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Bosch's program for remanufacturing vehicle parts is cutting CO2 emissions worldwide by 23,000 tons
More and more workshops are opting for remanufactured Bosch products to enable repairs at a cost commensurate with a vehicle's current value. This remanufacturing process is now applied to around 9,000 vehicle parts from 27 product groups. Bosch is a leading supplier of industrially remanufactured products such as starters, alternators, air-conditioning compressors, brake calipers, ignition distributors, diesel injection pumps, and many other components. This process of remanufacturing vehicle parts is not just a cheaper alternative for end customers – it also protects the environment by reusing much of the original product. Consequently, this system cuts down on the use of raw materials and produces fewer CO2 emissions than the production of new parts.
When repairing a vehicle, the workshop can replace a faulty part with either a new or remanufactured part. For end customers, the remanufactured part is between 30 and 40 percent cheaper than a new one. Bosch places the same high quality standards on remanufacturing as it does on the production of new products, which is why the company gives the same two-year guarantee on remanufactured parts. Today, the possibility of later remanufacturing is taken into account during the development of original components. Not only are these remanufactured parts kind on the wallet, they also help protect the environment and conserve resources when used to repair cars at a cost commensurate with their current value. Less energy is consumed during the production of remanufactured parts than new ones. In 2009, Bosch remanufactured 2.5 million parts and in doing so emitted 23,000 fewer tons of CO2 than if the parts had been manufactured from scratch.
Demand for high-quality remanufactured parts for car repairs has risen dramatically worldwide in recent years. In the U.S., the replacement business has already conquered almost a 90 percent share of the market. In Europe, too, the market segment is growing steadily, exhibiting far higher growth rates than the largely stagnating aftermarket as a whole. Bosch expects the remanufacturing market in Europe to grow to 30 million products per year by 2015. Bosch's remanufacturing program is supporting the trend towards resource conservation on the car repair market.
Given the chance to present a business idea or business model to the chairman or managing director of a major company or world market leader, which company founder would not feel an extra buzz of adrenalin? The competition for new businesses – staged annually by the Knowledge Factory in cooperation with a business newspaper – does just that, giving the winners an opportunity to take part in a networking weekend with company bosses. It is a matter of importance to Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the Bosch board of management, to make time for company founders and to share knowledge and experience with the competition winners and furnish them with advice in workshops and conversations. The competition panel selects up to nine founders each year to attend these events.
Even those who don't win the competition have the chance to get support from the companies participating in the Knowledge Factory. The company network's mentoring program selects a personal mentor from its member companies who then takes on responsibility for supervising the young entrepreneur over a longer period. After being selected by the Knowledge Factory, the company founder and mentor work together to develop solutions for a successful company start-up, with the mentor providing the founder with access to the entire knowledge network in the Knowledge Factory. If the start-up records its first successes within three years of its participation in the mentoring program, the boss of the new company can also become a mentor, thus enabling his or her experience to be passed on, too.
“Who wants to drill a hole in the concrete wall?” Senior trainer Laszlo Kunfalvi, from the technical-industrial training program at the Bosch Leinfelden location, looks at the group expectantly. It's not his apprentices he's talking to, but five- and six-year-old girls and boys wearing huge protective goggles. Children don't usually come into contact with life at real companies and most have only seen factories in pictures or films. To ensure that children are not scared in any way, and to introduce them to the working world at an early age, Bosch invites kindergartens and schools to take part in on-site tours as part of its educational partnerships. While there, the children are even allowed to try out drills for themselves.
Bosch apprentices are also involved in these educational partnerships – they supervise the children as they try out different tools and develop practical projects and workshops with school classes. The schoolchildren will work with up-and-coming industrial mechanics to build a complete wind turbine, including LED lighting, for example. This kind of project work is extremely motivating and beneficial for apprentices. It involves them setting their own goals and taking a step outside their everyday routine. Working closely with schoolchildren from a different age group also helps strengthen their sense of responsibility and social skills. And the children are delighted to be learning something new – without even having to go to school.
The tool boxes contain glue, wood, screws, wire, saws, and files. Eugen Class fires the children's imagination by setting them a task: “Imagine you are on a desert island and have to build a house or a bridge.” Within seconds, the children are all wanting to get their hands on the KiTec tool boxes. KiTec stands for “Kinder entdecken Technik” (children discovering technology), and it is one of the most popular programs in the Knowledge Factory. However, before the children can get started with any kind of designing, inventing, or building, they are all shown how to use the tools and are given a “tool license” to prove they know what they are doing. After all, safety remains a top priority despite the focus on fun and creativity.
Salzgitter is just one of over 40 cities in which member companies of the Knowledge Factory make these technology boxes – specially developed by scientists for educational purposes – available to schools and kindergartens. In small groups, the children tackle tasks from structural engineering, automotive technology, and electrical engineering. In this way, children have fun learning to work both independently and as part of a team, while finding out what can be achieved with technology. The children have their own research diary in which they can record all the steps and results – or sketch the things they want to build later with dad in the garage.
If children like something, they won't give it up so easily. In the last five years, almost 120,000 preschoolers and schoolchildren have demonstrated that this also applies to hammers, saws, and drills. They have enjoyed experimenting with tool boxes and visiting companies such as Trumpf, Voith, fischer, BASF, and Bosch. A total of 70 companies are involved in this project, helping to ignite a passion for technology. They are all members of the Knowledge Factory, united by the common aim of getting children interested in science, technology, and business at a young age. The Knowledge Factory also reaches out to young entrepreneurs and students through its mentoring program and competition for new businesses.
Bosch has been involved in this initiative right from the outset. The 70 German locations have initiated more than 50 such educational partnerships in the last few years. Schools and kindergartens in Ansbach, Bamberg, Feuerbach, or Salzgitter have all taken part in journeys of technical discovery. The educational partners work together to develop projects, focusing on the needs and interests of children. Special support is given to both the little kids, who are supervised by apprentices while trying out a range of tools, and young entrepreneurs, who so far have had the opportunity to attend three networking weekends to discuss their ideas with board of management members. To date, 50 business plans have been drawn up in cooperation with company mentors.