Markus Bachmann, Global Lean Process Manager (Vice President) at ABB

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) produced by Credit Suisse and procure.ch rose to 60.9 points in July, what do you think are the major challenges that lie ahead for Switzerland’s continued growth?
Switzerland currently faces a lack of highly qualified staff despite a good dual educational system balanced with immigration and it will face even a bigger problems when the ‘baby boom’ generation retires. Probably the skill shortage will be partially compensated through digitalisation, but the other part will definitely remain a challenge. Furthermore, Switzerland should increase its productivity. Especially the domestic economy as it is less productive than some international companies. There are several small and medium sized companies that took up this challenge and are highly productive and competitive, but the majority of small and medium sized companies still needs to make this first step.

As someone who has had over 17 years’ experience working within the Swiss market-place, how have you found the Swiss market & working environment has changed over these years, and what in your opinion, have been the drivers for these changes?
Major changes have characterised the past seventeen years, the strong internationalisation transferred the more simple and repetitive jobs abroad, especially to China and other low cost countries. The shift from the commercial-industrial sector to the service sector increased the need for a highly qualified work force. To cover this need immigration shifted from a blue collar workforce to white collar, a highly qualified employee. I saw this in ABB, too. Several production units were closed and moved to Asia and foreign academic colleagues increased in number throughout the company. When the economic crises of 2007 hit, it emphasised the importance of higher efficiencies and effectivity along the entire value chain, which in turn drove the need for capable and specialised staff even further.   

How attractive do you feel that Switzerland remains as a location for international businesses?
Switzerland has an excellent educational system, is a non-bureaucratic state (founding a company is very easy), politically stable, offers great logistic connections, has no unions (as in the rest of Europe), and offers to companies good conditions and low taxes. Definitely, Switzerland is not cheap; however, the conditions offered give it excellent “value for money”. Furthermore, Switzerland is number one worldwide for register patents. For the reasons above mentioned, I firmly believe Switzerland is a very competitive and attractive country now, and in the future, if the country is able to solve the major issues discussed in point number one.

What are the organisations growth plans?
ABB is working on several collaborations and acquisitions in order to fill strategic gaps in the geographic, product and end-market portfolio. Industry 4.0 is clearly a goal of ABB that should not be missed. Therefore, this year, ABB acquired KEYMILE’s to strengthen digital grid portfolio and software. With the acquisition of Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH automation the know how was increased and with the collaboration signed with Microsoft access to digitalisation has been secured.

What challenges are await your business and how do you hope to overcome them?
In Product Group Gas Insulated Switchgear in the last fifteen years, competitors have tripled and the product moved from a highly engineered product to a commodity. To overcome the challenges given by this new market situation, products must be modularised and standardised, processes simplified and high intensive labour moved to low cost countries.

What does your organisation currently do to contribute towards the corporate social responsibility?
The corporate socially responsible portrait is linked to seven major themes: operational efficiency, maximum safety, environmental protection, quality & innovation, open dialogue, skill development and responsible citizenship. ABB is working on all seven themes, although during the past five years major focus was given to health & safety and integrity.

What recruitment challenges do you face?
Finding people with a wide hands-on experience in different fields or specialists with long term experience is always a challenge.

What attributes do you look for when choosing a recruitment partner?
The recruitment partner should be very professional and personal chemistry should fit. If I like the company and the recruiters, I am confident they will find the right candidates.

When interviewing candidates at an earlier stage in their career, what common mistakes do you see and what advice would you give?
Many of the young candidates ask first about the money and not about the content and challenges of the job. We look for people with an outstanding enthusiasm for the job.

In what circumstances do you think an external recruiter can add value?
Usually recruiters add great value when you are looking for specific, not common experiences of a candidate or if you are looking for managers with a bright experience.

If you could go back and give your younger (graduate) self some career advice, what would it be?
Usually, I advise younger colleagues to make as diverse experiences as possible during their first ten years of their career. A wide experience in different fields allows an understanding of the end to end process and the company as whole. 

What makes you relax  from working in such a pressured role?
Running, I run 40-60 Km per week. Otherwise, I read books and enjoy the big art offer in Zürich.

What are your personal motivators?
An interesting and challenging job in the right environment is definitely a motivator and great fun, too.

How important was it for you to develop relationships outside of your department for career development?
Every person I worked with during my career was important for my own career development, regardless of whether he/she was within ABB or external. Colleagues in ABB, especially if working at a global level, have a huge network as I have after 17 years. So, if you are looking for somebody, feedbacks and inputs of colleagues are very important and helpful.

What would you say is the most rewarding part of your role?
Managing complex tasks and projects at a global level with very different cultures is definitely one of the most rewarding part of my role.
If you could change one thing in your career what would it be?
I would have tried more different roles to build a 360° experience. For example, sales could have been an interesting option, too. Time will tell.

Looking back through your established career, what would you identify as a personal highlight?
Certainly, it was the period in the Generator Circuit Breaker business as operations manager. The environment was great, high empowerment, with huge freedom in acting and taking decision. With these perfect conditions, I learned most about change management and managing people.  

What do you think makes a good leader in Operations Management?
A good leader should enable collaboration, reduce internal transaction, decide goal conflicts, have a disturbance mandate (create new problems for the company) and make people successful.

What advice would you give to future aspiring leaders, and why?
To a future aspiring leader I would advise that they deeply understand the five leadership principle listed in the previous point. I firmly believe extraordinary leaders are characterised by these five principles.

What would be your advice to someone aspiring to be where you are now?
My advice would be to work in the first part of their career in an operative unit and work as close as possible with their subordinates in order to understand their work and the processes they are working in. To do this later in the career and especially at a global level this will no longer  be possible.

Who was your most admired person when you were in your childhood and why?
In my childhood I admired, as many boys, my father for his joy, curiosity and deep passion for life.

Who is your most inspirational person in business and why?
David Kelly and his company IDEO were extremely inspiring for me. The systematic creativity process he developed and the way he managed IDEO gave me great ideas for my own management style.

What books / blogs are you currently reading?
Currently I’m reading two books:
“Passion running” from Rafael Fuchsgruber and ultra-marathon runner who talks about his experience of the last ten years
“Excellent company” a book of two German consultant about change management.

Describe yourself in 3 words
Curious, structured and perseverant.

If you could choose an Artistic/Musical/Sporting career, who would it be and why?
At age of seven I photographed my first black and white picture and afterwards I learned from my father how to develop the film and print the pictures in the dark room. I was and I am still very passionate about photography, probably I would have chosen this career path. 

Do you have any hidden talents?
If I have hidden talents, then they are very well hidden. However, as already mentioned, I am very passionate about photography. Furthermore, I like painting and in sports running. If I am talented in these hobbies I do not know, but I have a lot of fun.

 

*Views and opinions contained within our Executive Interviews are those of the Interviewee and not views shared by EMEA Recruitment

 
Show All Other Interviews

in or Register for an account today. With an EMEA account you can apply for jobs, save your searches and view your application history.

Testimonials

"Emma and the team at EMEA Recruitment were absolutely professional, friendly and helpful in each...


"I’m grateful to have worked with Emma in this recruitment journey, certainly her understanding...


"I have talked to several recruiters and recruiting agencies recently, but never met anything...


"I am very pleased to have worked with Hannah Mallia, and can highly recommend her for providing...


"I have met a lot of job agents in my life. None of them have ever compared with Elizabeth....


"Elizabeth was an absolute dream to work with. Throughout a lengthy roller coaster process of job...


"Elizabeth Fox found my profile and recommended me to my current employer for the position,...


"I got to meet John when I was looking for a new professional challenge.
I have been meeting...


"Overall it has been a great experience working with Emma and I am very happy about the way...


"I met Elizabeth while I was job hunting in the Amsterdam Area from Bucharest. Searching for a...


"Elizabeth is a great person to communicate with. She really helped me in finding the next step...


"I am very pleased with your professional approach.
Even though I only know you for a couple...


"Hannah is very professional and responsive. She is keen in updating the prospective candidates...


"As a newly arrived professional in the Netherlands searching for new challenges, Elizabeth has...


"Elizabeth is very focused with a great attention to detail and an eye for a perfect match for...


"Hannah was really helpful in my search for a new role. She spared no efforts to look for...


"I highly recommend Georgia! She was fully dedicated all along the recruiting process. What I...


"Working with Ben is a pleasure. Well informed about the companies he is representing and the...


"Ben is a professional recruitment consultant that takes time for his candidates. When I started...


"My experience with Leon from a candidates perspective has been a real pleasure. His regular...


"I can truly and highly recommend Hannah for her great enthusiasm, punctuality, tremendous help...


"Hannah is a true professional recruiter. She has not only an excellent knowledge of the...


"I’ve had a pleasure of working with Hannah as a candidate looking for a new opportunity....


"Working with Elizabeth has always been a wonderful experience. She is great at matching...


"What I enjoyed the most about Hannah is her committed search to find you the right fit. Not just...


"It's great working with Ben! He pays attention to your wishes and he always honours his...


"Ben was the person responsible for finding a great opportunity for me. He immediately understood...


"Its a pleasure to recommend Hannah, she is professional and honest in her work.
I was able...


"Working with Georgia, was the best experience that I’ve ever had in the whole process of...


"In rare moments of my professional life have I been in contact with someone as professional,...


"I’m very pleased to recommend Hannah as a recruiter to work with. She is very talented really...


"Working with Georgia is a pleasure and a lesson too.
She is professional and the same time...


"I’ve had the pleasure of working with Georgia Wright several months ago.
I’ve been...


"It was a true pleasure to work with Elizabeth. Very responsive, understanding and focused on the...


"Since day one Elizabeth has been nothing but helpful, optimistic and cheerful. Her attitude is...


"It has been a pleasure to be guided by Elizabeth!
She’s a great person who gives good...


"It is my absolute pleasure to recommend Hannah to anyone who is thinking about a career move. I...


"Leon and the team at EMEA Recruiting handled my application with a dedication I have rarely...


"Hannah is an outstanding recruiter. She was a fantastic guide through my recruitment process and...


"From the first point of contact until getting the contract signed, I knew Emma as very...


"Georgia is a professional, enthusiastic person, able to create strong and long term relationship...


"Elizabeth got in touch with me when I started looking for a new challenge a couple of months...


“I was 200% happy about the service Emma provided. I take that opportunity to thank you...


"Hannah is a very professional recruiter. The candidates she presented were a very good match...


"Hannah was the most professional recruiter that I've worked with thus far. She helped me with my...


"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michelle for the valuable assistance...


"I would like to thank you Elizabeth for the great job you've done.
I have been amazed by...


"Hannah is fantastic at her job. She helped me to find my first job in Amsterdam. From the first...


"Michelle is a great super positive person, with nice and gentle communication style, very...


"John Byrne at EMEA Recruitment in Switzerland was outstanding in his professionalism, whilst...


"It was really a pleasure working together with Georgia Wright in order to find out a good job...


“Jenny and Elizabeth displayed professionalism and effectiveness right from the first call....


"Hannah was a great help for me to find my next role in Amsterdam. She was always available for...


 

''I very much recommend Ben for his recruitment abilities following his help in our...


“Elizabeth helped me a lot during the preparation for my job opportunity. She was always...


"Since the very beginning of my contact with Elizabeth I realized how professional, motivated and...


"Throughout my career, I have worked with several recruitment agencies but EMEA recruitment- and...


"In the summer 2017 I was sure about my next career movement and what I will be doing in the...


"I am very pleased with the collaboration I had with Georgia Wright to land an exciting...


"My experience of working with John was exceptional. From initial contact until he successfully...


"Jenny Callum is a brilliant and professional recruiter I happily met in my life. Having solid...


"I have been thinking a lot of our cooperation and I didn't find any part which should be changed...


"Meriel made the process of applying for the role simple from start to finish, and helped make an...


"I cannot praise or thank Meriel enough for the support she gave me in finding a new role in...


" I would like to thank Michelle for her full support and dedication each step of the way during...


"Jenny Callum should definitely become employee of the year! A true professional in her...


"I would like to extend my gratitude to Jenny Callum for her guidance and preparation in the...


"I want to thank Michelle for her great support and help during my Job hunt, she really is...


“Michelle Ewing is an excellent professional. She guided me through the entire process by...


“I am very grateful for Michelle’s hard work and support throughout the process. From the...


“It was a pleasure working with Michelle. Besides the fact that she is a very nice person she...


"Over the past years I have been in contact with several different recruiters in Switzerland...


"Hannah is one of the best recruiters that I have ever come across. She is a great professional,...


"I got to know Paul and his team as a candidate. What could otherwise have been a stressful...


"I worked with Hannah recently and respect the timely and professional manner in how...


"I really liked working with Sian. She was very professional in each stage, especially...


"Of course, I can recommend Hannah, she is one of the few consultants who is capable of...


"I was lucky enough to encounter Hannah in my search for a new role. Hannah's advice and...


"I worked with Richard recently as a candidate. He was extremely professional and provided...


"I worked with Hannah and she is a fantastic recruitment consultant. She was always happy to help...


"My recent experience with Paul on my recruitment process was a real difference compared to any...


"Football is simple...but it´s difficult to play simple football” - Johan Cruyff

How to...


"Michelle has been a fantastic help in finding my new role in Switzerland. Our calls and meetings...


"John is an excellent Recruitment Manager. He is extremely professional and always available to...


"I've worked with Paul both as a client as well as a candidate. As a client he worked tirelessly...


"I want to take the opportunity to thank Michelle and Sian for helping me during my period...


"Having not been actively seeking job opportunities in the past 10 years while working for a US...


"I have worked with Paul and his team recently as a candidate, and I received an exceptional and...


"Thanks John for helping find my career path in recycling. After 33 years in coal mining, I...


"I recently worked with Michelle to find a new position and it was a real success. Michelle got...


"Hannah recruited me for a new finance role during last month. The customer service experience...


"When the recruitment process started, one person from EMEA was assigned as my contact person. It...


"Michelle is an extremely professional, dedicated, experienced and helpful recruiter. She has...


 "I was looking for the next step forward in my career, and I found John to be a supportive,...


"I am very happy to share my topline regarding John. He is the most involved recruitment manager...


"I want to personally thank Izabela for having contacted me some months ago and enabling the...


"All in all, the recruitment process was very well coordinated. Hannah always provided the...


Paul handled my transition to my current position as Senior Director European Tax with Electronic...


Paul is an extremely professional, well-organized, and hard-working leader of his recruitment...


"My experience of working with Paul was exceptional. From initial contact until he...


"I want to thank Paul for all his support, professionalism and advice during the recruitment...


"I am really thankfull for Michelle's coaching and dedication and especially for her energy...


"I can warmly recommend Paul and EMEA Recruitment to anyone who wants to collaborate with a...


"John has tons of valuable information to share and is exceptionally committed to finding the...


"Michelle is a dynamic, not-for-profit recruitment professional taking on a big, new challenge in...


"I just wanted to thank Michelle for all her efforts and help during the job application and...


"It is with great pleasure that l take this opportunity to recommend Paul and his team. I...


"Michelle is eager to understand both the candidate's and customer's needs very well. I felt very...


"In my experience John Byrne provided me with the most professional consultancy I have had...


Richard is an excellent recruitment professional, and was responsible for finding me a placement...


"John provided first class support both during the interview process (I walked into that...


"John goes the extra mile to make sure the candidate and the recruiting company fit. Very...


"Paul is a great recruiting professional. He definitely helped me moving forward with my...


"Paul and his team have been an excellent support to our In-house Recruitment Team. They have...


"Meriel supported our recruitment for our Finance department. Meriel has been very effective...


"EMEA Recruitment, and Michelle in particular, was extremely professional in assisting me through...


"Paul was highly professional when dealing with him throughout my recruitment process. He ensured...


"Michelle proactively approached me for a job opportunity in the field I was working at the time....


"Michelle is a very professional person with strong work ethics. So she helped me to easily find...


"Michelle provided me with a very helpful career consultation and she put me in contact with...


"I would really recommend Meriel to assist anyone in finding a new job because of being...


"I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle Ewing to secure my next role. Michelle had a...


"I was very pleased with all the help I received with the process with EMEA. As someone who had...


"I can recommend Hannah because she helped me a lot with getting a new job. I was actually forced...


"It's been a great pleasure to work with Michelle as a candidate. I've particularly come to value...


"I was impressed with every step in the process, particularly with the meticulous preparation and...


"I had the pleasure of working with Hannah recently. She has the unique ability to adapt her deep...


"Michelle is an outstanding Recruitment Consultant, she was quickly able to decipher the key...


"Michelle positively differentiated herself from all other headhunters. Firstly by obtaining a...


"Hannah is a very experienced and knowledgeble HR specialist. She was very supportive and helpful...


"I really appreciate the contact with EMEA Recruitment and it is a great pleasure to recommend...


"Hannah is an excellent recruitment professional. In fact, the key aspect for me was her...


"I had the opportunity of working with Hannah during my career transition from Audit to...


"In my role as a candidate, Paul and his colleagues provided valuable coaching advice and...


"I worked with Meriel as she assisted me in a recruitment process, providing one of the best...


"Hannah was very helpful and found me a role that matches my experience, knowledge and my wishes...


"Hannah is by far the best recruiter I dealt with while trying to secure a role in Amsterdam...


"Hannah is an excellent professional. She successfully helped me with the next step in my career,...


Paul really listened and took on board everything I said, he gave a lot of sensible advice which...


Working with Paul was a great experience every step of the way. He made sure that I was well...


Paul is very dedicated in his work, he is gifted in both client and candidate partnering. From my...


I was approached by Richard regarding a specific opportunity with a business he was representing....


Paul was one the best headhunter I've worked with. He knew his clients really well. He would...


I got in contact with Paul and his company during an executive recruiting project. At the end of...


I work with Kelly who presented me several opportunities and helped me pro-actively in my job...


"Kelly has served me throughout late 2010 and early 2011 in targeting and obtaining interviews...


"Kelly of EMEA Recruitment contacted me regarding a Job opportunity within the same field as one...