Slovakia. This small yet beautiful country in the heart of Europe is currently home to all four Bosch business sectors, which employ nearly 1,100 associates in the country. Although the first Slovak office, in Bratislava, was not opened until September 1993, the ties between Bosch and Slovakia go back as far as 1920, when the first sales office was founded in Prague, in what was then Czechoslovakia. After an interruption of business in the country following the second world war, the company renewed its activities in Prague in 1992. After the two countries decided to go their separate ways one year later, the story of independent Slovak representation began. Twenty-five years have passed since then. We asked some of the people connected with this success story to tell us about their involvement.
Humble beginnings: five associates and beeping fax machines
Robert Bosch, spol. s. r.o. was established in September 1993. However, my first contact with Bosch was in the spring of 1991. Today’s company started with five associates and has grown dynamically every year thanks to a growing network of business partners. What they don’t know is that when there was no headquarters in Bratislava, we had fax machines installed in our apartments. They would often still be beeping and receiving orders late into the night. And fre people can remember that the company also sold telephone exchanges and, for three years, even Bosch mobile phones. In the years ahead, I firmly believe that Bosch will continue to successfully develop and sell its products and services in all areas of its operations. However, I expect to see a higher share of sophisticated services and smart solutions associated with the use and operation of classic products. I have no doubt Slovakia has enough potential and motivated, competent associates to provide these services in the future as well.
Standing on solid ground
I joined the company in September 1997. Over the years, the structure of the company has changed to meet market requirements, and we have constantly adapted our business premises to those changes. Today I look after 5,000 m2 of premises, of which 1,300 m2 is office space, 400 m2 is Power Tools and Thermotechnology training centers, 3,200 m2 a large Thermotechnology warehouse. In addition, we have 70 parking lots, and 800 m2 of grounds with a gazebo where both customer and associate events are held. Bosch is a dynamic and innovative company creating technology that is “Invented for life,” and that has accompanied most of us for years in our everyday lives. My first mobile phone was a small and at that time advanced Bosch device. The first navigation systems we used in our carpool were made by Blaupunkt. The boiler in my first dream house was made by Junkers, and the kitchen cooktop and other small home appliances were made by Bosch. I can’t even count how many Bosch parts there are in my Škoda car. Last but not least, there’s my IXO. I have used it every time I’ve moved or replaced furniture.
A path full of twists and turns
Back in 1997, when I was given a completely different position from the one I had applied for, it was a sign that my career path at Bosch would be full of twists and unexpected situations. And so it was. As a head of a team of sales representatives for car accessories, I had similar powers and duties as a division president. I was pleased to be working for a multinational company in which the basic functions were obvious and duties were mostly solved objectively rather than emotionally, which is unfortunately not that common in Slovakia. It was a difficult period, yet very inspiring. When we finally gelled as a team after three years, things really began to take off. Over a three-year period, we went from strength to strength – something from which we derived great satisfaction. The hardest time I ever experienced in this company was when our colleague Michal Šimko died in a car accident in 2006. I knew his wife and family and meeting them at his funeral was probably the hardest moment I ever had to deal with in my career. In 2014, I handed part of my work to a younger colleague. For me today, it’s gratifying to see the great atmosphere we have today in our team. I think Bosch will outlive us all – what it will look like depends mainly on us.
Fulfilling peoples’ dreams
I have been working for Bosch since 2012. In 2011, RBSK merged with two distributors of industrial boilers– Buderus and Loos – which had been operating in the Slovakian market as competitors for several years before becoming Bosch subsidiaries. Making three companies operate as one was quite a challenge. However, it was not long before we saw positive results. Especially the year 2017 was extraordinary. We were one of the few successful companies in the Slovakian heating systems market. Our company has changed a lot in its 25 years in Slovakia. It has reorganized several times, changed the divisions, and set up new ones, growing and developing like a living organism. Bosch has changed, and is still changing and adapting to new challenges, as demonstrated by the increasing focus on the internet of things. I see the future of Bosch as an open company that can quickly adapt to customers’ demands and fulfill their wishes and dreams – even those they may not even have thought of. By creating innovations and improvements made for everyday life and taking a responsible approach to our planet, we can help guarantee a good life for future generations.
Keeping eyes and ears open
I took up a position at Bosch in March 2013 – with some work experience, but zero practice in the field of heating systems or services. I started working as a warranty technician and I was to gradually become a trainer for service technicians. Shortly after my arrival came the opportunity to lead the ASA team. From optimizing services in Slovakia, implementing the requests of the sales department, through working for service in the Czech Republic, to becoming a head of Thermotechnology in Slovakia – being a part of Bosch is very interesting and enjoyable. We are a small team, and we all know each other, which is nice. In my opinion, every young person should seize the opportunity to work for Bosch. There are a lot of options, you just have to keep your eyes and ears open and have a strong desire to be active, to learn new things, and not only to pursue your personal goals, but also to focus on achieving the company’s targets. What has changed at Bosch since I joined? The pace of change is relatively slow in our company, but I can see it picking up more and more speed and importance. I see bright and promising future ahead, and I believe that together with my colleagues we will be able to create a dynamic team that will actively contribute to the company’s growth.
The future favors the well prepared
After I joined Bosch in January 2016, I acquired a real insight into how a large and dynamic company operates – something that I had perceived only as a theory during my strategic management studies at Comenius University. Since my position had been vacant for two years, I had to work on several things at the same time. This multitasking brought a lot of studying and constant search for new information, both technical and legislative. Thanks to the international team I am part of, we have been able to stabilize operations in Slovakia, with a consequent increase in sales and the acquisition of truly significant projects, not only in the commercial sphere but in the public sphere as well. I see the future of our company in complex, smart solutions that draw on our comprehensive product portfolio. The future will favor the well prepared, and Bosch is prepared.
Building on honest relations
I joined Bosch in July 2017. My first year went by unbelievably quickly. It brought a lot of new faces, relationships, information, and, last but not least, the opportunity to work with great people on something I see as meaningful and promising. As an HR officer I have had the opportunity to experience different environments and situations, and although not everything is ideal all the time, I have the feeling that everyone here, regardless of department or position, is trying to solve problems constructively. We also do our best to build on honest relations, build up our background and further improve. After all, to me, Bosch has always been synonymous with progress and I am proud to be able to participate in it at least a little bit. I am looking forward to every new challenge this work brings.