Olli Laurén Practice Group Leader, Chicago and Calgary
Machinery & Industrial Technology
With the global economy entering its most turbulent period for many decades, the fall in global production and the almost complete cessation of investment in global production capacities have pushed global machinery and automation companies into a deep recession.
Drops in order volume of up to half, or even more, depending on the sub-segment, have put enormous pressure on these companies’ P&L situations. Challenges on the credit side due to the crisis in the financial markets are aggravating the gloomy picture. In some regions, drastic changes in currency exchange rates have further amplified the downturn. Companies are reacting by significantly downsizing capacities, closing production sites and postponing new projects.
At the same time, the crisis presents opportunities as well as challenges. Some players may find opportunities to take the lead in restructuring markets and industries and redefining the value chain.
What skills are needed now?
Restructuring and turnaround skills are clearly most in demand today. Companies that will gain competitive advantages are those led by managers who choose “the right way”, rather than the “easy way”, not only to downsize a company but also to restructure it so that it re-emerges stronger than before.
At the same time the opportunities in the crisis require business-building capabilities: shrewd commercial skills, a clear focus on opportunities, the capability to act first, combined with a view of the broader picture.
Few companies have all these skills readily available after the extensive period of high growth which has just ended.
How can Egon Zehnder support the machinery and industrial technology industry?
In this business environment it is crucial to identify the best internal talents, put them in place, and equip them with the development plan necessary for success. At the same time, companies must complete the competencies, skills and critical experience of their leadership groups by selectively and proactively attracting talent from the outside, for instance from best-practice companies in the industry or from other industries with a surplus talent pool for competencies that are critical for success of companies in the machinery and automation sector.
Egon Zehnder’s Machinery & Industrial Technology Practice has the credentials to support clients’ needs with specific industry expertise, as well as knowledge of, and access to top management talent in the global market.
We proactively identify top executive and strategic talent in the global market, with competencies in such critical functions as operations, R&D, procurement and restructuring as well as general management.
Our Leadership Strategy Services Practice offers proven expertise in systematically evaluating and benchmarking companies existing management portfolio on both individual and team levels. This strategic approach to creating top-class management teams can only be realized with the backing of a company’s CEO, and more particularly its board. Both need experience of leading their companies through turbulent times.
How we operate
All our consultants acquired extensive professional experience before joining Egon Zehnder, and have created a significant track record in the machinery and automation industry. This expertise is embedded in our global network. Our entire firm operates as a single profit center, which both encourages and rewards collaboration.