Strategy

Inventing success together

Creating value for the customer and inventing success together in close partnership is our number one goal. We achieve this through our in-depth application and technology skills. Through our SFS Value Engineering, these skills are applied on a daily basis to develop new solutions for our customers.

Surrounded by SFS

SFS is a reliable companion throughout your day, from early in the morning to late at night, seven days a week. Not many people realize this, since our precision components and mechanical fastening systems are embedded in the top-quality products of our customers, where they often perform critical functions.

Creating value for the customer

The cost of SFS components embedded into a customer’s product often account for less than 1% of the total product cost. But the secondary costs at the customer end arising from procurement, logistics or handling operations can be several times the actual cost of these components. That is why we are not interested primarly in reducing our direct product costs and differentiating ourselves on price – there is just not enough operating leverage. Instead, our main goal is to optimize the overall product-related costs of our customers, as shown in the “value proposition” graph below. This approach generates significantly more cost-savings potential and allows us to create true value for our customers. Our value engineering model focuses on product design, the fastening processes and workflows, and on data aggregation and mining. The result: customer-specific products and intelligent solutions that give our customers a competitive edge. Thus, the developed SFS solutions lead to greater differentiation and stronger collaborative partnerships. Our aim of continuous improvement as we seek to create value for the customer can be achieved only with a strong work ethic: an unwavering commitment by the SFS Value Engineers to “invent success together.” That is our corporate DNA.

Global manufacturing platform expanded

The financial year 2018 was distinguished by significant investment in our future growth. These investments aim at ramping up production activities for major new projects over the next few months and years, realizing the necessary cost-savings potential and achieving lasting productivity gains. SFS Group’s largest and most far-reaching capital expenditure project is in Nantong, north of Shanghai (China) and nearing completion. During spring of this year, the first of several building complexes will become operational. Over the next two years, in close coordination with our customers all production activities at SFS Group’s four manufacturing sites currently in operation in the Shanghai megapolis will be transferred to this new site in Nantong and production will be ramped-up. The new location will ultimately be SFS Group’s second largest site after its Heerbrugg headquarters (Switzerland). All manufacturing techno­logies, that are relevant for the Chinese market, will eventually be available at the Nantong site. This significant enlargement of the Group’s manufacturing platform represents a milestone in the development of the Electronics and Automotive division’s business activities.

Using the digital revolution

The digital revolution is one of the key mega trends that SFS is strategically addressing with products from every segment (EC, FS and D&L). This strategic positioning entails proprietary digital solutions (e.g. e-commerce platform) and smart tools (e.g. the iBird device from GESIPA®). The product portolio is complemented by precision parts that facilitate the autonomous driving and smart home systems. Additionally, we use the powers of digitization to improve the entire value chain of our customers; for example, through advanced logistics solutions (M2M).

Tense trade relations identified as a risk factor

Political developments around the world became more erratic last year. Nationalistic trends have taken root in many countries. A more confrontational attitude on inter­national trade is being viewed increasingly as a risk factor. The potential consequences of rising trade tensions can not be predicted with any accuracy. We are preparing for a further increase in uncertainty on the political and economic fronts during the coming months. Growing uncertainty is likely to make global economic activity more volatile.

Close customer relationships a competitive advantage

Despite these challenges, SFS offers a guardedly optimistic view of the future. As a value engineering specialist that creates lasting value for its customers, often in selective niche application where we provide critical precision-made products, we pride ourselves on our long-standing close ties with customers. They fuel our innovation and internationalization efforts and are reflected in our global presence. Standardized manufacturing capacity makes us highly flexible – a quality that can quickly become a critical competitive advantage in a worst-case scenario.For example, we are scrutinizing scenarios in which supply chains for the electronics industry could be shifted to locations outside China and have discussed these possibilities with our customers. SFS already has alternative production platforms thanks to its established sites in Malaysia and India. Our strong footing in various niche applications puts us in a good position to cushion the impact of negative developments in any one market.

SFS is strategically well positioned with the global manufacturing platform and therefore is in a position to serve our international customers locally and to realize their projects.