Focusing on where the impact is greatest
The Bossard Group is 180 years old this year and might be forgiven for resting on its substantial laurels – 2010 sales were up 25% to more than 477 million Swiss Francs with consolidated profit confidently expected to be at an all time high. As Phil Matten discovered, though, in the small Swiss town of Zug the appetite for profitable growth is undiminished – in fact Bossard has been gearing up for more.
n 1831 the Bossard family, known previously as silk traders, established a small hardware shop in what is now the Aldstadt of Zug. In the 1930s it remained a local business serving the needs of the small community in which the
family had long been well respected. In fact, it was not until the 1950s that Bossard began to internationalise – recognising the limited manufacturing carried out in Switzerland and taking on the very significant challenges of sourcing from Asia.
concentrate on fasteners. It sold off the tools and hardware elements of its business and started to acquire companies elsewhere in Europe. “Bossard recognised,” says David Dean, “that it had to follow its customers. Today 80% of our business is outside Switzerland.” Bossard now has 53 service locations across Europe, Asia
and the Americas, including 25 warehouses and 13 technical laboratories. That includes three Chinese locations in Beijing, Shenzen and Shanghai, servicing customers as far West as Chongqing; as well as operations in Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. In India the Group has a joint venture company, LPS Bossard, based in Rohtak and a further 14 regional service operations across the country. In the USA Bossard is
headquartered in Cedar Falls, Iowa with again six strategically located satellites, in California, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and Wisconsin. Bossard also operates from Monterrey, Mexico and in both Brazil and Argentina. “The essence of our approach to
David Dean, CEO In 1992 current CEO, David Dean, joined Bossard. “80% of
our business still came from within Switzerland,” he recalls, “and 40% of our sales were not in fasteners but in tools and other hardware.” The following year the Bossard family made the strategic decision to develop a global business and to
servicing our customers, wherever they are,” says Tee Bin Ong, Bossard’s vice-president group sales & marketing, “is to be ‘Glocal’ – to be Global but to act Local.” At the core of that thinking is what he describes as “One global team that recognises and responds to local culture”. Four regional management teams, for Central Europe, Northern Europe, Asia and America, are supported from Zug in the five specialist functions of finance, IT, purchasing, sales and marketing, and engineering and quality assurance. In total the Bossard group now employs some 1,600 people worldwide.
42 Fastener + Fixing Magazine • Issue 68 March 2011
Tee Bin Ong, vice president group sales & marketing