Bosch's Hans Hechtel: Developing Chinese suppliers
"We are not sourcing enough from China. It has to be more, and it has to be faster," says Hans Hechtel, general manager of the Bosch Engineering Center (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. and general manager of Bosch Automotive Products Suzhou.
The center, which is in the east China city of Suzhou, will validate materials and components sourced in China for use in Bosch operations worldwide.
Figures for how much Bosch sourced from China last year were not available.
The center will be able to release products for global use from China, speeding up the sourcing process.
Buying parts in China is not as easy as going to a plant and placing an order. It takes time for Chinese companies to raise quality to international standards.
"If you want to have a Chinese supplier, you have to go in there and do development," Hechtel says. "That is one of the reasons you have testing equipment here."
But initially the Suzhou center's main task will be adapting existing Bosch products that will be produced in Suzhou for China. Bosch makes brakes, electronic stability programs and antilock brakes there.
The adaptation mainly involves software changes, Hechtel says, but the Suzhou center can do the next step: road tests.
The center also will develop components for the domestic market.
Bosch spent $60 million to build the engineering center, which is wholly owned by Bosch. It will have a staff of 200, including engineers.
Bosch's first engineering center in China was built in 1997 in Shanghai and works on parts related to gasoline engines. Last year Bosch opened an engineering center for diesel systems in Wuxi, a small city a few hours east of Shanghai.
Bosch has 11 wholly owned manufacturing ventures and nine joint ventures in China. The key automotive companies make safety products, diesel fuel-injection systems, spark plugs and electronic systems.
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