Swissmem is the Swiss association of mechanical and electrical engineering industries with more than 330,000 employees. In 2013, the nearly 1,000 member companies of Swissmem exported goods worth 65 billion Swiss francs. Swissmem was created by the merger of two associations: ASM (Association of Swiss Engineering Employers) and VSM (Swiss Association of Machinery Manufacturers). Both associations have been operating under the Swissmem name since 1999. In an exclusive interaction with the Indian Textile Journal, Cornelia Buchwalder, Secretary General, Swissmem, discusses the stake of Swiss textile technology in the Indian market and their performance in the last year.
ITJ Editor: How has been the last year for the Swiss textile machinery industry globally?
Cornelia Buchwalder (CB): The year 2013 and the first half of 2014 have been positive for the Swiss textile machinery industry. The export volumes out of Switzerland increased by about 10 per cent p.a. over the last 18 months. Turkey has a market share of around 20 per cent, followed by China with 14 per cent and India with 7 per cent. The total export volume in the first half of 2014 was 506 million Euro.
ITJ Editor: Is the stake of Swiss textile technology increasing in the Indian market? To what extent?
CB: India is an important export market for Swiss textile machinery industry. It ranks No. 3 after Turkey and China. Over the last three years the export volume didn´t change much, it had a yearly volume of around 80 million Euro. Our members forecast an unchanged export volume to India for the next 12 months. But this is just part of the picture. Many of our members have a local presence in India - be it with sales or service organisations or production sites.
ITJ Editor: Are there any special efforts taken to boost Swiss technology in the Asian region? Now that ITMA Asia is over, what are the future campaigns for the Asian market?
CB: For the Swiss Textile Machinery Association, ITMA Asia is indeed the main event in the Asian market. Our member companies [of course] are individually participating in other exhibitions throughout Asia. Between ITMA Asia, our focus in Asia is on the promotion of the Factor+ campaign, which highlights the advantages of the solutions that this Swiss industry offers.
ITJ Editor: What are the strengths of Swiss textile technology and what are its benefits for the Indian industry?
CB: Again I think the Factor+ explains the USP of the Swiss textile industry really well. What does Factor+ stand for? The plus, the same as in the Swiss flag, symbolises companies´ commitment to real added value that translates into: outstanding technological + sustainable achievements, high-performance products + reliable services, innovative + environmentally compatible processes and realistic + cost-efficient end-to-end solutions. All these assets are used in any market, so we are confident that these benefits deliver solutions to the Indian market and textile industry.
ITJ Editor: What are the special campaigns being undertaken, like for instance in R&D, to keep the Swiss technology ahead of its competition?
CB: Switzerland often ranks as an ´Innovation Champion´ in global analyses. Nevertheless we see that for SME´s the task of innovating the portfolio, services and processes is a difficult task. Mainly due to lack off resources. In 2013 we started an initiative called ´Innovation impulse´. We offer to each of our member companies a workshop to analyse their innovation process and portfolio with an external consultant. This allows them to strengthen their innovation portfolio and maybe to even find an additional innovation field outside the trad