09:00 | 11/01/2021 Cooperation
(VEN) - German tech giant Bosch has a long history of more than 25 years from the first footprint in Vietnam since 1994 and that solidified with the establishment of a wholly owned subsidiary in 2007. Today it has more than 4,200 associates, offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, a Powertrain Solutions plant in Dong Nai and two R&D centers in Ho Chi Minh City. In 2020, Bosch Vietnam was ranked among the best companies to work for in the country, making it the fifth consecutive year that Bosch is being listed as one of the top 100 employers. Guru Mallikarjuna, Managing Director of Bosch Vietnam, says embracing technology to improve the quality of life will remain the foundation as it moves into the digitalization and Industry 4.0 era.
Could you give us an overview of Bosch Vietnam’s strengths, range of operations, and some highlights of products and services?
Bosch Vietnam is among the group’s branches that operates in all Bosch’s key business functions, including: Manufacturing; Research & Development; Sales and Services. We have always been one of the first choices of clients and customers in our market segments across the country.
For the Vietnamese market, we have a diversified business portfolio including Two-Wheeler and Powersports, Automotive Original Equipment, Power Tools, Drive and Control Technology, Automotive Aftermarket, Building Technologies, and Thermotechnology and Home Appliances.
Of late, we have intensified our focus on digital transformation, which offers tremendous growth opportunities to widen our product and solutions portfolio, especially in our connected solutions for smart homes, smart cities, smart mobility and smart factories. The connectivity and IoT areas will remain our focus in the years to come.
In the second half of 2020, we launched a new “Invented for life” project called Milky Way - a smart delivery solution using sensors and cloud technology to monitor and communicate data to ensure a safe and secure delivery.
Milky Way was first piloted in the use of getting breast milk from working mothers to their newborn baby during their first few months apart after maternity leave. This demonstration phase, designed with working mothers in mind, was successfully concluded in one and a half months, and ‘Milky Way’ was presented as a unique turnkey solution to support women returning to the workforce. With the project being well received after the first trial, we are planning to explore this sensor project in other potential contexts and on bigger scales this year.
Our connectivity expertise aims to improve quality of life and that has proved essential in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, Bosch’s smart building solutions, equipped with surveillance cameras with Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) based on facial recognition technology, offer fast identification with accurate results, while information is sent to other systems automatically, creating a contactless experience for visitors, staff, and residents. Even before the pandemic, smart home, smart building, smart city, smart factory, etc. have been areas that we strive to develop portfolios in, and the focus and speed has intensified in the current situation.
What will be the main development thrust of Bosch Vietnam in the Industry 4.0 era?
We’re talking about a giant leap in manufacturing, where automation and connectivity will, without a doubt, be the fundamental building blocks. Among other things, smart and connected manufacturing will result in higher productivity, less production errors, lower costs and more efficient use of resources.
Currently, if we take a look at the challenges that businesses are facing, such as increasing labor costs, clients concerned about costs, competitive pricing pressures and so on, we will see the opportunities which Industry 4.0 brings about to resolve them. However, many obstacles lie ahead. The competition will heat up for sure. Hence, businesses need to identify their core strengths, anticipate changes and make smart investments at the right time. Bosch is one of the leading user as well as provider of I4.0 solutions. We are open to working closely with businesses to develop integrated and customized solutions based on their needs. Building on the Bosch Group’s expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, Bosch in Vietnam can offer customers connected, cross-domain solutions for smart campuses, smart cities, and other Industry 4.0 developments. In a nutshell, as the world gets more connected, we believe that a connected partnership between Bosch and businesses will bring about sustainable growth.
What are some of the prerequisites for sustainable growth in the new era?
An embrace of technologies and readiness to ride the tidal waves are much needed. We’ve seen positive movement recently, with promising decisiveness at top levels about the need for innovation. We expect more reforms to help the country further leverage opportunities from Industry 4.0 and become a hub for investment, R&D and manufacturing in the region.
The challenging part lies at the “readiness” phrase, especially in human resources. Our society, including the education and training system, needs to invest in its own intelligence - the people. Things people need to be equipped with in order to be able to stay relevant in the time of transformation include: flexibility - to take advantage of new opportunities; lifelong learning -to keep up with technological progress through professional development; teamwork - to collaborate across divisions; lateral thinking - to make decisions that go beyond the standard and the norms; and inquisitiveness and courage - to be open to new ideas and take on challenges.
At Bosch, we firmly believe that people are going to be key players even in the Industry 4.0 era. This means that even with automation and robots engineered to help increase productivity, minimize errors and conserve resources, people become even more valuable. If robots and algorithms take on monotonous, dangerous, or difficult work in factories and offices, human workers can focus on creative, complex, and demanding tasks. Nonetheless, it is important to openly discuss the challenges, too. Less skilled workers run the risk of being replaced by more productive machines. Thus, it is essential for the government and business to work hand in hand to improve workers’ level of education and secure employment.
What does the EVFTA mean for Bosch Vietnam in terms of preparedness to meet challenges and take advantage of opportunities?
The EVFTA will no doubt have direct impacts on Vietnam’s economic development and strategic position in the global economy, as this long awaited trade agreement widens access between the two markets by eliminating a majority of tariff and non-tariff barriers. For European firms looking to invest in Vietnam, there are two factors that should be considered, labor force and infrastructure. The country’s youthful population is a strategic advantage, especially when coupled with a clear direction to develop talent and upgrade labor skills.
I am proud to say that Bosch has laid several foundations to contribute to Vietnam’s effort in this area, with training and development programs on our own and in collaboration with other stakeholders. I feel the country is very quickly catching up with the global platform on developing a skilled workforce. While Vietnamese people are known for their creativity and adaptability, there is also a big improvement in term of communications, soft skills and how they approach international communities. It is quite an encouraging development.
In term of infrastructure, the kind of bandwidth and strength of our network has become better over the years, which is an encouraging factor for foreign investors. Moreover, with the EVFTA, European technology spillover and knowhow transfer would together promote the development of local private sector’s capability, thus making Vietnamese’ infrastructure and economy that much more competitive and innovative.
For example, Bosch Vietnam is at the forefront of the digitalization process in mobility and factory automation. Thus, we are in a favorable position to invest in the country and transfer the technical knowhow from the model industry that is Germany, known for its systematic and cost-effective approach to digital and industrial transformation.