Considering every third car worldwide is fitted with sensors from a Swiss supplier, and 90 percent of all fans in public and private buildings bear the same company logo, then this company has obviously done a great deal right. Especially considering the fact that the relatively small Swiss company is able to stand up to competitors like Bosch, Texas Instruments or Honeywell, just as David did again Goliath. 22 years after being founded by employees of ETH Zurich, Sensirion AG has sold 750 million sensors worldwide to date. This has earned the company based in Stäfa (ZH) a nomination for the Switzerland Global Enterprise Export Award 2020, in recognition of its development into the global market and technology leader in the environmental sensors and flow measurement segment.
Versatile digital microsensors
“We mainly sell standardized products that can be adapted worldwide,” says Andrea Orzati, Vice President Sales & Marketing at Sensirion. Bespoke solutions are also developed for specific needs. The Doctor of Electrical Engineering stresses that customers “benefit from our unique wealth of experience and optimal service and support.” The digital microsensors and systems measure humidity and temperature as well as the concentration of various gases, CO2 and fine dust, liquids or air. They are used in the industrial, automotive, medical and consumer markets.
The company secured its impressive global market share tactically and intelligently. Right from the start, the aim was to achieve large volumes as quickly as possible. The company often went out on a limb with ambitious statements. “But thanks to a corporate culture based on fairness, honesty, cooperation and a commitment to excellence, we have always managed to keep our promises.”
In 2005, Sensirion opened its first sales agency in the USA. This was followed by offices in Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. In smaller markets like consumer electronics, Sensirion relies on cooperation with local distributors, which, according to Orzati, “means that our products will soon reach every corner of the globe.”
Sensirion meanwhile also produces in China and Korea. However, Sensirion generates 70 percent of its value creation at its headquarters in Stäfa - with an export share of 98 percent. Thanks to full automation, production costs are able to compete with those in Asia. At the same time, intensive research is being carried out at Lake Zurich. “The only way to remain competitive is through innovation and investment in new products and product lines - in sensors that can solve problems worldwide.” Thus, a good 20 percent of the turnover - in 2018 this amounted to 175 million Swiss francs - is invested in research and development each year. This is only possible with capable people, and in this respect, too, Switzerland as a business location offers benefits: “We value our proximity to ETH Zurich, universities and universities of applied sciences that train the top talents.” So Sensirion’s success is predestined, which, according to Orzati, is also reflected in the company’s down-to-earth mentality and cooperative approach. “We want to globalize these values for the benefit of our customers and all colleagues working for Sensirion abroad.”