One in four Swiss industrial companies lament the difficult situation – One year after the uncapping of the franc

January 15, 2016 | News Switzerland
2016 continues to be dominated by adaptation measures Winterthur – One year after removing the cap on the minimum exchange rate for the Swiss franc, industry in Switzerland continues its massive battle with the consequences of this uncapping. 26 percent of companies assess their current situation as bad in consequence of the currency crisis. The situation is seen as particularly dismal by companies involved in machinery and plant engineering. This is evident in the results of a study by the Staufen AG Consultancy for which more than 100 Swiss industrial companies were interviewed in January.  Swiss industry reacted immediately with a bundle of measures to the step by the national bank: 40 percent adapted their prices, purchasing costs were reduced, planned investments shelved and planned recruitment put back or personnel reduced. However, these steps had not been enough. Approximately one in five companies judge the effect of implemented measures insufficient, but at one in three, their share is considerably higher in the machinery and plant engineering sector. In their own view, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry has coped better with the situation.  “Uncapping the franc has resulted in a difficult situation for approximately one quarter of industrial companies,” explains Urs Hirt, executive director of Staufen Switzerland. “A particular cause for concern is the machinery and plant engineering industry with its great importance to the Swiss economy. In this sector dominated by small and medium enterprises, a painful process of adaptation will continue in 2016.” The overall results of the study: Irrespective of whether or not the measures put into place in 2015 had been effective – more than 70 percent of companies plan further adaptations in the wake of the uncapping of the Swiss franc. 22 percent bank on specific measures to increase efficiency, a step which had proven particularly effective in 2015. An above average percentage of companies that are currently well positioned had reacted to the uncapping of the franc with efficiency-boosting measures (36 percent) and expect a positive development for 2016, too. 83 percent of these companies rate efficient and effective processes as important.  “For that reason, particularly to companies that have entered into a state of crisis as the result of the uncapping of the franc now have to balance the effect of the revaluation with greater efficiency and thus create sustainable competitiveness. While for a number of years now Swiss companies have sought to increase the efficiency of their processes and put changes into place, company-wide potentials have not yet been fully exploited,” as Urs Hirt, executive director of Staufen Switzerland points out. “The main focus is not on personnel reduction or the relocation of production to foreign sites, but first and foremost on optimising the process chain and increasing productivity in Swiss plants.” The Study can be requested from the following address:  Press release (.pdf)

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