Rafał Rudziński, President of the Board of Robert Bosch and Representative of Bosch Group in Poland
You’ve been with Bosch for almost 20 years. Which stages of your career proved crucial and why?
There were a few moments in my professional life that I consider extremely important in retrospect. First of all, joining the Bosch Group in the 90s. At the very beginning of my professional path I was lucky to receive the ambitious task of launching a new brand of power tools and building a team. For me it was crucial to be able to create something from scratch – it was not a continuation of previous activities, it was my idea and my contribution that counted. I have always liked to face such challenges and looked for similar opportunities, which is why every new stage of my career associated with taking over responsibility for entire projects was important. Over time these projects were becoming more comprehensive, and their scale was increasing. At the age of 36 I became a member of the Management Board of BSH, one of the companies of Bosch in Poland, responsible for the production and sale of home appliances, which was another big step in my career. I supervised, among others, sales and marketing – two years after my nomination we became the leader of the home appliances market in Poland. It was a valuable experience and it taught me a lot. The last breakthrough moment was definitely taking over the function of the President of Robert Bosch and becoming a representative of the Bosch Group in Poland.
You attach great importance to employees, their competences, as well as the teams in which they work. What is your recipe for team management in such a large company?
In my opinion we must always remember that work is a place where we spend the most time during the day, apart from sleeping of course. Therefore, you need to build a company employees willingly come to in order to further their professional development and feel part of a strong team. The task of people in managerial positions is to consciously and consistently create such places. I believe that a strong team is built on properly established priorities, open communication, and shared responsibility. Managing a large team cannot rely on micro-management. You must enable employees to broaden their competences and take responsibility, as well as develop a sense of shared responsibility for the company – encourage them to look beyond their own desks. I believe that satisfaction from working in a team, large or small, increases if its members can have a real impact on the company. It is not always possible in all areas, but often with a little commitment and good will of both parties – the employee and the employer – it is achievable.
Companies currently attach great importance to sustainable and responsible operation. What specific actions does Bosch take in these areas in Poland?
In the case of our company, this is a multifaceted topic. It is worth remembering that the majority of our group’s shares belong to the Robert Bosch Foundation. The foundation, using the funds transferred each year by the company, implements programs supporting education, civic development, health, research, cooperation, and mutual understanding among nations. This was the will of the founder of the company – Robert Bosch, a man who put social commitment on par with business development. We continue these traditions. Last year Bosch was the first global industrial group to announce that by the end of 2020 all of its plants in the world will be CO2 neutral. This is also happening in Poland – today three companies of the Bosch Group in Poland use green electricity exclusively. But our actions go beyond the area of ecology. In Poland we run educational programs for children and adolescents, including the Robert Bosch Academy of Inventors or the “Bosch Termotechnika Szkoli” program. We provide mentoring to women who want to return to the labor market after a long break related to childcare, we organize employee volunteering. There are very many such initiatives. At the same time I believe that responsible business management also means providing employees with opportunities to combine work and private life. We are also very active in this area. Last year we offered our employees day camps for children – every parent could come to work with their child during summer vacation and then have the child taken to thematic classes and spend their day in an interesting way. In the afternoon the chaperons of the day camp took the children to the office so that they could return home with their parents. When children have 10 weeks of vacation, this solution really helps organize the life of the family, and traveling together to and from work is an extra time to talk and build relationships.
Many industries are currently facing numerous challenges, such as the lack of qualified staff. What are the biggest challenges faced by Bosch and how do you deal with them?
Indeed, the labor market is currently very demanding, and large companies, such as ours, experience this similarly to smaller entities. Diversity is definitely a strong advantage of the Bosch Group. We operate in many areas, which, in the context of career planning, gives much greater opportunities. A new career path or a change of industry is certainly easier with us than in companies that operate in one field only. IT specialists, we have more and more of in our team, get the opportunity to work on very diverse projects. Another strength of our company is the benefits we offer to employees. We are focused on facilitating the balance between work and private time and promoting active leisure – I believe that balance is crucial for carrying out ambitious tasks in important areas of our lives effectively and vigorously.
Bosch is the leading supplier of parts and solutions for the automotive industry. What are the areas in which you are currently looking to expand as a global leader?
Automotive is now undergoing a huge transformation. We are talking about a revolution in the approach to transportation, but also a revolution in drives. New means of transportation are emerging, while climate protection is becoming very important. As Bosch we definitely have a significant impact on the direction of changes in the automotive industry. We set new trends and take active part in discussions about the future of mobility. We are strongly involved in the process of driving automation, because we believe that this is the way to even safer transportation. That is why we are developing technologies enabling greater or even full vehicle autonomy. We implement many partner projects, including with Daimler, together with which we’re testing autonomous taxis in the traffic of California. On the other hand, we are working on the development of various drives – we provide and improve conventional and electric solutions, with batteries or fuel cells. We also support the development of synthetic fuels, which are an extremely interesting option, because they do not require investment in infrastructure – fully eco-friendly synthetic fuel can be refueled at traditional gas stations. Bosch is planning to spend EUR 500 million this year only on electromobility and fuel cells, and since the beginning of 2018 we have collected orders worth several billion euros in the area of electromobility, including serial projects, such as an electric drive for passenger cars and lighter commercial vehicles. Automation of driving and new drives are definitely two areas that we will strongly develop in the coming years.
What are the company’s investment plans for 2020?
As Robert Bosch, in our factory in Mirków near Wrocław, we have just opened a new production line of iBooster 2 – an innovative braking system sub-assembly for electric and hybrid cars. The investment cost is PLN 80 million. We want to develop Bosch’s presence in Poland and there will definitely be opportunities to show off new projects.
- Place of birth: Warsaw
- Cuisine: everything except sorrel soup and very hot spices
- Book: “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
- Hobby: cars, especially older ones, manufactured before 1985.
- Dream vacation: without crowds
- Music: I enjoy a variety of sounds
Last Updated on October 29, 2020 by Łukasz