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Issue 96

Five years in Cluj - Interview with Dennis Raabe

Ovidiu Mățan
Founder @ Today Software Magazine
PROGRAMMING

Ovidiu Mățan : Dennis, the local team has grown a lot since you came to Cluj for the first time, offices changed and new projects came. Tell us a few things about your journey and why it was special.

Dennis Raabe: It was a special journey, indeed. Besides the many successful projects delivered, the growth of the ECC team from around 40 associated to more than 800 today, what always impressed me most, was the passion and commitment of this young team. From the very first day, I knew that their special drive to show what they are capable of and 'the yes we can' attitude will help us achieve great things together.

Dennis Raabe, Head of Bosch Engineering Center Cluj (ECC) 

On a personal level, I learned a lot from this mentality and from the Romanian culture in general. I think this is why my journey here was really special. I want to take with me the can-do-attitude, the openness and flexibility from the Romanian culture, and use them to achieve more in the future.

From our previous talks I know you made an innovative connection between engineering and the production from Bosch Cluj Plant by sharing resources. How has that evolved?

Dennis Raabe: Here in Cluj, we have unique synergies between development and production due to the close collaboration, shared facilities including laboratories by different ECC teams and Bosch Cluj Plant teams. This type of collaboration is unique on company level. Moreover, thanks to the expertise of our colleagues and to the success of our projects, we are now considered a benchmark in the Bosch world. This shows, I think, how cooperation and thinking out of the box can bring success both on local and global levels.

One of the best and recent examples for our successful local collaboration is the execution of the eStroller project. It is about the development & manufacturing of the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) for the electrically driven baby stroller using the Bosch Smart Wheels technology. This product has a revolutionary concept that combines state-of-the-art technology, innovation and functional safety. Due to the latest sensor technologies, it provides safety, security and comfort functions along with connectivity to smartphones. We have contributed to various project areas, including hardware & mechanical design, software development, reliability engineering, validation and overall project management. The smart ECU for the eStroller will be produced at the Cluj Plant, and the product will be soon launched on European market.

If you had to name the best decision you have made here, which one would that be?

Dennis Raabe: When I started in Cluj, I realized after a short time that we have an enormous potential here and we should think big. Our facility in Jucu was already on the right track with the plans for the second building, where we have brought development and production closely together. But this is only the half of our story. My dream was to have a software campus in the city center, where we can work in our own state-of-the-art building and show Cluj that we are here to stay and work on the newest mobility technologies. We made it step-by-step together with a highly motivated team and countless ambassadors and volunteers. In February, we opened our new building in the heart of the city, and moved in with nearly 500 colleagues. Thus, my best decision was to follow my dream, and make this great new building come to life for the benefit of all ECC associates. The reason why my dream could come true is the great contribution and responsibility of my colleagues. I am very thankful and proud of their work.

If you had to sum up in one sentence what ECC means to you, what would that sentence sound like?

Dennis Raabe: A good Romanian friend asked me some weeks ago why I love my job so much here and my answer was the following: "The freedom and the possibility to create something sustainable which is reflected by the happiness of my colleagues. This is what ECC means to me."

How did the local IT market evolve since you have come here?

Dennis Raabe: The IT market has grown substantially, and some good players have joined the market which are bringing the right projects for these talented engineers. This growth has generated competition on the one hand, which I see as a positive one. It leads for example to increasing salaries, which is fair if the responsibility and contribution is growing proportionally. On the other hand, unfortunately, a lot of companies are still not moving from outsourcing to a high value add development and contribution. These kinds of services aren't sustainable with this gradient of cost increase. All players should ask themselves: what is my value add and my contribution? If we do so, then there are good chances to be able to build a sustainable future for the Cluj IT market.

How do you see the evolution of Bosch Engineering Center Cluj in the next years?

Dennis Raabe: The automotive industry is currently undergoing many challenges and these challenges will continue to be in place in the next years as well. In spite of this harsh context, Cluj and the Engineering Center have the possibility to still increase their contribution and grow further. We are continuously taking over more projects and responsibilities to shape the future of mobility. Our plans to further increase are still valid and we are at the right place to continue our success story.

What will be your next position in Bosch?

Dennis Raabe: My journey continues in Bosch - one of the great advantages we have at our company is that changing positions internally is welcomed and supported. I will be located in Stuttgart and I will take over the worldwide responsibility for the ADAS-Hardware development like Radar, Camera or Domain Control Unit, including coordination of production and purchasing cooperation. 

Furthermore, my journey with Cluj continues as well: I will keep close contact with my colleagues from the Engineering Center and Bosch Cluj Plant on a professional level, and I am sure I will come back for vacation in Romania together with my family and enjoy the great hospitality of the Romanian people.  

VIDEO: ISSUE 97 LAUNCH EVENT

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