Research - 01.10.2021 - 00:00 

Swiss Manufacturing Survey 2021: Switzerland seen as an outstanding location for production

Latest edition of the study sheds light on the economic profile and key success factors contributing to Switzerland’s strength as a global hub for international manufacturing.
Source: HSG Newsroom

1 October 2021. Researchers of the Institute of Technology Management (ITEM-HSG) at the University of St.Gallen released the fifth edition of their Swiss Manufacturing Survey. The team evaluated data from more than 200 firms from a record 20 participating industries ranging from textiles to mechanical engineering. The results reveal the current state of manufacturing within Switzerland.

This fifth annual survey allows researchers to take a continuing look at Switzerland’s strengths and weaknesses as a location for production.

In specific, the 2021 report focuses on Switzerland’s resilience in manufacturing and the effect that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the industry. “This report allows us to provide industry as well as associations, politicians and academics with detailed information on the ever-changing landscape found in the manufacturing industry in Switzerland,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Friedli, one of the authors of the study and production management expert at the ITEM-HSG.

This survey aims at identifying the current situation of the Swiss manufacturing industry and to ascertain long-term structural changes. Its focus on the manufacturing industry provides information not available in other surveys. This transparent look at the industry seeks to provide support for those seeking to identify and analyze upcoming trends and to react appropriately.

Factors to success

Factors which contribute to the success of Switzerland as a manufacturing hub include its strong positive image, ability to access customers, ability to meet quotas in a timely and reliable fashion and access to a high quality of Labor.

Some of the perceived barriers companies identified with manufacturing in Switzerland are the high cost of labor, an unfavorable exchange rate (Currency) and an aspect specifically found in 2020 was a lack of orders (specifically for KMUs).

Robustness of Switzerland during the pandemic

Switzerland was also recognized in a positive light for its handling of the coronavirus. Businesses in the survey found that government support for the Swiss economy during the pandemic with the immediate introduction of short-time work (Kurzarbeit) helped negatively-affected sectors preserve jobs. Participants also pointed to the Swiss government’s liberal COVID-19 measures, which leaned towards self-responsibility instead of strict rules and support programs unencumbered with bureaucracy as helpful.

The study report is available to public free of charge.

The implications from this study will be discussed during the St.Gallen Production Management Conference on October 26 & 27, 2021. As well the recipient of this year’s Swiss Manufacturing Award will be presented. Registration for the conference is still open.


Marten Ritz, Head of Global Projects Production Management

Institute of Technology Management (ITEM-HSG)

Image: AdobeStock / Aleksandr Rybalko