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From globalisation to glocalisation

The Swiss manufacturing industry must reinvent itself

There’s a current trend towards more local supply chains – known as glocalisation or re-industrialisation. This trend was first triggered by digitalisation with automation solutions and picked up speed with the outbreak of COVID-19. Hence, manufacturers around the world had to rethink their supply systems overnight. 

Find out in our latest report why it is worthwhile for the Swiss manufacturing industry to make supply chains more local and flexible, and what our recommendations are for doing so.

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  • In recent years, the main focus of international supply chains was on lowering costs and maximising profits in the short term. 
  • The conflict of objectives between the parameters of cost, quality, resilience, security and carbon neutrality is forcing companies to rethink their purely cost-driven supply chain approaches. 
  • Companies using advanced supply chain technologies can achieve annual operational savings of up to 6.8%. 
  • Although the Swiss manufacturing industry is well equipped for digitisation, the digital transformation of production and the supply chain as a holistic approach is still in its infancy. 
  • As Switzerland is too small for exclusively domestic market-oriented supply chains, Swiss manufacturers have to shift certain parts of the value chain back to Europe in particular as well as partially to the Swiss market. 
  • As a result, traditional approaches based primarily on cost efficiency may become less important.

"Glocalisation combined with digitalisation, good framework conditions and market access will drive our economy forward."

Dr. Stefan Brupbacher, Director SwissMem

"Bringing operations back into Switzerland also brings upstream and downstream value creation into the country."

Prof. Dr. Maike Scherrer, ZAHW School of Engineering

Recommendations for the Swiss manufacturing industry

Swiss manufacturers need to strike a balance between maximising profits and taking risks, but this requires regaining an entrepreneurial perspective. In order to do so, companies will have to reassess their risks and realign their strategy to make their business more sustainable. 

Just like people, companies should also strengthen their crisis resilience. To do this, they must, among other things, rigorously scrutinise their entire supply chain, taking into account the upstream supply chains of their own suppliers.

Digitalisation offers enormous potential for strategic transformations and ecosystem-based business models, forcing companies to ask themselves fundamental questions regarding their long-term strategic direction.

For digital transformation to succeed, it must be accompanied by a cultural shift toward greater agility or new business models. Swiss manufacturers should move from an engineering mindset to a digital mindset that includes increased collaborative working.

Thanks to consolidated partnerships and ecosystems, digitisation technologies can be shared, creating added value for all.

Contact us

Reto Brunner

Reto Brunner

Partner, Advisory, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 14 19

Daniel Anliker

Daniel Anliker

Industrial Manufacturing & Automotive Territory Leader, Partner Assurance, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 2166

Simon Treis

Simon Treis

Director, Member of the Executive Board, Strategy& Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 3158

Christoph Wellinger

Christoph Wellinger

Senior Executive Advisor, Supply Chain & Operations Leader, PwC Switzerland