Bosch Vice President of Supply Chain George Berg has been with the company for 26 years, and throughout his tenure, he has been heavily involved in Bosch Community Fund initiatives.
As the vice president of supply chain for Bosch’s automotive aftermarket division in North America, Berg oversees a division that focuses on auto parts distribution. His long-standing relationship with the Bosch Community Fund has seen him take on the role of ambassador at various locations, helping to implement funding to local organizations that meet the fund’s criteria.
In this interview, Berg shares his thoughts on the importance of companies supporting education, the potential for careers in the automotive industry and the need for more technicians.
What inspired Bosch to become a donor to scholarships? What goals does Bosch hope to achieve for the industry?
Bosch and Bosch Community Fund believe in advancing STEM education and hands-on experience, but more importantly, breaking down barriers to entry by providing financial assistance to students wanting to pursue a career in automotive technician fields. This partnership and the scholarships offer another avenue for students to have a successful career in the automotive sector.
Tell me about the Bosch Community Fund. How much has it raised and what initiatives is it involved in?
The Bosch Community Fund is the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America. Annually, the foundation supports Bosch communities across the US, Canada and Costa Rica with investments in science, technology, engineering, math and environmental education with an emphasis on project-based education and diversity, equity, inclusion and access. To date the foundation has invested $41 million since 2012.
How has Bosch’s involvement with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and its scholarship program impacted the automotive industry?
The Bosch Community Fund’s ongoing involvement with the University of the Aftermarket Foundation and its scholarship program has impacted the automotive industry in many ways. By establishing Bosch scholarships, the Bosch Community Fund is encouraging and assisting numerous students each year who are pursuing technical careers in the industry.
By providing support as these students take the first steps toward an automotive career, Bosch is not only helping these individuals become trained so they can enter the workforce and the community businesses that hire them, but we are also helping to address the industry’s need for well-trained technicians.
As vehicle technologies advance and the number of vehicles on the road increases, the need for well-trained technicians to repair those vehicles becomes even greater. By helping offset the cost of education, Bosch is helping to remove a barrier and allow more interested students to start on the path of entering the automotive industry. It’s a way to give back to our community and an investment that will help ensure a bright future for our company, associates and the industry we serve.
What kind of corporate social responsibility initiatives does your company have in place?
In addition to the support provided by the Bosch Community Fund, Bosch builds community by supporting nonprofit organizations in our neighborhoods through associate driven volunteering and targeted funding to nonprofit partners. This approach allows us to focus on local needs and causes our associates are passionate about.
An example of associate volunteering is our inaugural week of service, Bosch Builds Week, across the US and Canada. Participating sites chose which partners they wanted to work with, participating in a range of activities from beach cleanups to packing food at food banks.
An example of national support that the Bosch Community Fund and company team up on is FIRST®. There is funding at the national level and through an internal program that provides funding to teams that have a Bosch volunteer or mentor.
In what other ways does your company give back to the community?
Bosch’s philanthropic efforts date all the way back to the 19th century, and to its founder Robert Bosch, who donated much of his fortune in his lifetime and posthumously to charitable causes. This legacy continues through its associates and the many ways they give back to their communities.
What role do you believe education plays in the future of the aftermarket or automotive industry as a whole?
The automotive aftermarket is changing rapidly and from technicians in the shop to executives of aftermarket suppliers, it is important for the industry as a whole to stay up to date on the latest and greatest. Specifically, technical training in an automotive repair shop cannot be underestimated as ADAS technology, electric vehicles, and other digital components transform vehicles and their repair needs. This means independent repair shops have an excellent opportunity to plan accordingly for these changes by investing in developing their own technicians’ skillsets. In consideration with the technician labor shortage, offering career pathing and training to technicians is a competitive way to recruit and retain new talent entering the industry.
What advice would you give to young people who are interested in pursuing a career in the automotive industry?
Always stay well-informed! As a result of an evolving industry, it is more important than ever before for newer technicians to not only hone in their baseline skillsets but also to continue growing their knowledge in the field. Younger, less experienced techs should be seeking three to four training sessions a year to help refine their skills and expose them to as many new technologies, equipment and safety procedures as possible.
In addition, know your resources. Whether you’re seeking out scholarships or trainings, your employer, the shop owner, can help you on your path to success in the industry. The best training courses and certifications will be found in industry recognized brands such as Automotive Service Excellence certifications, which offer tests for ADAS calibration, light to heavy duty trucks, hybrid and electric vehicles and more. Other training courses shop owners and technicians should be looking out for are those provided by equipment manufacturers, such as the Bosch Module Training program, which as a platform offers courses and educational videos on how and when to use Bosch equipment.
How does Bosch attract and retain top talent in the automotive industry?
Bosch is not only an established brand but also an innovative company that is always looking to push the boundaries. Therefore, we attract talent in the automotive industry that is fascinated with being part of that innovation. Most importantly, where Bosch flourishes is our retention. When you start to work for Bosch, Bosch will support your career development. We’re a privately held company and I think that plays a big role in our ability to promote and support from within. Bosch also helps to invest in training, like on my own teams, where I have seen tremendous success working with a training assessment consultant across my division.
For the latest news and information on the global automotive aftermarket industry, visit https://aftermarketintel.com. Do you have news? Contact Aftermarket Intel Editor Mark Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on LinkedIn here.
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