Bosch registers strong performance in Romania. Focus on sustainability and education

Aurel Constantin 25/05/2022 | 14:13

Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, ended its 2021 fiscal year with 2.4 billion lei (494 million euros) in consolidated sales in Romania, thus registering a growth of approximately ten percent compared to the previous year. The total net sales of 8.2 billion lei (1.7 billion euros) in Romania, including sales of non-consolidated companies and internal deliveries to affiliated companies, amounted to a year-on-year increase of 19 percent.

 

“In 2021, the Bosch Group in Romania achieved a very good performance with a double-digit growth in all business sectors despite the difficult environment related to the coronavirus pandemic, supply bottlenecks for semiconductors, and higher raw materials costs”, said Mihai Boldijar, general manager of Robert Bosch S.R.L. and the representative of the Bosch Group in Romania. “The increase in sales in 2021 was mainly due to the extension of our operations and long-term investments in manufacturing, in research and development activities, and also in the services area, following a strategy centred on technology, sustainability and innovation. This successful outcome of the 2021 business year was possible due to the extraordinary engagement and resilience of our associates,” Boldijar added.

Bosch in Romania had a good start in 2022, with a slight increase compared to the previous year. For the current year, the company plans to further strengthen its strategic position in the country, especially in the area of R&D activities. However, Bosch posts a subdued forecast in the country for 2022 due to the considerable uncertainties generated by the worldwide corona pandemic and the war in the Ukraine. “While due to the current situation we expect a challenging year also in Romania, we remain committed to the local market and its long-term potential,” continued Boldijar.

The company is putting numerous measures in place to ensure adequate post pandemic working environment. Through the “Smart Work” initiative, Bosch has implemented a hybrid collaboration model systematically modeling the interaction between remote work and presence at the company’s locations. The new hybrid working model, which was created with the active involvement and contribution of associates, is based on flexibility, trust and results and is favoring associates’ wellbeing, efficiency and innovation. The number of associates at the five Bosch locations in Romania was around 8,800 as of December 31, 2021, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to the previous year.

Continuous long-term investments in Romania

Romania is a strategically important location for the Bosch Group that invested in Romania a total of approximately 410 million lei (roughly 83 million euros) in 2021 – mainly in the further development of its Mobility Solutions manufacturing plants in Cluj and Blaj. In total, the company invested approximately 700 million euros in Romania between 2005 and 2021. The Bosch Automotive Electronics plant in Jucu, Cluj County, has continued to invest in extending its production and logistic capacity and in new technologies and state-of-the-art equipment. Thus, the company inaugurated a third production hall in Cluj in 2021.

In this manufacturing location, Bosch produces since 2013, among other products, electronic control units for airbag, for multi-camera systems and for driver assistance and safety electronics, which provide safety in traffic and increase driving convenience. Since its opening, the Bosch plant in Cluj has delivered over 300 million high-quality automotive parts to international customers. Furthermore, the manufacturing site in Blaj, active in the Industrial Technology and Mobility Solutions business sectors, celebrates 15 years of activity in Romania, in 2022. Currently, the site in Blaj is one of three Bosch plants in Europe where sensors for NOx emissions are produced, an essential component in the field of diesel technology innovation.

Moreover, the Bosch plant in Blaj has a logistics center which stretches on more than 20,000 square meters, operating deliveries of high-quality parts to all continents. In addition, Bosch continues its long-term investments in the digitalization and automation of production and logistics. For example, the manufacturing units in Romania use Mixed Reality solutions, which combine the real world with virtual reality, such as smart glasses allowing the user to see and interact with a production line remotely. Moreover, Bosch has introduced autonomous and automated robots in the Cluj plant for the delivery of raw materials and tools to production lines, to optimize costs and time of delivery.

Focus on sustainable production

Bosch is actively concerned with improving the energy efficiency of its plants and office buildings. Besides using energy consumption monitoring solutions, purchasing electricity from renewable sources, and replacing existing luminaires with LED technology, the manufacturing sites in Blaj and Cluj started to produce their own green energy by installing photovoltaic panels. In 2021, the plant in Blaj became the first Bosch location in Romania to install photovoltaic panels on the roofs of its buildings, following an investment of over 200,000 euros. The energy generated is the equivalent of the energy consumption of almost 200 average households.

In addition, Bosch plant in Cluj started the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof of its production halls, at the end of last year. The annual average of the green energy generated by this system is 8,252 MWh and covers the yearly energy consumption of about 4,000 households. The total investment amounts to more than 5 million euros and the project is ranked among the biggest in the country considering the power installed on the roof. Moreover, the company encourages the transition to electromobility by installing charging stations for electric vehicles at its manufacturing locations in Romania.

Research and development: focus on future-shaping technologies

Since 2013, Bosch Engineering Center in Romania plays an increasingly important role in the big transformation of the mobility sector. In 2021, one year after moving into its own building in the heart of Cluj-Napoca, the engineering center has started the construction of a new office building which will be finalized until the end of 2023. The total investment planned for this project is about 21 million euros. In addition, Bosch continues to strengthen its development activities in Romania and the strategic position within its global engineering network by expanding the Bosch Engineering Center in Bucharest, at the end of 2021.

Currently, more than 1,160 associates are working on state-of-the-art technology projects in three locations: in Cluj-Napoca, within the plant in Jucu, Cluj County, and at the company’s headquarter in Bucharest. With a vast expertise in software, hardware, and mechanical and reliability engineering, but also in sales planning, the center develops excellent products, services and innovative AIoT (a combination between AI and IoT) solutions for automated driving, connected and electric mobility. In 2022, the company plans to increase the number of associates and will have over 400 open positions in the field of software and hardware engineering.

Positive development across all Bosch business sectors

In the Mobility Solutions business sector, the Automotive Aftermarket division registered a sales record in 2021, based on strengthening the business relations with strategic partners. Bosch’s service network counted more than 450 car service workshops in Romania in the previous year. In addition, the Energy and Building Technology business sector had a positive development last year as the Bosch Thermotechnology division registered a historical sales record in 2021 in all the product segments and distribution channels. One important growth driver was the newly launched Air Conditioning Solutions. Furthermore, Bosch Service Solutions in Timisoara, which delivers comprehensive services in 18 languages to internal and external customers, celebrates 15 years of activity on the Romanian market.

The company consolidated its position by extending its global purchasing hub. Currently, approximately 70 dedicated professionals work in the new Indirect Strategic Procurement department. Bosch Service Solutions Timișoara is a key player in the local software and IT industry and runs projects in the areas of software development, automation, business intelligence or Dev Ops. In 2022, in order to sustain the constant growth of its operations, the location in Timisoara plans to increase the number of associates in the fields of software development, IT Help Desk, customer experience, controlling, accounting, purchasing and logistics. In addition, the Consumer Goods business sector also had a good performance in 2021. The Bosch Power Tools division saw a strong double-digit growth in 2021 on all product segments – professional power tools, for home and garden, measuring tools and accessories.

In 2021, Bosch launched a series of sustainable power tools on the Romanian market. For example, the box of the drilling machine AdvancedDrill 18 is made of more than 90 percent recycled plastic. In addition, Quigo Green cross line laser uses primarily recycled material in housing, accessories and packaging and has optimised energy consumption, being rewarded with the prestigious “Solar Impulse” label. Moreover, BSH Electrocasnice continued the trend of recent years, managing a double-digit growth in 2021. Since 1999, BSH sold over 6,1 million high-quality home appliances on the Romanian market.

Last year, the company continued the global image #LikeABosch campaign dedicated to home appliances, which promotes technologies that can turn any user into a little everyday hero. The collaboration with Chef Sorin Bontea as brand ambassador of Bosch appliances, started in 2021, will continue also this year. In addition, BSH received the “Best Buy Award 2021/2022 – Best Value for Money” for the Bosch refrigerators. In the Industrial Technology business sector, Bosch Rexroth sales division registered a double digit-growth in 2021, especially in the hydraulics and automation equipment. The company launched new solutions in the Smart MechatroniX platform, where Bosch Rexroth is following the market trends in factory automation.

Bosch’s commitment to education continues to grow

In Romania, the company bears a particular responsibility for education. Bosch continues its long-term partnership with the most important Romanian universities. The Engineering Center in Cluj runs 3 master programs and several academic courses in collaboration with prominent local universities like the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca and the Babes-Bolyai University. In addition, Bosch supports students to become familiar with various topics even during their studies, and created tailored programs like internship, Working Student, or one of the Bosch Academies developed by the locations in Timisoara and Blaj. Moreover, Bosch Engineering Center and the Bosch plant in Cluj, in partnership with the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, organized last year the digital event #LikeABoschExperience, where over 1000 students had the chance to learn about latest technology directly from Bosch experts. Furthermore, Bosch Service Solutions strengthened its partnership with the West University of Timisoara (UVT) by becoming member of the independent consultative structure “Strategic Partners Group – GPS UVT”. In addition, over 500 high students received a market-oriented vocational education since 2013, by preparing in specific fields at the Bosch production units from Blaj and Cluj in the dual school system.

Involvement in local communities

In Romania, Bosch has constantly increased its social responsibility activities since 2013, and set up Fundația Bosch România, in 2020, as part of its commitment to local communities. The foundation runs programs for disadvantaged people, but also for the society in general. Starting with this year, Fundația Bosch România will support activities under the umbrella program EduCare, that includes initiatives like Științescu Fund for STEAM education and Generations Centres, running after-school activities that bring young children and elderly together. Furthermore, the Bosch Group in Romania and Fundația Bosch România have joined their efforts to support Ukrainian refugees.

Bosch Group: outlook for 2022 and strategic course

In 2021, Bosch achieved significant growth in sales and result despite a difficult environment. The sales revenue of the supplier of technology and services rose 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022. For the year as a whole, Bosch expects sales to grow more than 6 percent, and to achieve an EBIT margin in the range of 3 to 4 percent – and this despite the likelihood of considerable burdens, especially due to rising costs for energy, raw materials, and logistics. “The successful outcome of the 2021 business year bolsters our confidence as we tackle the challenging environment of the current year,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. One of the considerable uncertainties is the war in Ukraine and all its implications. In his view, the current situation highlights the pressure on policymakers and society to become less dependent on fossil fuels and to vigorously pursue the development of new sources of energy. For this reason, he said, the Bosch Group is systematically continuing its efforts to mitigate global warming, despite the challenging economic environment. In addition, Hartung announced Bosch will be investing some three billion euros over three years in climate-neutral technology such as electrification and hydrogen.

He believes electrification is the fastest route to climate neutrality, provided it is based on green electricity. That is why Bosch is driving sustainable mobility forward: in 2021, the company’s orders relating to electromobility exceeded ten billion euros for the first time. But Hartung also stressed that hydrogen is needed as well. “Industrial policy should focus on making all sectors of the economy hydrogen-ready,” he said. In the interest of effective climate action, Bosch is also entering the components business for hydrogen electrolysis. The company plans to invest nearly 500 million euros in this new area of business by the end of the decade, half of it by the time of market launch, which is planned for 2025. At the same time, the Bosch chairman announced that, over the next three years, the company will be investing another ten billion euros in digitally transforming its business. “Digitalization also has a special role to play in sustainability – and our solutions start from this premise,” Hartung said. This year alone, moreover, Bosch plans to take on 10,000 new software engineers worldwide.

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