Strategy and markets

Technological expertise and customer focus applied in a wide range of markets

We create added value with our products and services – for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. This value can be traced to our detailed application know-how, outstanding technical expertise and our creativity.

Surrounded by SFS products every day 

People come into contact with SFS products every day. Most times unknowingly because many of the often success-critical components we make are embedded within the products of our customers and are rarely visible from the outside. SFS products are used in a vast range of applications. Whether in a car, in adventure cameras or on board a modern plane, SFS know-how is everywhere. Our customers put their trust in us when they choose SFS as their development partner, solution provider or C-parts supplier.

Creating value for customers

The direct costs of SFS products are relatively low compared to the overall end product costs, but the related costs for the customer are several times higher due to administrative sourcing activities or logistics costs. We always try to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer. That means keeping an eye on the cost of each specific part and, in particular, optimizing overall costs. This perspective helps us to identify cost-savings potential and create sustainable added value. The advantage for us is that these custom-tailored products and solutions give us a more distinct profile and strengthen our partnerships we have with our customers.

Innovation and acquisition-driven growth 

Our positioning in growth markets and our leadership in selected market niches give us many opportunities to demonstrate our capabilities and strengths with a steady flow of innovation.

The implementation of a wide range of measures brought short-term relief from the significant appreciation of the Swiss franc. In order to ensure sustainable competitiveness, the factories in Switzerland will focus even more on knowledge and capital-intensive products and processes. Selective acquisitions will be made to capture new markets and address new customer groups and application areas, and thereby create new opportunities for organic growth.

Supplying global players from local sources

A well-developed distribution and production network across North America, Europe and Asia enables us to serve our customers locally from one of more than 70 sites worldwide (see map). This worldwide distribution and production network is a powerful tool of differentiation that sets us apart from the competition, which often operates only locally. We are also broadly diversified in terms of end markets and applications. This allows us to respond in a flexible manner to regional developments with targeted measures. High diversification reduces our vulnerability to cyclical downturns in any one industry or region, yet also necessitates the focused and systematic exploitation of business opportunities in these same markets by applications specialists.

Share of sales increased in America and Asia

Some marked changes in the share of sales generated in the various markets arose during the period from 2011 to 2015, in particular due to the acquisition of Unisteel Technology. While America's share of sales increased, Europe's share of Group sales fell below the 40% mark.

In light of our positioning in growth markets, our strong partnerships with the leading players in these markets, and our innovation capabilities, we are targeting 5–7% annual sales growth over the medium term, well above the projected rate of global economic growth.

Achieve attractive profitability

SFS operates with good margins. We see this as confirmation that we are pursuing the right market strategy and successfully delivering on our value proposition and unwavering commitment to generate added value for every SFS customer. In the medium term (3–5 years), we are aiming to increase SFS Group’s EBITA margin to more than 15%. The targeted improvement in profitability will be achieved through above-average growth in profitable business areas, the ongoing improvement in our operating efficiency, and the launch of innovative products.

Strategic priorities for 2016

  • Strengthen our position with existing customers by focusing on the generation of added value
  • Selectively widen the customer base and enter new application areas
  • Intensify business activities in the aerospace and medical components sectors
  • Continue the globalization of SFS activities
  • Accelerate the pace of innovation
  • Achieve further progress in standardization and efficiency gains in C-part logistics

Share of Sales by
region 2011–2015 in %

Worldwide sales offices
and production sites