Robert Bosch: Packaged for Success

Marketing is about unlocking a unique selling point of a company’s product that gives it an edge over its competitors. At Bosch Singapore, Yvette has her fill in making this happen.

By Roland Tan

Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd, also known as Bosch Singapore, is located in the northern part of the island and has an understated look that belies its significance. It is the regional subsidiary of the Bosch Group, representing the Group's interests in Southeast Asia. The Singapore office also houses the Asia-Pacific headquarters of the Automotive Aftermarket and Security Systems Divisions, as well as the IT Centre for Asia Pacific and the Research and Development Centre Asia Pacific.

As the regional subsidiary, Bosch Singapore has direct communications with the top brass in Germany’s headquarters. It is also empowered to provide full operational support and make key administrative decisions in Southeast Asia, should the need arise. Bosch Singapore is also designated as a Centre of Competence for the Automotive Aftermarket Division where a concentration of expertise, knowledge and talents are amassed to support the region.

The Bosch brand is commonly associated with power tools, automotive parts and home appliances . Its armature logo and slogan, “Invented for Life”, imprint a cast-in-stone unflinching commitment to quality.

“‘Invented for life’ speaks of the durability and reliability of our products that customers look for when they buy a Bosch product,” shares 26-year-old Yvette Ong, who is a Senior Product Marketing Officer for the Automotive Aftermarket Division in Bosch Singapore.

“My current role is in packaging development for the Automotive Aftermarket division,” says Yvette. “ I am the custodian of corporate guidelines for packaging in the region. Whenever there are new products to be launched, I’ve to ensure that the packaging adheres to the stipulated corporate guidelines before the products can be put on the platform.”

Her job involves looking into suitable packaging for boxes, blisters or those customised for clients from different countries. “Within Asia Pacific, China, Korea, and India have their peculiar requirements. ASEAN in itself is a young market that needs more ‘hand-holding’, whereas the Australians’ mindset is closer to the US market,” she explains.

Processes and procedures
The Germans are known to be methodological and process-oriented. One cannot expect anything less from one of the largest and most successful private companies in the world whose standard of operations is most exacting.

“There are many in-house processes and procedures, but they are necessary and good as it helps ensure a consistent and unified image of Bosch. Ultimately, it is part of upholding the reputation of the Bosch Group worldwide,” observes Yvette.

“We have an open concept. Our office layout is dog bone-shaped with minimum physical barriers between colleagues,” says Yvette. “As the regional HQ, we have colleagues of many nationalities. The multi-cultural work environment is fascinating. Once, we overheard a passionate discussion between an Indian and a Japanese colleague arguing over whose country has the best curry!”

Yvette finds that one of the tougher challenges of her job is the need to “harmonise packaging for the diverse markets in the region”.

Citing an example, she says, “Occasionally, we have to overcome local regulatory hurdles to uphold our corporate standards. For instance in the China market, we may have to add a clause in Mandarin on the label to satisfy local requirements.”

“It can be exasperating when suppliers lead you to think they understand your requirements as sometimes, they were too afraid to ask questions. But when you see the final product, you realise that it was not so,” Yvette says.

“Over the years, I’ve learnt to control my emotions at work. I’ve also trained my sight on long-term objectives, compared to my younger days when I tended to be more myopic,” she adds.

In transit
Perhaps “adventurous” would be a better description of Yvette before Bosch Singapore beckoned. Back in July 2005, the fresh graduate went on a backpacking trip in Europe for three months before earnestly looking for a job. Although the economy was hunky dory then and the job market robust, the job-hunt was no walk in the park.

“I contacted job agencies, searched online job portals, went through the NTU job search databank to look for a job,” she recalls.

It was only in March 2006 that Yvette landed a job at Bosch Singapore – her “first serious job since graduation”. Since then, she has taken on varied roles in the company.

“I was appointed to drive internal initiatives on Marketing and the House of Orientation (HoO),” shares Yvette. The HoO includes the shared vision of Bosch, embodying the corporate values that build the bonds between the worldwide operations. These cross-functional roles have given her exposure to working across other divisions.

“As a driver of the HoO, one of the main tasks I have is to encourage others to live and breathe the corporate values of Bosch via activities,” she adds.

Marketing 101
Yvette notes that what she had learnt in school about marketing, advertising and communications have come in handy at work. “In my meetings with the product managers, I hear textbook lingo coming out and know what they are,” she says.

“An open and creative mind is most important for someone aspiring to a marketing career,” Yvette advises. “Perseverance and initiatives are key attributes to doing well in Bosch. The fresh hire should be prepared to enter into a brave new world of lengthy, gibberish German acronyms for a start. He must have the initiative to find out, learn and adapt to a multi-cultural environment.”

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