Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, ended its 2017 fiscal year in Malaysia with total net sales – including sales of non-consolidated companies and internal deliveries to affiliated companies – of RM 5.2 billion (1.1 billion euros), thus registering growth of close to eight percent compared to the previous year. Bosch’s consolidated sales in the Malaysian market amounted to RM 615 million (127 million euros) in 2017 – remaining the second largest revenue contributor for Bosch in Southeast Asia for the third consecutive year with its stable year-on-year performance. By year-end the number of Bosch associates in the country had grown by three percent to more than 2,800, making up almost 30 percent of Bosch’s total workforce in Southeast Asia.
“2017 saw a strong market push towards connected solutions across our business segments,” said Simon Song, managing director of Bosch in Malaysia. “Leveraging on our strength in the areas of connectivity, we are set to expand our service offerings based on the Internet of Things (IoT). This includes providing connected manufacturing software and solutions for industries, developing and manufacturing more web-enabled products for end users and being a business enabler by collaborating with Malaysian companies to bring the country ahead in their digital transformation journey.”
Connected factories: Greater speed, flexibility and efficiency
In the past year, Bosch in Malaysia has increased capital expenditures in Malaysia by nearly 50 percent and invested around RM 236 million (49 million euros) largely equipping the company’s manufacturing sites with Bosch’s Industry 4.0 solutions. “As a key manufacturing and R&D location for Bosch’s global mobility solutions and power tools businesses, strong investments into increasing the capacity and capability of our plants are essential to keep our competitive edge besides meeting the growing global demand for innovative products and solutions,” said Song. “With the market dynamics moving rapidly, the challenge for us is to bring new developments to the market faster. Continued integration of our facilities with connected manufacturing helps to make processes smarter, smoother and leaner – resulting in shorter innovation cycles.”
From data analytics and process quality management to remote maintenance, digitalization in manufacturing is an integral part of today’s manufacturing – an IoT trend called Industry 4.0. It enables manufacturing processes to be connected, optimized and made more flexible, thus more efficient and transparent. Bosch is a leading user and provider of Industry 4.0, implementing more than 150 projects worldwide – Malaysia included. For example, the Bosch Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which was fitted at the company’s car multimedia and power tools plants in Penang, helps to efficiently plan and control processes related to production, quality, and logistics. Bosch foresees that businesses will be able to achieve up to 15 percent higher machine availability, five to ten percent higher production performance and downtime reduced by 20 percent with Bosch Industry 4.0 solutions.
Enhancing collaborations with partners in Malaysia
Besides being an industry enabler, Bosch is also working towards developing a highly-skilled technical workforce in Malaysia, with the establishment of the Bosch Apprenticeship Program. Collaborating with the Penang Skills Development Center (PSDC), Bosch has invested in building a customized apprenticeship training center at the company’s car multimedia plant in Penang. Currently, there are more than 20 apprentices undergoing the program, with another intake scheduled in the pipeline. Topics within the syllabus include industrial automation, connected devices and process monitoring and are paired with a practical training stint at the Bosch’s car multimedia plant.
Development of Bosch´s business sectors in Malaysia
The Mobility Solutions business sector of Bosch in Malaysia developed especially well, particularly in the manufacturing arm. Driven by global market trends of connectivity and driving assistance, Bosch is increasing production and engineering capacity to meet the market demand. For example, the car multimedia plant is developing sophisticated infotainment products with new connectivity features in Malaysia for the Asian, European and North American markets – smart phone integration and security protection amongst others.
For the Consumer Goods business sector, the local manufacturing hub saw strong growth in 2017, backed by sales growth of cordless products in emerging markets, along with increased battery pack sales in the European market. The local market sales however, was impacted by a subdue market environment in Malaysia. Nonetheless, the Power Tools division is directing efforts to driving local e-commerce activities, and is looking to introduce at least 30 new products in the Malaysian market, focusing on the web-enabled cordless 18 volt and measuring tools product range.
The Industrial Technology business sector generated a healthy growth last year driven by the acquisition of hydraulics and linear motion technology projects in material handling and rubber industries. In tandem with the growing demand of factory automation, the Drive and Control Technology division will be introducing a new range of connected hardware and software solutions this year to support the local industries. An example is the Active Shuttle, an autonomous trolley transport robot for mobile pick and place.
In the Energy and Building Technology business sector, sizable growth was recorded as the Thermotechnology division expanded into chemical and rubber customer industries in addition to its existing businesses in the food and beverage industry. The division will diversify its product range by offering residential water products, beginning with the residential air purifier. Meanwhile, the Building Technology division, previously known as the Security Systems division, delivered several key projects in 2017, one of which was the comprehensive security system upgrade for the Bukit Jalil National Sports & Complex. To further enhance its solutions, the division will expand its product range in Malaysia to include fire alarm systems.
Bosch Group: Global strategy and business outlook for 2018
Bosch is aiming for further growth in 2018, despite the difficult economic climate. After achieving record results in 2017, and in light of economic and geopolitical risks, the Bosch Group expects its sales revenue to grow by 2 to 3 percent in 2018. In the first three months, the sales revenue generated by the company matched the high level of the same period of the previous year, and even increased by around 5 percent when adjusted for exchange-rate effects. “Our company is unequaled when it comes to combining comprehensive connectivity expertise with broad industry and product know-how. This is the Bosch Group’s unique selling proposition,” said the Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner, speaking at the annual press conference in Renningen.