Various studies have once again proclaimed Switzerland to be the world's leading innovator. This is a positive sign, since continuing successful innovation will be essential if the strongly export-oriented companies in the mechanical and electrical engineering (MEM) industries are to remain internationally competitive in the future. Swissmem strives to help mechanical and electrical engineering businesses maintain and strengthen their capability to innovate. It champions a sound operating framework, provides information on relevant issues, advises companies on innovation projects and networks innovation stakeholders.
Knowledge and technology transfer
Compared to other nations, Switzerland possess outstanding research institutions. They make an essential contribution to the innovative capacity of Swiss industry. Knowledge and technology transfer is what brings the benefits of research findings to life in products and processes at a corporate level. Swissmem works actively to ensure that the potential embodied in knowledge and technology transfer is utilized throughout the MEM industries.
Industry 4.0 and digitalization
The fourth industrial revolution is currently a hot topic. Swissmem sees huge potential for Swiss industry. This is not simply about optimization – for example, increasing productivity – but is above all a matter of innovation, either of market services or even business models. For these reasons, Swissmem is getting involved in many different aspects of the issue, including the “Industry 2025” initiative (www.industrie2025.ch).
If companies are planning specific innovation projects, Swissmem can offer its members free support from an innovation consultant. The focus here is on setting innovation projects off on the right track. The consultants can provide information on possible funding tools and investigate possible project partners at research institutions or other companies.
Corporate innovation can be boosted by a sound operating framework. Swissmem is committed to the continuous improvement of education at all levels. The excellence of Swiss research can only be maintained if universities are able to expand their international networking and gain sufficient funding in a manner that is as competitive as possible. Funding tools must evolve in line with needs and have adequate resource input. And, ultimately, companies must be able to invest enough money in innovation. This is where additional tax breaks for R&D investments can help.
One basic prerequisite for innovative strength and capability is outstandingly educated employees on all rungs of the qualification ladder. SMEs in particular are usually unable to fund their own development departments, so they rely on committed and creative employees. Swissmem is committed to excellent schooling and vocational training (see also Training and development section). The association also sponsors seven professions (see Swissmem vocational training) and offers a wide range of management development courses (see Swissmem Academy). The Swissmem Academy offers a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) course in innovation in conjunction with the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences.