SIKA | 01.09.2022

When it comes to efficiency, Sika’s production plant in Fribourg is a role model for many of the group’s 90 subsidiaries around the globe.

Gunther Schaar is convinced that the future of industry lies in leveraging data’s full potential. According to the Head of Operations at SIKA Manufacturing SA, “While Industry 3.0 has taught us to centralize data so that we can respond as quickly as possible to the on-site needs of our customers, Industry 4.0 goes even further.”

SIKA is the leading global provider of chemical-based construction materials and solutions and is present in 101 countries around the world. One of its largest manufacturing sites is its Düdingen plant, which is overseen by Schaar. Nearly 95% of PVC waterproofing membranes and sealants made there are destined for the export market. “Exploiting the full potential of data allows us to accelerate the entire production chain and move closer to on-demand, just-in-time manufacturing.” This means “a reduction in surplus stock, transport needs and CO2 emissions.”

The top executives at the Swiss multinational have devised a three-pillar strategy for the group. As Schaar explains, the first is “Customer centricity. Here, our marketing and sales teams endeavor to improve the collection and management of data.” The second is operational excellence. The aim here is to make production more efficient and ecological, “Connected machines and sensors generate lots of data. Smart analyses of this information will make it easier for us to solve problems and even identify them before they happen.” The third and final pillar is effective knowledge work, with a particular focus on in-house data sharing. “Communication is vitally important in a group which has some 30,000 employees and a decentralized operational structure.”

50% increase in production

At SIKA’s major production facility in Düdingen, efforts will concentrate on implementing the operational excellence part of the strategy. “For years now, we have been doing everything we can to automate our processes and boost supply chain efficiency”, notes Schaar. In Switzerland, the Fribourg site is already considered a model of efficiency. It is set to cement this status thanks to SIKA’s continued investment in the canton, “We plan to increase production by roughly 50% between now and 2028.”