Deloitte: What lasting changes do you think the pandemic will make to the future role of CFOs?
Erich Hangartner: I think CFOs will be focusing more on their role as owners of the risk management process. CFOs and CEOs will also need to work on an ongoing basis on optimising measures to tackle declining global or sectoral demand. The aim must be to achieve short-term cost savings and maintain liquidity. And in the long term, company development must be stabilised by maintaining corporate culture and employees’ know-how.
Deloitte: Sustainability is an increasingly hot topic. What can you as CFO do to support sustainability within your own company?
Erich Hangartner: SCHURTER is currently engaged in a Group-wide process to expand its sustainability targets and reporting. As CFO, I am a Group Management sparring partner for the project group. In that role, I feed in my expertise, such as knowledge of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or experience of key performance indicators. We need ambitious, but also achievable, goals here too.
Deloitte: What major opportunities do you see digitalisation creating in future? And are there limitations to digitalisation?
Erich Hangartner: As well as further automation of administrative processes, I think the greatest potential at SCHURTER lies in sharing data and communicating with interest groups within the company – especially our customers, our employees, and our suppliers and technology partners. An employee app is one way of boosting company loyalty, for example.
An expanded and straightforward CRM system will be an important basis for generating future business opportunities among customers. For some time now, the availability of IT professionals has dictated the limits on digitalisation.
Deloitte: The most recent CFO Survey reveals that many companies now see supply chain problems as the greatest risk facing them. How serious do you think these problems are? And how are you tackling them?
Erich Hangartner: Some of these supply chain problems are very serious. For example, they are affecting not just electronic components but also basic materials, such as plastic granulates. Alongside the limits we face on expanding our production capacity, the major issue creating bottlenecks and preventing us from growing our revenues is procurement of raw materials and semi-finished products.
Deloitte: Most CFOs participating in the CFO Survey believe revenues will be increasing. What opportunities does your company have in the current year and next year?
Erich Hangartner: Since the end of last year, we have seen global demand increase markedly and with it, revenues across our Group. We are assuming moderate growth next year on the basis of the very high growth we will have achieved this year. Our growth markets – industrial electronics, medical technology, automotive technology, aerospace, data and communications, and energy technologies – have all seen significant growth. SCHURTER is also very optimistic about the medium-term prospects for all these market segments, not least because we do not just sell our customers components – we offer them ambitious global solutions.
CFO at SCHURTER Holding AG
Erich Hangartner has been CFO of the globally operating SCHURTER Group with headquarters in Lucerne since 1992. In addition, as a business excellence coach, he is responsible for the further development of the company in accordance with the EFQM management model. Before joining SCHURTER, he held management positions in mechanical engineering and electronics companies. After his education as a business economist HSW, Erich Hangartner successfully completed the Executive MBA programme at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He was awarded the CFO-of-the-Year-Award at the CFO Day 2021 for his achievements.