GWF MessSysteme AG was founded in 1899 at the current location in Lucerne. Initially, GWF produced gas meters and was only active in the field of "gas measurement and control". This is a business area that is still very important today. Over the decades, GWF has positioned itself in numerous other business areas. Today, it specializes in the collection, communication and interpretation of consumption data for electricity, gas, heating and cooling, as well as water and wastewater.
The customers are utilities, industrial companies, the public sector, property managers and installers. The company works in long-term partnerships with other manufacturers and leading system integrators for whom it produces high-quality measurement and data systems as well as mechatronic and electronic system components. Internationally, GWF is particularly active in the field of water and wastewater with its high-quality measuring instruments.
What challenges do you face with these issues?
Accurate measurement of valuable resources is becoming increasingly important. The topic of water in particular is increasingly moving up the political agenda. Our challenge as a quality provider is certainly to explain topics such as "total cost of ownership" and "operational reliability" to decision-makers and to develop business models that are sustainable and make economic sense for all sides.
What are the most important export markets and opportunities for your company? And why?
Wherever water and wastewater should be managed, climate change is becoming visible and megatrends such as urbanization are spreading - in fact, everywhere. As an SME, we naturally need to focus and have therefore defined the UK, Poland and neighboring countries, as well as North America, as our own markets. However, we cover numerous other countries and regions with our distribution partners and are also constantly on the lookout for new partnerships.
What help can we (S-GE) give to companies to help them become more circular in their international business'?
Basically, there are excellent programs on sustainability and circular economy. For example, the UN Global Compact. I find it surprising that only just over 200 Swiss companies belong to this valuable international initiative. S-GE could certainly act as a "matchmaker" here and make the topic of sustainability an export hit for Switzerland.
What (positive or negative) surprises have you already encountered in export?
The cultural differences certainly always provide surprises. The trick is to adapt to local conditions without losing your own DNA. In the beginning, this sometimes proves difficult, despite all the experience. We have had the best experience with local, well-connected partners, who manage to translate our typically Swiss traits and help us to categorize local customs. In addition, of course, there are some "learning experiences" with delayed projects - you simply need staying power and some willingness to take risks, but above all - and this probably applies even more to SMEs - lived and reliable partnerships.
A positive aspect is, of course, the impact that we achieve with our products even in distant countries. For example, our measurement systems make a significant contribution to the water and wastewater management of numerous international cities and companies.
How do you see collaboration with organizations like S-GE, why is it worthwhile?
S-GE helps us to better assess market opportunities and actively assists in identifying potential partners. In addition, S-GE also networks Swiss companies - this is a helpful and good exchange of experience.