, the company is already in good shape. Bosch employs more than 100 associates who specialize in secure data transfer. The company operates a center of competence in which it brings together relevant know-how in areas such as cryptographic methods and the management of certificates.
The business year 2014 by region and business sector
Asia Pacific: growth region number one In Asia Pacific, Bosch grew its sales 17 percent (19 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) in 2014, to 13 billion euros. At just under 27 percent of total sales revenue, the region's share of sales reached a new high. Sales growth was especially strong in China, rising a nominal 27 percent to 6.4 billion euros.
Americas: significant growth in North America, difficult environment in South America Our business in North America developed very well, growing 8.6 percent to 8.5 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange rates, the increase was as much as 9.3 percent. In South America, weak automotive production and weakness of the Brazilian real had a negative effect on sales developments. At 1.5 billion euros, sales were down by an exchange rate-adjusted 4.4 percent on the previous year. In nominal terms, the drop in sales was 13 percent.
Europe: economic situation remains difficult Despite an economic situation that remained difficult, Bosch increased its sales in Europe by 2.1 percent to 26 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, growth was 2.5 percent. The region thus accounted for 53 percent of total sales. In Germany as well, sales were up year on year, at 10.8 billion euros.
Mobility Solutions: growth twice as fast as the market The Mobility Solutions business sector was once again able to accelerate its rate of growth. Sales rose 8.9 percent (9.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 33.3 billion euros. Bosch thus grew twice as fast as the automotive market. The business sector's EBIT was 2.4 billion euros, and its EBIT margin 7.2 percent. Without one-off and consolidation effects, the year-on-year improvement in operating result is roughly 0.9 percentage points.
Industrial Technology: back on a growth path In 2014, the Industrial Technology business sector's sales amounted to 6.7 billion euros, a nominal 2 percent below the previous-year level (1 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects). This slight drop is due to a weak market, as well as to the divestment of the sector's pneumatics business in early 2014. Excluding this consolidation effect, sales increased by 2.5 percent, and 3.6 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. All in all, Industrial Technology improved its EBIT to 67 million euros.
Consumer Goods: market leader in power tools Encouraging growth was posted by the Consumer Goods business sector. Its sales grew 5 percent to 4.2 billion euros, or 7 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. Last year, the business sector generated EBIT of some 550 million euros and an EBIT margin of 13.1 percent. Its EBIT included the pro rata after-tax profit of the BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture.
Energy and Building Technology: enhanced competitiveness In 2014, the Energy and Building Technology business sector increased its sales by 1.7 percent (2.6 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects), to 4.6 billion euros. Its EBIT came to some 170 million euros. EBIT margin stood at 3.7 percent.
Headcount: 12,000 new hires this year In 2015, Bosch plans to take on some 12,000 graduates worldwide, 1,200 of them in Germany alone. Total Bosch headcount grew by some 9,000 in 2014, to 290,000. Following the integration of the former fifty-fifty joint ventures BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, the Bosch Group now employs roughly 360,000 associates (as per April 1, 2015).
1 Sales figure assumes that the consolidated group includes BSH Hausgeräte GmbH and Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH.