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History: Robert Bosch

“I would rather lose money than trust.”

Corporate principles

6 mins read

Robert Bosch had a very precise idea of the principles and values he wished the company to uphold.

Customer service

Excellent customer service was already important to him as a young entrepreneur. This included ensuring customers could be visited quickly at their premises. To achieve this, he procured a cutting-edge low-wheeler bicycle. Robert Bosch also ensured his customers could reach him easily by installing one of the first telephones in Stuttgart.

Left: Robert Bosch poses with a recently invented low-wheeler bicycle (1890). Right: Robert Bosch’s first wall-mounted telephone (1887).
Left: Robert Bosch poses with a recently invented low-wheeler bicycle (1890). Right: Robert Bosch’s first wall-mounted telephone (1887).

Quality

Quality was also one of Robert Bosch’s top priorities. Adolf Krauss, an employee at the company since 1898, recalled on the occasion of his 25th anniversary there: “Everyone’s work was […] scrutinized closely for effort and precision. No botching or bungling was tolerated in the Bosch workshop.”

Robert Bosch inspecting a piece of work (1936).
Robert Bosch inspecting a piece of work (1936).
Right into old age, Robert Bosch continued to perform quality checks on site. The director of the spark plug plant in Feuerbach, Paul Grundler (left), takes Robert Bosch on an inspection tour of the shop floor (1941).
Right into old age, Robert Bosch continued to perform quality checks on site. The director of the spark plug plant in Feuerbach, Paul Grundler (left), takes Robert Bosch on an inspection tour of the shop floor (1941).
Adolf Krauss, the head of the prototype workshop, celebrated 25 years with the company in 1923.
Adolf Krauss, the head of the prototype workshop, celebrated 25 years with the company in 1923.

Good tools, sound raw materials, and smooth manufacturing processes were required in order to produce high quality. This was the only way to guarantee all goods left the Bosch factory in flawless condition. Continuous improvements to both machinery and work processes were essential.

Robert Bosch constantly invested in new machinery — in this case a foot-driven lathe (1887).
Robert Bosch constantly invested in new machinery — in this case a foot-driven lathe (1887).
After the transition to assembly-line production in 1926, greater volumes could be manufactured in less time. Shown here: headlight assembly (1926).
After the transition to assembly-line production in 1926, greater volumes could be manufactured in less time. Shown here: headlight assembly (1926).

Human resource development

But meticulous work also called for well trained associates. For this reason, Robert Bosch established his own apprentice workshop in 1913, to train young people in all fields of work.

Aptitude test in the apprentices’ workshop (1925).
Aptitude test in the apprentices’ workshop (1925).
A master craftsman explains how tools are used (1930).
A master craftsman explains how tools are used (1930).

“I have always acted according to the principle that ‘I would rather lose money than trust.’ The integrity of my promises, the belief in the value of my products and in my word of honor have always had a higher priority to me than a transitory profit.”

Robert Bosch

Supplement

Supplement 1: Robert Bosch — His life and work

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Company history