Dialogue participants discuss subjects with technological and future relevance
Bosch CEO Denner: “In the race for a connected world, Germany must use its strengths”
Bosch start-up platform encourages entrepreneurship in the company
Berlin – Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has appointed the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner to the steering committee of the innovation dialogue, in which the federal government consults with the business and academic communities. At its regular meetings, the committee focuses on technological subjects and the effect that political, economic, and social conditions will have on such things as Germany’s future innovative strength. The discussions are attended by the federal chancellor and the ministers for economic affairs, education, and special tasks on the one hand, and representatives of the business and academic communities on the other. The committee is chaired by Prof. Dr. Henning Kagermann, president of Germany’s National Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech). “The future of German business lies in connectivity, both technologically and organizationally. It is both appropriate and necessary that politics, industry, and academia should work together to strengthen Germany’s status as a seat of innovation,” said Denner, who is both CEO and CTO of the Bosch Group. “In particular, the close networks between business and science are one of Germany’s main strengths in the global competition among knowledge-based societies,” Denner went on.
Germany needs more innovative business models The Bosch CEO is confident that “Germany can lead the world in connectivity. We are in an excellent position to do so.” When it comes to connected manufacturing, Denner stressed that Germany still has a strong industrial base. “Our know-how in manufacturing things, combined with our expertise in IT and automation engineering, gives us a very real advantage in the race for the connected world.” However, Denner does not believe that Germany’s future competitiveness is set in stone. While German industry has always been a technological pioneer, “innovative business models still tend to be the hallmark of Silicon Valley. In the internet age, German companies also have to be innovative in their business models.”
Bosch start-up platform: encouraging entrepreneurship in the company The Bosch CEO sees a need to catch up in two areas above all: first, in technical infrastructure (e.g. poor broadband networks) and, second, in its culture of entrepreneurship, which is still underdeveloped. “The number of start-ups in Germany has fallen constantly over the past ten years. This is clearly not the development we need,” Denner said. Increasingly, therefore, Bosch is encouraging entrepreneurship within the company. Only recently, the company’s own start-up platform went into operation. It provides support to Bosch associates wanting to set up their own company. Denner went on: “Our associates have proved that they are good researchers. Now we want them to be good businesspeople as well.” While associates focus on making their innovations ready for the market, the start-up platform helps them with administrative matters such as management accounting and financing.
2013: without extraordinary effects, margin of 6 percent
Sales growth of roughly 7 percent in the first three months of the year
Growth between 3 and 5 percent expected for 2014
Market leader in micromechanical sensor technology, a gateway technology
Opening up new and internet-based market segments
One billion euros in sales with driver assistance systems by 2016
Sales to double in Asia Pacific and the Americas by 2020
*Note: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the previously published figures for 2012. The decision to forego the application of proportionate consolidation affects mainly BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH with a consolidated sales volume of some 7.3 billion euros.
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group has started the new year with a good increase in sales. In the first quarter, sales grew by roughly 7 percent. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, the increase was roughly 10 percent. For the current fiscal year, the global provider of technology and services expects its sales to grow 3 to 5 percent. “We continue to move forward with our traditional business and are opening up new fields of business. In so doing, we are benefiting from our broad technological and industrial expertise,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the company's annual press conference. The Bosch Automotive Technology business sector continued its strong business performance of the previous year, growing impressively in the first quarter of 2014. “We have also seen clear growth in our other business sectors. With regard to the regions, business in Asia Pacific is developing especially well,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the Bosch CFO. Bosch also aims to further improve result in 2014.
Sensor technology – global market leader for the technology of the future Internet-enabled products and internet-based services are one of the focal points of the company's future sales growth. With its hardware know-how and broad technological expertise, Denner believes Bosch is well prepared to move into this direction. “Bosch's traditional strengths – our innovative strength, high standard of quality, international presence, and the integrative force of our corporate culture – are also valuable in the connected world,” Denner said. Moreover, the company is global market leader in the area of micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology when it comes to networking things on the internet. Bosch's strategic objective is to create solutions for connected mobility, connected industry, connected energy systems, and connected buildings.
Intelligent sensors – basis for the internet of things Sensors enable a new form of technical assistance in day-to-day life. Describing the strategic significance of sensor technology, Denner said: “Whether we are speaking of automated driving or the smart home, a new quality of comfort, safety, and efficiency is developing, and Bosch is creating the technical conditions for this change.” In 2013, the market leader produced one billion micromechanical sensors. This year, a further 30 percent increase is planned. Intelligent sensors are the next level of technological progress. These are equipped with a radio interface and a microcontroller. As a result, sensors are able to transmit relevant data via the internet, for instance to mobile end devices. “Smartphones will not be the only devices to be equipped with sensors. Any 'smart' object will feature internet-enabled sensor technology,” Denner said.
Automated driving – also at higher speeds from 2020 Sensor technology is also a major technological prerequisite for future driving. Modern driver assistance systems require ultrasound, radar, and video sensors. This year, Bosch will produce nearly 50 million ultrasound sensors, 25 percent more than the previous year. The number of radar and video sensors produced will double to more than two million units. As early as 2016, sales of driver assistance systems will exceed one billion euros. By 2020, the company aims to enable automated driving at higher speeds on freeways. In the coming decade, fully automated driving using an autopilot function could become possible. “Automated driving is a technology that saves lives. At the same time, it can spark drivers' enthusiasm, since it offers them support with tiresome driving tasks,” Denner said.
Connected road traffic – new services For driving to be automated, there has to be connected traffic as well as car-to-x communication. By 2025, almost every new car will be equipped with wireless data communication technology. Even now, the connected vehicle makes a broad range of services possible. In 2013, Bosch began offering its eCall emergency call system. When sensors record that a vehicle has had an accident, an automatic emergency call is made. Last year, the Bosch monitoring center processed a good 30,000 emergency calls. In the area of telematics, Bosch offers fleet management services for leasing and insurance companies. “For us, connectivity on the roads not only means efficiency and comfort, it also means safer driving,” Denner said.
Doubling sales in Asia and the Americas by 2020 Asia continues to be Bosch's number one growth region. By 2020, the company aims to double its sales in the region. For this reason, the level of capital expenditure will remain high. From 2010 to 2014, Bosch will have invested some 3.3 billion euros in the region. The company also aims to double its sales in North and South America by the end of the decade. In addition to expanding its manufacturing capacity, Bosch is strengthening its local development activities. In Guadalajara, Mexico, the company is currently opening a new development and software center. In Africa, too, Bosch aims to significantly increase its sales in the years ahead. In 2014, the company will further expand its presence on the continent. In Europe, Bosch aims to grow faster than the market despite the region's economic situation, which continues to be weak. As it expands its international presence, Bosch is also developing a growing number of products and services that are tailored to local customer needs.
The business year 2013 – improved sales and earnings In fiscal 2013, Bosch increased its sales by 3.1 percent, to 46.1 billion euros (*based on an adjusted previous-year figure of 44.7 billion euros). The disclosed sales figure takes the exit from crystalline photovoltaics into consideration as well as consolidation effects resulting from changed accounting policies and acquisitions in the previous year. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales grew 6.3 percent. As a result of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 1.5 billion euros, the strong euro had a very negative impact on the sales figure. Excluding burdens from photovoltaics, Bosch disclosed a 6 percent EBIT margin. This translates into EBIT of 2.8 billion euros. The positive developments in the Automotive Technology business sector made a significant contribution to the improvement in result. “Also thanks to our many efforts to cut costs, we have taken an important step toward achieving our target EBIT margin of 8 percent,” Asenkerschbaumer said. Even including the extraordinary burden of 1.3 billion euros resulting from photovoltaics, EBIT margin increased to 3.2 percent. Bosch has discontinued the activities in the area of crystalline photovoltaics. The company has now sold most of its activities in this area. The sale of the remaining activities is planned to be finalized in the first half of 2014.
Headcount increased in 2013 – further workforce expansion planned in 2014 In 2014, Bosch expects headcount requirements to increase mainly in the Asia Pacific growth region. Altogether, some 9,000 university graduates will be hired around the world. In Germany, the company is planning to hire some 800 university graduates. The number of new apprentices in Germany will be same as the previous year, at around 1,400. In 2013, the Bosch Group's workforce grew by about 8,500, to 281,000 (*adjusted previous-year figure: 273,000).
Automotive Technology – strong growth around the world in all divisions In 2013, the Automotive Technology business sector increased its sales by 6.7 percent (10.3 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects), to 30.6 billion euros. Its EBIT of 2.4 billion euros and EBIT margin of 7.7 percent were considerably higher than the previous year.
Industrial Technology – packaging machinery sales of one billion euros In 2013, the Industrial Technology business sector's sales amounted to 6.8 billion euros, 9.2 percent below the previous-year level (down 6.5 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects). The difficult economic situation hit the Drive and Control Technology division especially hard. In contrast, the Packaging Technology division developed positively. Overall, the Industrial Technology business sector recorded a negative EBIT margin of 1.2 percent. EBIT showed a loss of 83 million euros.
Energy and Building Technology – connected products for smart heating The Energy and Building Technology business sector increased its sales by 3.9 percent (5.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 4.6 billion euros. The sector improved its result to some 106 million euros. Its EBIT margin came to 2.3 percent. In particular, the Thermotechnology division developed well.
Consumer Goods – market leader for innovative power tools In 2013, the Consumer Goods business sector generated sales of 4.1 billion euros (note: as a result of changes to accounting policy, this figure includes sales of the Power Tools division only, plus some miscellaneous other sales). After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales were 2.9 percent higher than the previous year. In nominal terms, sales decreased slightly. The Consumer Goods business sector achieved an EBIT margin of 10.4 percent. Its EBIT of 415 million euros included the proportionate after-tax profit of the BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture. Even without this result, the business sector's EBIT margin was encouraging.
Europe – growth in a difficult economic situation In Europe, Bosch sales grew despite the ongoing difficult economic situation. The company's sales in the region increased 2.2 percent (2.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 25.5 billion euros. Sales increased slightly in Germany as well. Bosch invested 1.6 billion euros in Europe in 2013. Especially in eastern Europe, the company is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity. Last year, Bosch invested more than 900 million euros in Germany.
The Americas – strong growth in North America, recovery in South America In the Americas, sales in nominal terms varied considerably in 2013. In North America, Bosch sales grew by 3.5 percent (6.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 7.8 billion euros. This was in part the result of an increase in vehicle production. In contrast, sales in the South American market decreased by 3.6 percent, to 1.7 billion euros. However, after adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales increased 8.9 percent. Bosch invested some 280 million euros in North and South America in 2013.
Asia Pacific – improvement in China, severe currency effects In Asia Pacific, Bosch achieved sales growth of 5.8 percent (13.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to roughly 11.1 billion euros. Especially in the Chinese growth market, demand for automotive and industrial technology picked up significantly over the course of the year. Demand for automotive technology was also high in Southeast Asia. In India, poor economic conditions meant that business developed less well than forecast. The same applied to Japan. In 2013, Bosch again made considerable investments in Asia Pacific. With some 620 million euros spent, Bosch focused especially on expanding its manufacturing capacity for automotive components.
Research and development expenditure remains high Last year, Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros, or 10 percent of sales, on research and development. Bosch researchers filed nearly 5,000 patents over the course of 2013, some 20 per working day. The company plans to continue expanding its research and development capacity this year. By the end of 2014, Bosch will have some 45,000 researchers and engineers on board. More than 2,000 additional researchers will be hired in Asia Pacific, for instance. The company is also boosting its innovative strength in Germany, with a new center for research and advance engineering in Renningen, near Stuttgart.
Maintaining cutting-edge research – rapid transfer to industrial application Denner, whose responsibilities on the Bosch board of management also include research and development, called for greater political commitment to promoting innovation: “Policymakers need to set their sights higher.” While Germany is close to spending 3 percent of GDP on research, the private sector has played a greater role in this achievement than the public sector has. Denner deplored the fact that universities were chronically underfunded. In some cases, he said, there was not enough money to pay for the buildings' upkeep. For him, the result was obvious: top researchers were leaving Germany in favor of research institutes in other countries. Denner went on: “In research and development, Germany and other European countries have to measure up to the world's leading countries.” He said that funding must above all benefit basic research, as well as its rapid transfer to industrial application. “Top universities make the regions they are located in more appealing. Companies indirectly benefit from this as well.” Bosch itself is an active member of 250 university research partnerships.
Things, users, companies, and partners linked in a single network
Secure and fail-safe
Easily integrated in existing IT infrastructures
Berlin – Bosch Software Innovations has released a new version of its software suite. Version V1.5 is specifically designed for realizing projects in the Internet of Things (IoT) and for enterprise applications including Business Process Management and Business Rules Management. A unified networking approach is used to link things, users, companies, and partners, both on an IT level and in terms of business processes. This provides the basis for many different industry solutions and applications, ranging from predictive maintenance for Industry 4.0 and the provision of a networked charging infrastructure for e-mobility services to the interconnection of decentralized power generation units to form a virtual power plant. The software suite is equally suitable for implementing traditional enterprise applications such as fleet or insurance management. The Bosch Software Innovations Suite has a modular architecture and offers adaptable components for Device Management (M2M), Business Process Management (BPM), and Business Rules Management (BRM).
“People share cars, generate their own energy for their homes, and use their smartphones to control central heating and domestic appliances – and these are just some of the many areas in which the Internet of Things opens up entirely new possibilities,” says Dr. Stefan Ferber, who is responsible for product and portfolio strategy at Bosch Software Innovations GmbH. “As a result, the products and services we use every day at home and at work are becoming increasingly interlinked, even those that were previously completely unrelated. This paves the way to new business models, but also places new demands on the companies that operate in these sectors, and on the design of the networked devices. Our new software suite enables device manufacturers and service providers to meet this challenge.”
The solution is based on the principle of “modeling instead of programming,” hence its model-based architecture. No programming skills are required thanks to a graphical user interface, which enables end users in the various specialist departments to create and activate their own processes, as well as to administer access rights and play a role in the setup process. An added advantage of the software suite is that it can be easily integrated in existing IT infrastructures.
Modular suite provides greater efficiency and flexibility The software suite consists of a Common Environment (CE) and separate components for Device Management (M2M), Business Process Management (BPM), and Business Rules Management (BRM). As Ferber points out: “Given the unprecedented speed at which the business world is changing, new requirements often mean that, instead of having to optimize just a few processes, the whole set of existing workflows needs to be reworked. The model-based approach employed in our software suite gives companies the necessary flexibility to respond to each case as required.” The separate components within the suite interoperate in a coordinated manner, enabling companies to deploy the solution across the full scope of their operations.
Management and networking of devices, processes, and business rules The M2M component of the software suite provides device management functions that allow devices to be integrated in business processes on the basis of predefined rules. This creates a platform for interconnecting distributed things and devices in order to create effective functions for the Internet of Things. The BPM component allows you to formulate precisely fitting and flexible processes, which in turn will allow you to accelerate your operations and increase your productivity. It also makes it possible to integrate existing business processes in a wide range of heterogeneous IT infrastructures – an important factor in the successful implementation of IoT and business scenarios. The BRM component enables you to organize your business logic by grouping decision paths and business rules. Its processing functions for business rules cover all process elements from creation to administration, optimization, and maintenance. Additional product components necessary for the smooth integration of M2M, BPM, and BRM are included in the Common Environment (CE), for example security features, the administration of access rules, and authentication and authorization checks.