For Oerlikon, sustainability means strengthening the Group’s ability to seize business opportunities, manage future challenges as well as secure the long-term viability and profitability of the Group.
Oerlikon’s key objective is to sustain profitable growth and create further value for all stakeholders. Sustainability is implemented in the areas of customer service,
HR policy, health and safety, R&D and innovation, operational excellence, supply chain management, environmental protection, risk management and compliance with legal, regulatory, ethical and internal requirements.
The Group’s Code of Conduct defines the ethical and legal framework for business activities and forms the basis of the sustainable orientation of the Group.
One of Oerlikon’s core competencies is its in-depth understanding of its customers’ production processes and systems, and its ability to anticipate customers’ needs.
The production environments of many of Oerlikon’s customers involve complex systems of machinery, which need to work seamlessly. Such systems involve high capital investments. Often, Oerlikon is brought in by the customer at the conceptual stage to ensure that processes and components are aligned closely with the customer’s requirements, and that Oerlikon’s technologies can be easily integrated into customers’ manufacturing processes.
Many of Oerlikon's technological solutions were also developed in close partnership with research institutions. A key and increasingly important part of Oerlikon’s
business is providing customized solutions including joint research projects, comprehensive service and support, warranty or first-hand access to ongoing development and new product generations.
To strengthen customer relationships and offer world-class services in close proximity to customers, Oerlikon continuously expands its global presence and customer service network. In 2014, the Group added over 50 sites to its dense network. Oerlikon is represented by its own companies in almost all of the major markets of the world and operates in line with the principle of “In the market for the market”. In 2014, Oerlikon grew its service business to CHF 917 million, corresponding to an increase of 34.3 % compared to 2013.
Occupational health and safety are important elements of Oerlikon’s sustainability strategy and form an integral part of the Group’s business processes. HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) guidelines and monitoring are centrally coordinated, but the programs and processes are decentralized and implemented by the Segments and sites locally.
The Visual Safety Leadership initiative plays a key role in this context, with a series of concrete measures aimed at cutting accident figures further and protecting the health of employees. The objective is the vision of “Zero harm to people”. The key performance indicator for measuring progress is the lost time accidents (LTAs) figure.
Based on the initial year of 2012, in which the average value within the Group was still at 1.76, a 27 % reduction to 1.28 was achieved in 2013. For 2014, a further decline of 30 % was set as the target value and this objective was significantly exceeded with an LTA value of 0.75 at the end of 2014. This is a considerable achievement but it started from a low base and is an ongoing process.
This improvement was achieved through a series of measures. In 2014:
R&D and innovation is the foundation upon which Oerlikon is built, and a key strength of the Group. The Company and Segments maintain their competitive advantage and leadership position through continually developing cutting-edge and market-leading technologies.
Today, Oerlikon has value-enhancing proprietary technologies for surface solutions, the manufacturing of manmade fibers and polycondensation systems, drives and shifting solutions for vehicles and machinery, and vacuum pumps and components.
Many of the challenges of key megatrends can be solved through engineering innovations. Increasing the efficiency of mobility, improving the performance and functionality of goods and systems, efficient use of energy, and contributing to environmental sustainability will continue to feature in the innovative technologies of Oerlikon.
Beyond technology innovation, Oerlikon also looks into innovation of processes and services to create further value for its customers. Essentially, Oerlikon’s high-performance products, engineering expertise and quality services serve to enable cost savings and efficiency gains for customers, supporting them in their business success.
In 2014, Oerlikon continued to invest around 4 % of Group sales in R&D, corresponding to CHF 121 million, an increase of 19.8 % as compared to 2013. Over 1 300 engineers and scientists work for the Group worldwide. In line with R&D activities, Oerlikon files for patents and registers its proprietary brands regularly to protect its intellectual property. In 2014, 108 patents were registered for new inventions, corresponding to a total of 5 921 filings worldwide.