Hanno Vogels: An Interview about How to Manufacture Products at Highest Quality Levels
We connect certain brands automatically with quality when we had a good experience with the brand in the past. The second aspect that might to influence our mindset is the look at the "Made in ..." label on product. While the value of a brand is rarely doubted, the question whether the origin of production should be considered for a buying decision is an interesting question. At Intersec in Dubai, Heiko Baumgartner had the opportunity to discuss this topic with Hanno Vogels, Bosch Security Systems Vice President for Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
GIT-SECURITY.com: I assume that the Bosch brand helps to sell your products and solutions on a worldwide scale?
Hanno Vogels: Yes, we benefit from our very high brand reputation in the market. When we ask our customers why they decided to choose Bosch, we often hear that it was due to the unique brand reputation, the ease of operation and the proved quality of performance. Besides the product quality customers value very much that they can be sure to get products from a world class manufacturer supplying via a competent and fully trained distributor. "Dependable, reliable, and fully trustworthy" are the attributes normally connected with Bosch.
Do customers still expect the "Made in Germany" label on your products?
Hanno Vogels: Some customers ask for it and some are surprised that we produce a lot of our products outside Germany. Until some years ago the research and development for our products was mainly located in Germany but for decades a big part of the Bosch product portfolio was manufactured outside of Germany. All product sectors, but especially the automotive division from Bosch, have a long tradition for an international division of labor and for developing a global manufacturing network.
How comes that a lot of products from Bosch and Bosch Security Systems are labeled "Made in China"?
Hanno Vogels: Bosch has a long tradition in China. In recent years a milestone was the founding of a new company, Bosch (China) Investment Co. Ltd., in 1999. Since then, in its role as a holding company, it has coordinated all business in China.
Under the umbrella of this holding company, nearly all the Bosch business fields in China have established their own manufacturing sites. Everything started with the automotive sector where Bosch followed the growing market in China. Today Bosch not only manufactures automotive products, household appliances, and power tools in China, but also industrial technology, packaging machines and security systems. Bosch has now many subsidiaries in China, some with their own engineering centers for research and development and seven joint ventures.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the facility in Zhuhai where most of the security products are manufactured?
Hanno Vogels: Since 2008, the factory in Zhuhai develops and manufactures electronic security systems with the latest world class technology providing employment for 1,100 employees plus additional 180 people who are involved in R&D. The whole factory is covering 45,000 square meters. The production area is about 17,000 square meters big. In the Zhuhai facility we manufacture intrusion alarms equipment, fire detectors, cameras, communication tools, conference and public address systems as well as access control and management systems at the highest level of quality.
From your point of view the standard of production is important not the production location?
Hanno Vogels: Yes, absolutely. Bosch was always quick to implement international quality standards and these standards have lost none of their validity. The Bosch logo outside means a product must have Bosch quality inside - regardless of whether the product is manufactured in Zhuhai in China, Ovar in Portugal, Hermosillo in Mexico or Straubing in Germany. Bosch executives throughout the world have committed themselves to implementing the same production and quality standards on a global scale. The same applied to the principles for leadership and for ecological and social responsibility, which had their basis in the tradition of the Bosch Group, and they are valid worldwide.
The industry has seen a lot of lower quality OEM products labeled with famous names. Is "Made in China" with the background of your high quality brand well accepted in all countries?
Hanno Vogels: It is interesting that it is accepted very well in Germany and Western Europe where most of the customers understand the background of German Engineering and that we are under full control of the production. They understand that we do not simply label OEM products with the Bosch label. But "made in China" raises questions in Russia and some Arabic countries where customers had a lot of problems with very cheap products coming from China. Often these products were cheap copies of established brand products who failed to work. You can imagine how critical a product is that does not work in the safety and security environment.
How do you handle this challenge?
Hanno Vogels: We constantly inform our customers about our philosophy, the standards of quality and how we realize them. Also we invite key customers to visit our production sites to see first hands how well equipped the production lines are. They are equipped with up-to-date surface mount assembly lines, in-line optical inspection systems, electronic in-circuit testers and functional testers. We can demonstrate live how the assembly processes fulfill the requirement of the Bosch Production System. The same system is in place in each of the Bosch factories worldwide and all products are VDS approved.
Do you also apply the same standards of ecological and social responsibility for all locations?
Hanno Vogels: Yes, the factory in Zhuhai for example utilizes a state-of-the-art sewage treatment system. And the entire factory is equipped with solar heating system and relies on renewable resources. Ecological and social responsibility as a central pillar of corporate policy Bosch has always been - and continues to be - keenly aware of its special responsibility, which is at the same time entrepreneurial and social.
What about the service of the security products? Where is it done?
Hanno Vogels: For the rare case of a warranty case, all products are sent back to our service center in Straubing, Germany, no matter where they were produced. This gives us an additional feed-back on the level of production quality worldwide. As I already said before the failure rate for our products "Made in China" are at least as low as they are in all the other countries where Bosch products are manufactured.