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Our greatest strengths have always been our values and our people. Inspired by our Invented for Life ethos, here are 100 different stories. Stories that will take you through the Bosch transformational journey of progress spanning a century.
A Trademark for the Ages
It was the year 1899, and Robert Bosch has just registered his first trademark in Imperial Germany. The “burning magnet” was applied on every magneto ignition produced at the Bosch factory in the country. For his subsidiaries in France and the United Kingdom, he chose a different trademark, with the “sparking armature” logo engraved on products manufactured for their markets.
All changed with the start of the First World War. Keeping up with war-time production rates meant having a trademark that could be quickly applied on to the smallest product. The company reverted to a simple “RB,” a logo that was fast and easy to engrave. With the war over, a number of Bosch subsidiaries were expropriated by the governments.
To re-establish themselves apart from their new competitors, Bosch realized the need for an entirely new logo that would be instantly recognizable around the world. As Robert Bosch himself put it, “Trademarks must be simple and clear if they are going to make an impression and be easily remembered.” Bosch’s chief engineer, Gottlob Honold, took this advice to heart. He re-purposed the old, pre-war trademarks to create a new logo, inspired by Bosch’s iconic product of the time. A cross-section of their magneto ignition gave rise to the now well-known “armature in a circle,” a logo that has been connected with Bosch for over 124 years.
Our Vocational Centre was destined to be a success from the start. Originating as a tool room apprenticeship scheme in 1953, we evolved into the full-fledged MICO Vocational Centre (MVC) in 1960. In the 1960s, the Government of India was promoting the idea of skilled manpower in the country. Our Vocational Centre was so successful that it formed the basis for the Indian government’s Apprentices Act of 1961, making it mandatory for all industries to train apprentices.
Since its inception, we have provided hands-on training to select students, who are guided by industry experts. We have trained over 2,400 apprentices, using a German training model that emphasizes quality and finish. Our success stories include people like Mr. Prasanna Kumar SV, who joined our centre as an apprentice. Mr. Kumar received both theoretical and practical training in a variety of functional areas, providing him the perfect grooming to take on different tasks in our company. It is no wonder, then, that Mr. Kumar rose up from a humble apprenticeship to become a Vice-President in our organization, having worked his way through the Manufacturing, HR, R&D and Purchasing departments.
Our vocational centre has set the standard for similar centres across the country. We have received the Best Establishment Award 47 times from the President of India, a feat achieved by no other company in India. We have also won 219 gold medals at the All-India Competitions held by the Directorate General of Employment and Training (DGET), Ministry of Labour.
Establishing a Firm Hold in the Indian Automobile Industry
The year was 1897. India had just witnessed her first car in Kolkata (then Calcutta), the capital of Bengal, and India’s industry, trade, and commerce hub. By 1916, there were over a thousand cars on Indian roads, confirming that India’s mobility revolution was already underway. After the First World War, India became one of the first countries where Robert Bosch signed partnerships and established contacts, building a continued presence in the country. In 1921, a network of licensed repair workshops, known as the Bosch Car Service garages, was set up around the country. By 1922, Bosch officially entered the Indian automotive market as a sales agency, providing spare parts for the repair of the automobiles in the country.
Natural progression led Robert Bosch to set up shop in the Bengal Presidency, the economic and cultural nerve centre of the British Raj. Here, he was aided by a former business partner, the Hamburg-based multinational C. Illies & Co. Till the 1930s, though, the Indian automotive industry continued to be small, and consisted only of imports. However, Bosch’s partnerships across the world ensured that iconic products like the Bosch sparkplugs and magneto ignition became essential parts of the imported automobiles driven in the country.
Bengaluru had been an Italian Prisoner of War Camp during the Second World War. Once the war ended, and India gained her independence, the PoWs were repatriated. As a part of the fledgling Indian government’s push for industrialization, the PoW camp land was re-purposed towards the setting up of industries .
The liberalization of India’s industrial policies, coupled with the city’s mellow climate and ample resources, made Bengaluru an ideal choice for setting up the first MICO (Motor Industries Company Ltd.) manufacturing unit in the 1950s. Despite the Indian government’s push for PSUs, there was an influx of skilled engineers looking to work in both public and private technical organizations, allowing MICO to advance its expertise in the coming decades. People like Mr. Raghavendra Rao, who was one of many who chose to work at MICO, helped create a hub of specialized engineering talent in Bengaluru. “I graduated from an engineering college in Bengaluru in 1971. At that time, the city was known for public sector companies, with very few private sector companies. Despite this, MICO was still known as a technologically advanced organization, famous for the training and discipline it instilled in its employees. Though the MICO team visited my college in my final year, the company was already on my wish list of places to work,” declared Rao. The greenfield operations of companies like MICO set the stage for the transformation of Bengaluru into the IT haven that it is today.