The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the world economy hard; and while numerous industries are reporting dramatic developments, Swiss manufacturer Studer
— a leading producer of cylindrical grinding machines, based in Steffisburg — has so far come through the crisis relatively robustly, according to Sandro Bottazzo, the company’s managing director.
He said: “In January and February 2020 we had a very steady order intake, which even exceeded expectations, but when Covid-19 struck our priorities were the health of the staff and the company’s survival.
“A Coronavirus Task Force was set up as soon as lockdown occurred, with efforts made throughout the company to reduce the physical presence of over 700 staff at the various locations, in order to reduce the risk of infection. In some instances our rules even went beyond the official requirements.
“Regarding the company’s survival, up to now Studer has been able to continue production throughout the pandemic at its two Swiss locations — in Thun and Biel.
“The supply of bought-in parts, generally from other European countries, has also worked perfectly, but when the new machine business will get back to pre-Coronavirus levels still remains to be seen.
“In some markets like the USA, China, some countries in Eastern and Northern Europe, as well as Italy, business is gradually picking up, but the German market remains rather subdued.”
He continued: “Demand for customer service initially dropped sharply with lockdowns, but then recovered very quickly. Studer was able to maintain customer care operations throughout the whole period, with our broad international presence really proving its worth.”
“Together with the Group branches in the USA, China and India, Studer has well over 200 employees in service world-wide. Furthermore, in customer care, the company is operating at pre-crisis level again, and we are even hiring again in this department; and in preventive maintenance we recorded one of the highest demands in the company's history in recent months.
“A continuing positive effect of the crisis is a rapid increase in digitalisation. From the internal Market Summit with sales representatives and webinars on grinding issues through to grinding training for customers, Studer has digitalised its communications very successfully.
“Indeed, advancing digitalisation and making processes more efficient is also one of our goals for 2021.”