As BOS Automotive celebrates its 20th anniversary in the U.S., see what the company is currently working on in its product line, and how it has been a successful global competitor in automotive manufacturing worldwide for over a hundred years.
The manufacture of automobiles is light-years ahead of when Henry Ford established the first assembly line. Today, many auto manufacturers are automating a lot of the process, and their products are coming off the line at break-neck speed. But something that most do not consider is just how many different companies contribute to that manufacturing process.
Beyond the internal workings of a car, outside companies often contribute the products that make the driver’s life easier like cup holders, expert cargo storage solutions, sunroofs, and many others. BOS Automotive is one such company that is changing the way people experience their cars.
BOS Automotive has been helping enhance people’s drive for over a century. The company was founded in 1910 in Germany and established a foothold in the U.S. in 1995. One of its incredible contributions to automotive history still sits in the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany: the first patented sunshade for automobiles, given in 1931.
Today, the privately held company has 19 locations and 6,200 employees stretching across the globe. About 800 of those employees call the North American locations their home. Much of BOS Automotive’s U.S. business is based in its research and development (R&D) facilities, an integral part of this century-old company that is still looking to maybe not reinvent the wheel, but make it better.
BOS Automotive’s products range from luggage cover systems, cargo management, and armrests to innovative newer tech like panoramic roof systems and innovative door handles.
“We’re focused on our customers and driven by innovations,” shared Russell Ketteringham, Senior Vice President. “We started in a niche market with the sunshade system all those years ago, and have moved from manual systems to electric systems, and are now creating unique products for the market.
“BOS Automotive is constantly working with its customers to produce more intuitive products for the consumer. Over the past few years we’ve really expanded our product base into new areas and are even creating new markets for ourselves.”
This company has done a tremendous job of sticking to the roots of traditional auto manufacturers, but is truly committed to making its current products better, and innovating new products to continue to improve the consumer’s experience.
BMW has ordered sun roofs from BOS Automotive, and will be launching the product line in North America, China, and Europe. Electric door handles—ones that sit flush with the car and only present themselves when the key is nearby—is a big hit with companies who are going for the sleekest possible body design.
The company is also in the development stage for a product for the truck market, working with several major auto manufacturers, to bring this new concept to market.
“Incorporating our existing product range in future designs is a key strategy of BOS Automotive,” said Ketteringham. “We’re dedicated to advanced development, new ideas, and where the next big tech is going to come from.”
To stay at the leading edge of product development, the company employs a dedicated project team that is customer and implementation focused. From its test lab in Detroit, this team puts these new products through their paces so that when released to the public, BOS Automotive can be sure they will perform up to their high standards.
3D printing is also incredibly important to the company’s R&D efforts. BOS Automotive has used 3D printing machines over the past four years to take its research from idea to concept model.
“Anyone who isn’t using 3D printing is falling behind,” Ketteringham said. “The automotive industry is a fast-paced environment, and one of the ways to remain successful is staying ahead of the curve.
“Currently 3D printing isn’t a cost-effective solution for our mass production, but it’s only a matter of time until we’re using the technology to support our customers and widely throughout our organization.”
BOS Automotive’s innovative strategies for the auto manufacturers’ floor mirror a just-as-successful company culture that is apparent through all levels of the company. By investing time, attention, and money into the employee base, the company has established a model of employment and retention that makes it stand out in the industry.
“From the top down, everyone’s invested in the employees. We try to do things a little differently from other companies to attract talent like flex scheduling, tuition reimbursement, and team building inside and outside of work.
“Due to our global footprint there are also tremendous opportunities for people who want to move around internationally and work in different regions, which brings a little more variety to the job and career path. We’re very particular about the people we want to hire. Fitting into our office environment and culture is very important.”
BOS Automotive doesn’t just hire a seat filler either—the company is committed to employing people for the long term. The average tenure of BOS employees in the U.S. is over 10 years—and the company has only been established in the country for 20.
But back to that sunshade: did you know BOS Automotive still produces it? Today it’s a slick, electric, fully integrated sunshade, and is a fascinating symbol of the foundation of the whole company.
From a corporate point of view, BOS Automotive isn’t your typical company. The company brings in over $1 billion globally in revenue, and yet is a family owned and operated business. Ketteringham shared that the business prides itself on its flexibility and its unique solutions to customer problems. But that isn’t the only thing that sets this company apart in a competitive industry.
“The biggest difference between us and our competitors is the people we have. We’ve provided a vision of the company, and have taken the time to choose employees that fit our company culture, and they have more than exceeded our expectations. They are in front of our customers every day, and they upload the BOS name very well.”
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, BOS Automotive has put together an event at its facility in Rochester Hills, Michigan in June of 2016 to showcase all of its technology and products for its customers, suppliers, and potential future business.
“We plan on showcasing our best products as well as the technology we are currently working on. We want to highlight our capabilities, and show our customers solutions they may not have previously considered. For our suppliers, this event will be a great knowledge-sharing opportunity.”
As an international company with locations in Europe, North America and Asia, BOS develops, manufactures, and distributes innovative systems and components for the automotive industry. Over the last 100 years BOS developed into a global player working hard to acquire the technological and market leadership in essential product fields of the vehicle.
Continuous innovation and improvements, cost-optimized development, and production processes as well as highest quality ensure competitive advantages and satisfied customers.
Founded in 1910, BOS is a privately held company including all subsidiaries. A dedicated management and workforce focusing on customer-specific product solutions carry out BOS’s vision of a global and customer-oriented automotive supplier.
BOS Automotive Headquarters
2956 Waterview Drive, Rochester Hills, MI 48309