echo interview with Aksel Ringvold, General Manager of Hilti Schweiz AG
elipsLife echo: As a globally successful player, Hilti has remained a family business. Has this fact contributed to its success?
Aksel Ringvold: Yes, it has. And I’ll tell you why. When it comes to planning, family ownership lets you take a long view, much more so than is the case with listed companies. At Hilti, we focus on the long term, not on short-term profit optimisation. In addition, we’re still shaped by a culture that goes back to the company's founder. This guides and shapes our working lives. For example, there’s a person at Hilti whose only job is to nurture and implement our corporate culture.
Where are your key markets?
Hilti pursues a global strategy. We have more than 120 subsidiaries worldwide and basically operate the same business model everywhere, with field service, engineering and support. In terms of market share, we’re strongest in Europe, where the focus is on German-speaking countries. That being said, Hilti is also strong in the USA and we’re also building up our position in countries outside Europe.
What are the biggest challenges currently facing the Hilti Group?
The construction industry, including we as construction suppliers, is currently caught in a real storm. We’re experiencing a severe shortage of raw materials. This means that steel production, for example, can no longer keep up with world demand. The consequences are rising prices and supply bottlenecks. To make matters worse, we’re facing massively higher prices for sea and air freight and a shortage of electronic components. So far, Hilti has come through this crisis relatively unscathed, thanks to a very professionally organised supply chain.
What’s the longer-term outlook?
When it comes to the long-term horizon, I prefer to talk about the opportunities out there. One important topic is certainly productivity for the construction industry in general and specifically the opportunities associated with the ongoing digital transformation of the business world. The question is how we can use our solutions to help our customers navigate these changes as productively as possible and so earn more money.