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Johannes Elling, CEO of Bosch Management Support GmbH

Five questions for Johannes Elling, CEO of Bosch Management Support GmbH

Trix Boehne

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What are Bosch senior experts?

Elling: “Our senior experts are former Bosch associates who have already retired but take on temporary consulting or project tasks. For example, they might have special expertise or could be called in to manage temporary capacity bottlenecks. Our consulting company Bosch Management Support GmbH has a pool of senior experts, who we place in roles across the Bosch Group. They are specialists and executives, some of whom have up to 40 years of Bosch experience. Overall, there are more than 1,500 retired associates in the expert pool. Together, they bring approximately 40,000 years of professional expertise.”

What is the goal of the senior expert model?

Elling: “As a company shaped by the power of innovation, Bosch places special value on the expertise as well as the life and professional experience of highly qualified associates. This is why we recognized the potential of our retired associates early on. For this reason, we founded our consulting company in 1999 with the goal of preventing the loss of knowledge acquired over decades at Bosch, instead retaining it for the company. At the same time, it is intended to give younger associates the opportunity to learn from their older and more experienced colleagues. In technical fields in particular, there is a lot of specialist knowledge, such as how to set up a manufacturing line, which is very difficult to find on the external consultant market.”

What are the advantages for Bosch – and what are the advantages for senior experts?

Elling: “Our senior experts – from master craftsmen to managers – have specific expertise and broad knowledge about company structures, and are very familiar with the Bosch culture. This makes them quicker at familiarizing themselves with the material than external consultants, they need less training to get up to speed, and can build upon their existing Bosch networks. There is often a special dynamic when they work with younger colleagues, as the advice of experienced colleagues is usually easier to accept than that of external consultants. Senior experts can concentrate on the actual problem and its solution, because they are not pursuing a career or a sales target. Former associates also appreciate the opportunity to be valued again for their expertise, stay up to date professionally, and earn a little on the side. In Germany in particular, many of our experts see it as a chance to transition into retirement gradually without having to completely leave their working lives behind them all at once.”

What kind of experiences has Bosch had with the senior expert model?

Elling: “Since it was set up more than 15 years ago, demand for our senior experts has been increasing within the Bosch Group. The model has established itself successfully, internationally too. There is global demand for the senior experts’ knowledge – many of our experts work abroad, especially in growth markets. More than half of the consulting orders are accounted for by our regional organizations in Japan, India, and the U.S. Our senior expert model is recognized everywhere. Companies from industries such as the automotive industry, the mail order industry, telecommunications, and aviation have sought exchange with and advice from them. We are happy to pass on our expertise, because we know that demographic change requires innovative employment concepts, especially in Europe.”

What makes the model so successful?

Elling: “Our values-based corporate culture is crucial, as it recognizes life experience and professional experience in a special way. Moreover, we view mixed-age teams as part of our global diversity strategy, which improves our innovative strength. This attitude has been essential for the long-term success of the model. It is just as important that the senior experts really perform. They should be chosen because of their skills, not to provide them with a leisure program. Our senior experts want to be worth the money and compete with other service providers. This is a particular incentive for many senior experts – they want to be more highly valued by their customers than an external consultant would be.”

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2019). The company generated sales of 77.7 billion euros in 2019. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs some 72,600 associates in research and development at 126 locations across the globe, as well as roughly 30,000 software engineers.

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861–1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant upfront investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

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