Swiss Steel and building-services technology Trade Day, convened federation in Pfäffikon SZ on last 15 November 2018, was attended by EUROMETAL.
The SSHV Trade Day gathered more than 100 participants from all corners of Switzerland. It was a unique occasion to assess the position of Swiss economy and Swiss steel market as well as a check up on challenges, chances and risks facing Swiss trade in steel and building-services technology.
During the last decade, Swiss economy has proved to be rather crisis resistant noting in each year a positive GDP growth rate.
For 2018, GDP growth is estimated to reach +2,9 % and for 2019 a 2,0 % growth is forecasted – significantly higher than the forecast for Euro zone..
But there are risk factors which may limit growth: uncertainties regarding central bank policies, trade protectionism, Brexit, Eurozone-Italy dispute which directly and indirectly may impact on Swiss economy, besides the limits induced by Swiss manufacturing running presently at full capacity and the limits imposed by a lack of qualified workforce.
The run of Swiss economy is shaping the trend in Swiss steel market.
In 2018, the Swiss market for Commercial Steels improved in volume by a very satisfatory growth rate. But for 2019 a lower growth is expected.
For Reinforcing Steels, a market stagnation at high level is estimated for 2018 and 2019.
Regarding the structure of Swiss steel distribution, the meeting emphasized that trade in steel and building-services technology is in a process of restructuring with strong consolidation trends on producer-, distributor- and end user side.
But consolidations and mergers are no easy processes to implement economic and commercial success as one of the speakers to the conference underlined.
Boobytraps to consolidation and mergers might be represented by differing IT- and ERP-systems, workforce fluctuations, different business cultures, conflicting leadership philosophies, focus of resources on solving internal problems while neglecting customer and markets, etc.
New technologies and digitalization are becoming more and more game changers in the distribution business, providing new tools like e-shops, innovating IDE-systems condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, product information systems, visualization of processes and product flows, assessing the life cycle of products and services, etc.
It was highlighted, that Digitalization is a challenging chance to reshape business models in distribution.
Efforts have to be enhanced in Switzerland regarding the acceptance of building with steel, when comparing to the very positive perception of wood in new buildings and building refitting.
It was outlined, that these efforts have to start in technical colleges and universities.