The American family-owned company Hamilton is the world leader in medtech, sensor technology and laboratory automation. Since 1968, it has been operating its product development and production in Bonaduz in the canton of Grisons, and manages sales for Europe, Asia and Africa from there. The company has grown rapidly in recent years, and has moved into a new building at Vial industrial park in Domat/Ems, the largest industrial zone in the canton of Grisons.
In an interview with us, Andreas Wieland, CEO of Hamilton, talks about the advantages of the industrial location of Grisons, Switzerland.
Hamilton produces in Switzerland, more precisely in the canton of Grisons. How did this happen?
First of all, the most important thing was to understand that you can produce in Grisons. The shareholders opted for Grisons and then we came here. In Grisons, we have the big advantage that we have very good staff. We are a high-tech company and extremely innovative: every year we register around 100 patents. For this reason, it’s very easy for us to find people – last year we received about 4.500 applications. Our staff is either from the area or plan on moving here. Of course, we also recruit globally and engage in intensive employer branding. Many young people like to come because of the high quality of life and the outdoor opportunities that the canton of Grisons has to offer.
For us, it pays off to produce in Switzerland, because we produce products that meet the high-tech standard.
Switzerland is often considered expensive, yet you have decided to relocate part of your production here from other countries. Why?
For us, it pays off to produce in Switzerland, because we produce products that meet the high-tech standard. Automation, which is at a very high level in Switzerland, makes this standard easier to attain.
You also train apprentices – your professionals excel at the Swiss professional championships on a regular basis. Does your company benefit from Switzerland’s dual education system?
I think the dual education system is excellent. We have a lot of people here with us who do an apprenticeship, gaining practical experience, and then go on to study subjects like engineering, or something else. This results in a very good and valuable combination for the job market.
What makes Switzerland particularly attractive as a location for companies in the life science and medtech sector?
Its innovative strength is certainly an advantage. Another plus is the proximity of the big pharmaceutical companies, like those in Basel, of course. Those are our customers, and they also drive our innovation. We work very closely with them. Switzerland has a good microclimate for life science companies. We also work very closely with research institutes, such as ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich, the university hospital and the universities of applied sciences. There, we have access to knowledge that we do not have ourselves.
What do you value most about Switzerland as an industrial location?
A lot. On the one hand, it’s the very good staff that we can recruit. On the other hand, it’s also the capital at favorable terms that we have access to in Switzerland. Above all, this drives innovation and automation forward. The third aspect is the very good tax system in this region.
What do you personally value about working in the canton of Grisons?
The Swiss are very straightforward, and the authorities help us rather than standing in our way. In Switzerland, for example, putting up a new building is much easier than in other countries, and I have a direct comparison. The liberal labor laws are also a positive factor – and the education system: The people here are really good and committed.
Would you say that the proximity of public authorities makes the canton of Grisons special as a place of work?
That is indeed the case. In Grisons, there really are no obstacles. When I need something, I discuss it directly with the government. First, this is very fast, and second, very unbureaucratic. I consider this proximity and mutual understanding to be very positive.