‘We have laid the basis for the future’
Peter Jakob on a sucessful 2019, the risks and opportunities for the future and the permanent challenge of reconciling sustainability and efficiency.
Peter, 2019 has been another successful year for Jakob Rope Systems. The highlights were undoubtedly the new buildings in Trubschachen and Vietnam. At the same time, there are risks on the horizon: the strong Swiss Franc makes exports expensive and the boom of the construction industry could begin to fade. Is Jakob riding the crest of a wave that is about to break?
A good question. The company has grown very fast in the last years, with new infrastructure in Switzerland and in Asia. The numbers this year also look promising. We will not be able to grow at this rate all the time, but I think the opportunities are greater than the risks.
What makes you so optimistic?
We have made great progress this year and laid the base for the future. The new buildings strengthen us, in Switzerland and especially in Asia. We have completely new opportunities for production and can become much more efficient. This will help us in our other projects for 2020.
We have hired a new team for our German branch and we want to promote our services for architecture, for which we have a team of young, talented engineers. Clients increasingly want a full service for their projects. Now we have not only the products, but can also offer the full package from engineering to final installation and maintenance.
The climate protests have raised the awareness for ecological problems. A ‘green wave’ has swept over Swiss politics in the elections this year. Looking back, do you still think the project for a new factory in Vietnam was a wise decision?
I understand the concerns and people ask me often about our production in Vietnam. I just talked about it with visitors of our factory. I am convinced that every company is responsible to do what is possible in their area. We are producing in Vietnam for many years now and have a responsibility for our staff there. Our new factory in Saigon is unique, especially with regard to sustainability in both its social and ecological aspect. I speak about the green façade, the energy-efficient ventilation method, photovoltaic energy production and many facilities for our colleagues. This way we can act as an example in the region and motivate them to follow our lead.
Finally, will the SCL Tigers reach the Playoffs of the Swiss hockey league?
We will have to wait and see in February. But all persons involved will do their best to reach this goal.