Mikron turns to partnership as a recipe for success

Close cooperation with suppliers has always been one of Mikron’s most important business principles. In an increasingly challenging market environment, such partnerships have become strategically important.

«We are all in the same boat,» says Jean-François Bauer, Head of Marketing & Business Development at Mikron Automation. The industrial company enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide as a provider of assembly and test solutions for complex and precise manufacturing processes. Jean-François Bauer’s statement underlines the fact that Mikron’s suppliers are closely involved in ensuring end customer satisfaction. This is particularly true in view of the challenging market situation that Swiss industrial companies have been facing for some time.

Timing times

Mikron has experienced two significant setbacks in the last decade. As the technology group was celebrating its centenary in 2008, the automotive industry – one of the company’s key sales markets – went into a tailspin due to the global economic crisis. Mikron’s sales in the Automotives segment collapsed completely. The second shock – the abandonment of the minimum exchange rate for the euro in January 2015 – also hit the export-oriented company hard. In one fell swoop, its competitiveness was decimated. Mikron responded by focusing more on the booming pharmaceutical industry and countered the effects of the overvalued Swiss franc with measures to cut costs and boost efficiency. «We didn’t make a single redundancy after the Swiss franc disaster,» explains Jean-François Bauer. «Among other things, our employees did their bit by giving up previously paid break times.»

Back to business success – forward to the future

In the meantime, Mikron is back on the road to success, despite the fact that business conditions remain difficult. Mikron’s Automation division is a preferred supplier to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and occupies a leading position in this market segment worldwide. It is also seeing growth in the automotive, electronics and consumer goods industries. This positive trend is being driven by the strengths that Mikron has been nurturing and developing for decades: the ability to offer customers tailor-made, innovative solutions and to keep breaking new ground, impeccable quality that is reflected in the highly efficient assembly systems, and finally the know-how to combine maximum precision with high performance for complex applications. One example of this is the assembly system for insulin syringes: the system can assemble 200 finished products per minute from 15 individual parts, including quality testing.

At Mikron Automation in Boudry (Neuchâtel).
Jean-François Bauer, Head of Marketing & Business Development

Partnership regularly put to the test

Mikron Automation’s assembly systems contain a whole range of branded products from Bachofen. High-precision linear guides and programmable drives are just as important as high-quality pneumatic components and control systems for process automation. Just-in-time delivery of the right product in the right quantity at the right price – these are the key requirements when it comes to procurement. But partnership means so much more. Mikron Automation expects suppliers to participate proactively in innovation processes, to put forward ideas, and to contribute their know-how to the ongoing improvement of systems and the development of new solutions. Every three months, the procurers check whether their suppliers still meet these criteria. Bachofen is happy to submit to this regular critical assessment, and strives to demonstrate its customer proximity and service competence time and time again.

«The golden days, when success simply fell into the lap of Swiss industry, are definitely over. We have to work harder than ever to satisfy our customers. So, we need suppliers who are willing to go the extra mile with us.»

Jean-François Bauer, Head of Marketing & Business Development- Developer

Mikron Automation, Boudry

Mikron Automation – a division of the Mikron Group – is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of customised, high-performance automation systems for the assembly and testing of complex products. Its other division – Mikron Machining – is the leading supplier of customised, high-performance manufacturing systems for the production of complex and high-precision metal components.

Founded
1908

Headquarters
Mikron Automation Boudry (Neuchâtel)

Branch offices
Berlin, Denver, Singapore, Shanghai

Number of employees
320 in Boudry
(640 over entire division)

Revenue
CHF 140 million (2016)

COO Mikron Automation
Rolf Rihs

Motto
Creating value with passion for precision

Bachofen customer
since 2002

Website
www.mikron.com

Technology partner