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News Cost efficient manufacturing in the centre of Western Europe

New Future Formula visits Bosch in Bamberg, Germany

Robert Bosch GmbH is leading in Business Excellence. As we all know, the industrial culture of Germany is among the strongest in the world. The Bosch Bamberg site with 7.500 employees is among the best in Germany. It was very inspirational to look into a world-class organization. Bosch again and again draws processes, sees opportunities and realizes them in every part of the organization. They constantly give highest priority to quality and technical performance and invest the required time and resources. 

On 25 April 2012 New Future Formula got the opportunity for an exciting visit to Bosch Bamberg
The customers are exclusive and demanding. Audi, Mercedes and BMW are among the most well reputed in the automotive industry. The products are sparkplugs, fuel injectors and other small key parts. Bosch Bamberg is the lead factory of the international Bosch production network, counting more than 20 production sites worldwide.

150 SENIOR EXECUTIVES FROM EUROPA VISITED BOSCH BAMBERG

Through our membership of the EFQM organization, we got the opportunity to visit Bosch Bamberg, the 2011 EFQM Prize Winner. On a sunny morning 150 senior executives from other EFQM member organizations in Europe met in picturesque Bamberg, ready to be inspired by Bosch' journey towards world class, to network and to "share what works" - the motto of EFQM.

BOSCH HAS A FASCINATING STORY TO TELL

They have demonstrated that it is possible to develop, produce and sell in Western Europe. Bosch has focused on the combination Continued Process Improvement and Innovation. Continuous Process Improvement has over the past 7 years lead to a 40% cost reduction. Innovation has created technological breakthroughs. These new technologies will reduce the fuel consumption of the next generation of components for the global automotive industry by 30%.

EACH ACTIVITY AND PROJECT SUPPORT COMPANY STRATEGY IN A DIRECT WAY

On the plant tour we passed by different Information Desks. Managers and employees from the specific area explained their way to Continuous Process Improvement. Boards, graphs and figures showed how they contribute to realization of the overall company strategy and strive for continuous improvement. Questions and answers were exchanged with references to the visitors' own challenges at home. 

REMARKEBLE INCREASE OF CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Bosch has established seven channels for customer feedback, adjusted to various customer types. One important feedback tool is the "Bier Decke" - the small round layer on the table under the bear glass. Bamberg has 29 breweries and "Bier Decke" - is everywhere, so in this way easy at hand. It is easy to fill out the questions printed on the backside of the "Decke". This feed- back tool has turned out to be one of their most valuable. Cross organizational teams have implemented improvements into the customer related processes. The customer satisfaction index has increased remarkably.

MENTORS ENSURE THE TRANSFER OF THEORY INTO PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENTS

Bosh runs two training programs: Continuous Improvement Program and Bosch Production/Business System. Each manager is trained for 6 days. Specialists are trained for 17 days. After the training, people go through a so called "transfer period". During this phase they are supervised by an internal mentor. The aim is to ensure the transfer of knowledge from "theory" to "actual improvements". Bosch has a statement "talking is silver, action is gold".

Energy Value Stream Mapping reduces energy consumption and CO2
In one area we were introduced to Energy Value Stream Mapping. 65% of the energy consumption was in operations. For each stage of the production flow, "kw" and "g CO2" was measured and listed. New lower targets were defined for each stage. Today the energy consumption and CO2 has been reduced remarkably, by making minor but innovative adjustments of machines, materials and flow.

Reduction of lead time in Order handling and Capacity Planinging.
In the Sample Shop - with 400 employees, mainly white colors, Bosch has reduced lead time from an average of 4-5 days to 2 days. The tools have been standardization, simplification and using the well known techniques for continuous improvement. They had expected to see ERP/SAP change as strong tools in the process - but surprisingly no contributions had come from these areas.

CONCLUSION

After four intensive hours in the factories, we returned to the conference area. It was time to network. Visitors and Bosch executives and managers enjoyed a light meal and engaged in conversations for about an hour. The visitors were very satisfied. Bosch has for sure created an interesting program.

On our way back to Denmark we had time to reflect about Bosch Bamberg. What is it they have done so successfully?

Bosch is able to derive and implement a strong strategy, and to commmunicate it on just one single slide. They ask for references to the strategy from every activity and every project in the company. People everywhere know exactly where they belong on the strategy slide. It is always and again and again about drawing processes together - and then about improving them. Less important is the kind of method. Finally, Bosch creates "Constancy in purpose" for the whole organization. There is a deep and stable believe in change. The worth and value in continuous improvement is critica.

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