Hermann Scholl is chairman of the board of management at German engineering giant Robert Bosch GmbH. He was interviewed earlier this month by Automotive News Europe's Edmund Chew.
Is Bosch looking for more alliances with other suppliers?
Mergers and acquisitions within the automotive supplier industry are not a new phenomenon. The goal has always been to achieve synergies. Those synergies could be the completion of a product portfolio, cost reduction through larger volumes, a combination of knowledge, or a bid for global expansion. Bosch has achieved synergies in the past through acquisitions, or through the establishment of joint venture companies for example with ZF Friedrichshafen for steering systems and with Magneti Marelli for automotive lighting. We are also expanding regionally, as demonstrated by our acquisition of a majority shareholding in Japanese diesel and air conditioning supplier Zexel.
How do you think e-commerce in the automotive sector will affect you?
The main goal of e-commerce is to reduce costs by increasing the efficiency of the supply chain. In the future, not only will requests for quotes be exchanged online, but also data about product development, marketing, quality, logistics and requests for payment procedures. We aim to achieve technical leadership in the world of e-commerce.
Are you changing your organization to meet the new demands?
Bosch started two initiatives under the motto 'BeQIK'. The Time to Market project will improve and accelerate internal processes including product design, application and manufacturing. It will eliminate, or at least significantly reduce, problems during product launches. It will lead to better and faster compliance with customer requirements. It will also eventually contribute to cost reductions. Special emphasis is placed on increased efficiency of the product development process.