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Portrait of a graduate

Graduate Specialist Program


My name is Carla, and I have been a trainee (GSP) in the production department since August 2018. My mentor is the technical plant manager of one of the largest Rexroth plants in Elchingen. I meet with him regularly to discuss organizational and other matters. My mentor plays an advisory role in my case. This means that he gives me the freedom to plan my placements and to select the topics I wish to work on and training courses I’d like to attend before supporting me in making the final decisions.

The highlight of the program so far was when I was given the responsibility for coordinating a whole section of a brand new assembly line.

Can you tell us more about your different placements?

I completed my first two placements in the Elchingen plant, where we manufacture components and assemble hydraulic pumps. I initially worked for Bosch Production System, a cross-plant department tasked with creating better and leaner processes with the aim of reducing all types of waste.

Portrait of a graduate

The second placement, which has been the highlight of the program so far, was the startup of the new assembly line. Here I was responsible for a pre-assembly section with four workstations, a fully automated press, two robots, and multiple tightening stations or wireless nutrunners. While increasing the technical availability proved particularly challenging, the organizational coordination of the production plan, the wide variety of products, and the flow of goods were equally demanding yet rewarding aspects of this task. My trainee journey then took me onward to Beijing.

Here I switched to the area of logistics in order to gain a deeper understanding of the flow of goods and supply of materials. Working with Chinese colleagues in intercultural teams gave me exciting insights into a whole new type of collaboration. Not only was there a language barrier to overcome, but we also had to establish a shared understanding of processes and find effective means of combining our different approaches to the various tasks. Since my Chinese colleagues were particularly enthusiastic about automation and digitalization, the focus was very much on the implementation and utilization of technologies as well as on user motivation.

My time in China was also a very special experience for personal reasons. In this regard, I would particularly like to mention the Chinese trainees who gave me such a wonderful insight into their lives and views of the world – and the incredibly diverse Chinese cuisine of course.

I am currently on placement at a Bosch automotive plant in Stuttgart-Feuerbach. This role is allowing me to gain a detailed impression of the different structures, processes, and standards that exist for mass and small series production.

What do you like most about production?

Particularly in the area of production, the coordination and understanding of the various interfaces is of utmost importance. While the high degree of variation increases the challenges faced in logistics, customer expectations relating to standards as well as quality matters play a key role in the automotive sector.

The diversity of tasks is one of my favorite aspects of the production environment. During my four placements, I worked on a wide range of strategic topics, requiring effective exchange with the different interfaces and reporting right up to the management level of the business unit. Another key part of my everyday work is the close contact with the associates who work in production. To help me to understand and improve production processes, this collaboration was of crucial importance to me in all my placements. The most fascinating and important exchanges were with production associates who have been in their jobs for many years (or perhaps even decades). These allowed me to expand my existing knowledge regarding the use of machinery and relevant procedures based on the in-depth practical experience of the associates.

This collaboration required me not only to convince people of the benefits of new digital solutions, but also to understand the needs of the associates and thereby ensure that the implementations were ultimately also of use to them. In order to understand and effectively consider the current challenges faced by all parties involved in the process, I first had to address the specific requirements of individuals and then use this as the basis for developing and implementing standardized solutions.

Why did you opt for a trainee program?

The trainee program allowed me to experience the production area from different perspectives. Following my master’s degree, I also saw the trainee program as an opportunity to expand and strengthen my specialized knowledge within a short space of time. When I consider everything that has happened in the past 18 months, my expectations have been more than fulfilled. The project work in various different areas has continuously improved my understanding of processes in the production environment.

A high degree of flexibility and adaptability are essential for anyone participating in the trainee program. The possibility to visit many different locations both at home and abroad also brings with it recurring challenges such as house-hunting and removals. What is most remarkable about this is the mutual support that is offered within the trainee community at the individual locations. The trainee meets that are arranged every four months offer the necessary time and space to get to know other trainees on a personal level and to continuously establish new contacts. This network serves as a valuable, much-used communication platform for everything from placement planning to work matters and general chatting. About a year ago, we also introduced a regular “knowledge exchange”. This takes the form of a teleconference, in which we trainees take turns to talk about a technical subject, individual placement, or area of work.

During this time, I have experienced different forms of teamwork, including the agile organization, and management styles. I see this as another great benefit of the program, since the WE LEAD BOSCH principles place great emphasis on leadership styles, trust, and responsibility.

Your future starts now!

Join the Graduate Specialist Program at Bosch Rexroth.

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