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Design Thinking workshop at the Robert Bosch facility in Shanghai

By Mr. Ralph Mende, participant of the program

On July 15 the class moved for a one day out of class room of Tongji University workshop to the Robert Bosch facility in Shanghai Changning as part of the course “Information Systems”.

Professor Maedche together with great support from SAP and Bosch organized a very exciting Design – Thinking workshop over there. The Bosch premises did provide a very nice base for this creative day.

The idea was to not only play a passive role in a company visit and general discussions, but rather use the opportunity to search jointly with a team from SAP and Bosch for solutions on real life business process and IS issues.

The topic selected was from the Bosch Procurement department: Challenges in the purchase process for indirect materials.

For this Bosch team gave an introduction about the procurement team strategic goals, KPI’s and major challenges. Afterwards the procurement process and IT system used for indirect material purchase requisitions was presented by the Bosch IT manager. He also highlighted major current gaps and difficulties along that.


Following it was up to us to work in 4 groups supported by SAP consultants + Bosch team members on solutions using Design Thinking methodologies.

Interviews with Bosch buyers, purchase item requestors and life demonstrations gave us the necessary insight to UNDERSTAND, OBSERVE and CONSOLIDATE one of the major problems in the process.

In the afternoon we brainstormed on ideas (IDEATE) and created PROTOTYPE solutions. This was then presented to all other groups as well as to Professor Maedche and the members from the Bosch purchase department. A very lively feedback discussion allowed to start an initial validation of the solution (TEST).

The presented solutions:
1. A new tool for purchase requestors with online search engine functionality and process tracking;
2. An improved supplier decision making process;
3. The installation of regular workshops between buyers, special requestors and division heads to refine the criteria for the assessment matrix and overall improvement measures for the assessment process
4. The Spec Master tool is an automatically generated spec sheet and adding a supplier database connecting supplier capabilities with material groups.
might help Bosch and SAP team to install more efficient solutions in future.

All participants enjoyed the environment, the topics and the results a lot.

Connecting lectures with real life problems in a nice creative surrounding gave all participants very hands on experience and lots of fun.

We thank the Bosch and SAP team and also Professor Maedche for the extraordinary experience.