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Untapped growth markets
Despite the strong export focus and significant global presence of Swiss manufacturers, there is still considerable potential to tap into undeveloped growth markets that should play a more prominent role in the global economic structure of the next decades.
Swiss manufacturers can differentiate themselves strategically from their competition by entering into new markets with strong growth potential. Choosing the right markets offer the greatest potential for growth is critical. Well-known emerging economies like China and India no longer offer the highest potential for growth taking into consideration the already fierce competition in these countries. The next generation of emerging markets with strong growth potential needs to be considered. It is also important to define the right growth strategies for these new markets (innovation, M&A, joint ventures, local production, new sales strategies, etc.).
The optimisation of existing growth opportunities is a priority in established markets. It is important to redefine offerings, i.e. to better position existing products, replace old products and services while introducing new ones, and to tap alternative growth areas. As in new markets, appropriate growth strategies need to be defined in established markets.
Many Swiss manufacturers are faced with the task of developing new sales and distribution strategies and channels in new growth markets. At the same time, distribution plans in established markets will occasionally need to be adjusted. To enhance competitiveness, it is important, on the one hand, to maximise existing potential to increase the efficiency of the distribution (controlling distribution channels and resources, customer integration, etc.). On the other hand, lock-in strategies in distribution also offer opportunities for winning customer loyalty and for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Extensive FX management will remain a relevant topic, not only for large multinational groups, but also for small and medium-sized Swiss manufacturing companies with a strong export focus. The focus here is primarily on financial hedging instruments (especially cash flow hedging), but also natural hedging (e.g. by harmonising buying and selling currencies, invoicing sales in Swiss francs and borrowing money in relevant foreign currencies).
Intense pressure to continually reduce costs and to keep growing through new products, services and markets, as well as growing global complexity and an increasing regulatory environment are placing pressure on manufacturing companies to optimise their business model. The core element of such an optimisation is the transformation of the overall business model from a country/region-driven structure to a service line organisation that aligns business strategies across all regions, leverages advantages of common processes, and overcomes the risk of double taxation. BMO is especially important when entering new growth markets and/or setting up new services.
Business Model Optimisation (BMO)
With many countries still struggling to adjust to economic uncertainty times, the manufacturing industry can expect new challenges with regard to international pricing strategy. Economies are tightening their domestic spending, resulting in a downward push on prices. In addition, increasing global competition and customer push for price transparency also threaten to have a negative effect on profit margins. Swiss manufacturers are in need of an effective pricing and profitability management.