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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.
In 2009, some 45 percent of Bosch’s research and development budget again went into products that conserve resources and protect the environment
The Bosch Group has made a good start to the current fiscal year, and intends to make up for much of the loss of sales in 2009 this year. Despite the difficult conditions last year, the Bosch Group kept its activities clearly focused on innovation. At 3.6 billion euros (3.9 billion euros in the previous year), research and development expenditure remained on a high level. In 2009 some 45 percent of this spending again went into the development of products that protect the environment and conserve resources. And these products already account for one-third of total sales. “This is both a great opportunity and a great responsibility,” said Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the Bosch board of management at the Annual Press Conference in Stuttgart.
Business with renewable energy-related products continues to grow in importance. In this area, for example, the target is to achieve sales of 1.5 billion euros in 2010. Even in the crisis year 2009, it was possible to achieve a slight improvement here, with sales of just under one billion euros. “Instead of waiting for a new Copenhagen, we are using the potential we already have,” Fehrenbach said. He cited the example of gasoline and diesel engines, whose fuel consumption could be reduced by a further 30 percent. Applied to the global vehicle fleet, these measures alone could save a huge amount of CO2 – as much as Germany's total CO2 emissions. Bosch anticipates that the global share of new vehicles powered by the economical diesel engine will rise slightly by 2016, from 25 to 28 percent. Concerning new vehicles with spark-ignition Bosch expects that the share of engines featuring economical gasoline direct injection will increase significantly – from 7 to 20 percent worldwide. The start-stop system, which reduces consumption in urban traffic by up to 8 percent, is also gaining in popularity. Bosch will sell two million of these systems in 2010, on top of the 1.3 million it sold so far.
Despite the significant drop in sales in nearly all its markets, the Bosch Group set itself the target of keeping the core team in the company. “In the years to come, the know-how that remains in the company in the form of qualified associates can be translated into growth,” Fehrenbach said. The number of associates fell by some 11,000 or 4 percent to a total of roughly 270,000. The number of apprentices, by contrast, remained stable. In the crisis year 2009, Bosch offered 6,500 young people worldwide the chance to learn a career, once again training far more people than it actually needs. This year, Bosch will take on some 3,700 university graduates worldwide, 500 of them in Germany and more than 1,000 in both India and China. For this purpose, the company is stepping up its personnel marketing and is also expanding its portfolio of training courses in intercultural skills. They will be offered for 34 countries this year, five more than last year. In total, every Bosch associate attended two training courses on average in 2009.
With a high level of participation and identification - even in the middle of a crisis - Bosch’s most recent associate survey in the autumn of 2009 revealed clearly, the 270,000 Bosch associates worldwide are willing to go with the course Bosch has chosen. This course is pre-eminently, if not exclusively, marked by entrepreneurial responsibility. Bosch itself will continue on its course: firmly focused on long-term trends, challenges, and objectives, responsible and innovative in equal measure. It would be too simple to regard the commitment to environmental and climate protection solely as a matter of putting the company’s responsibility into practice. Instead, it is also a case of seizing its business opportunities: “What makes Bosch policy so unmistakable, then, is that responsible action and business benefit converge – especially over the long term”, resumes Franz Fehrenbach.
Bosch has been supporting Germany's oldest and best-known competition for young researchers for 25 years
In its role of corporate sponsor, Bosch has staged the Baden-Württemberg heat of the Jugend forscht competition for the 25th time in succession. Inspired by this year's competition theme "Discover new worlds", 128 young researchers presented a total of 58 outstanding projects in Stuttgart. They had previously qualified for the Baden-Württemberg heat of the contest at one of nine regional competitions and were selected from 1,205 young people. "Bosch supports young people through various projects. We want them to get involved with science and technology at an early age and develop a real enthusiasm for the subject," said Dr. Wolfgang Malchow, member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH.
With 10,196 entries from throughout Germany, more young people submitted a project in 2010 than ever before. The previous record for the number of entrants was 10,102 in 2008. The proportion of girls and young women taking part stands at 35 percent, which represents a positive step forward. In the 45th round of the competition, biology continues to be the subject area with the most entries, at around 24 percent. Technology is in second place at around 20 percent, as was the case last year. There are seven different research areas in total. Each of the subject area winners from Baden-Württemberg will represent their state at the national finals in Essen from May 13 to 16, 2010.
In addition to organizing the Baden-Württemberg heat of the Jugend forscht competition, Bosch is also the corporate sponsor of two further Jugend forscht competitions at regional level. Bosch Thermotechnik GmbH has been supporting the regional contest for central Hesse since 1996. In the Hildesheim region, Bosch collaborates with local partners to promote the region's Jugend forscht competition. Bosch is also a founding member of “Wissensfabrik – Unternehmen für Deutschland e.V.” (Knowledge Factory – Companies for Germany), which aims to encourage the early support and education of children and young people in science and technology. The company has already established 59 partnerships with educational institutions such as kindergartens and schools across Germany.
Even in times of crisis, associates in the Bosch Group demonstrate a high level of job satisfaction and a strong sense of loyalty to the company.
Following on from surveys in 2005 and 2007, Bosch last year carried out a third worldwide associate survey. Available in 34 languages, the survey asked around 242,000 associates (2007: 223,000) to share their views on the quality of leadership, working conditions, and the reputation of the company. At 82 percent, the high level of participation confirmed that, despite the current crisis, asking associates for their opinions is still valued as an important source of feedback.
The results of the associate survey reveal that the crisis has neither influenced the answers provided, nor had an impact on the associates' level of commitment. Four out of five associates are proud to work at Bosch and retain a strong sense of loyalty to the company even in the difficult current climate. “For me, this loyalty is a key factor in being able to ride out this crisis successfully,” says Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Bosch Group, summing up the results. At division level, the results of all comparable questions are more positive in this latest survey than they were in 2007. Areas where associates are keen to see improvements include cross-divisional cooperation and the amount of feedback they receive about their own performance. Bosch uses the associate survey as a leadership tool and initiates targeted improvement processes based on the results.
In 2009, the associate survey was expanded to include a number of new questions. The development of the survey helps to compare the results with other large companies. For the first time, associates were able to rate the balance between work and family life – two thirds gave a positive response. There was also a more in-depth examination of key topics for the future. Over 80 percent of those questioned said that high quality and customer orientation were of primary importance to their department. Bosch achieved exceptional results when it came to questions on the commitment felt by associates and the extent to which they identify with the company values. One other new question revealed another strength, with well over 80 percent of associates convinced that the Bosch Group is making a valuable contribution to society and the environment.
The new zeolite® drying system for dishwashers receives the prize for its optimal energy efficiency.
BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (BSH) received the “Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment” from Dr. Norbert Röttgen, German Federal Minister for the Environment, in Berlin. BSH received the first Innovation Prize – jointly presented by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federation of German Industries (BDI) – for its zeolite drying system for dishwashers, which considerably reduces the appliances’ energy consumption. “Over the past 20 years we have halved the energy consumption of our dishwashers. The innovative zeolite technology has made another enormous leap in efficiency possible. The new appliances need 20 percent less electricity than the most energy-efficient dishwashers to date,” explained BSH CEO Dr. Kurt-Ludwig Gutberlet commenting on the award ceremony. The company doubled the sale of super efficient household appliances within one year. In 2009 the share of these appliances had already reached 15 percent of total sales in Europe.
The dishwashers feature a special container of zeolite, a mineral with the ability to store moisture and energy. It dries the dishes after the cleaning cycle by absorbing the moisture from the air in the dishwasher’s interior. During the next cleaning cycle, the zeolite is heated up and the moisture released so that it is ready for the next drying cycle. Zeolite speeds up the drying process, considerably reducing cycle times. At just 0.83 kilowatt hours per cycle, the dishwashers need 20 percent less electricity than the most energyefficient dishwashers to date, making dishwashers with zeolite technology the most energy- efficient in the world. If all the dishwashers in use in households today that are over ten years old and use more than 1.3 kWh of electricity per cycle were to be replaced with highly efficient appliances featuring the zeolite drying system, over 1.2 million tons of CO2 could be saved every year in Germany alone. This is equivalent to the emissions of approximately 600,000 automobiles that drive around 15,000 kilometers a year.
It is the first time that zeolite – until now only used in industry – is being used in a mass-produced household appliance. This world’s first from Bosch and Siemens, which was unveiled at IFA 2008, has now been awarded the “Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment” in the category “Product and service innovations for climate protection”. The “Innovation Prize for Climate and the Environment” (IKU) is intended to promote German innovations that make a contribution towards climate and/or environmental protection and provide answers to one of the greatest challenges of today’s world. A total of 145 applicants submitted their entries for a prize in one of the five categories. The high-ranking jury chaired by Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former director of the UN Environment Programme, based their decisions on a scientific innovation audit carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. The jury also recommended that the zeolite drying system be entered into the “European Business Awards for Sustainable Development” competition held by the EU Commission.
- February 17th, 2010