I'm 15 miles northwest of Zurich and it's beautiful farmland
country. I guess it's appropriate to find Bucher Industries out
here since it's the world's largest maker of fodder harvesting
machinery. To be more precise I'm in Niederweningen, a town/village
of maybe 500 inhabitants. There's no much here and it's literally
the end of the line as it's the end point for one of the lines
in Zurich's subway system.
Bucher Industries, with revenues of $931 million and 5,700 employees,
has its hands in quite a few markets. It's the largest maker
of street sweepers in Europe, the world's largest builder of
container glass manufacturing plants, the world's largest builder
of fruit juice and wine products plants and, the world's largest
builder of refractory plants.
Finding Bucher is easy because other than a farm machinery dealership
and a restaurant, there isn't much here except for the large,
hard-to-miss Bucher factory complex.
The three-story head office building looks to have been built
in the 1960's and that's also the date I'd put on the no-frills
furnishings inside. As you can see from the scaffolding in the
accompanying picture there's work being done on the building.
It's an enjoyable visit thanks to the accommodating Alessandra
Della Chiesa, Secretary of Corporate Management. There's about
550 working in the factory with only 10 in corporate. It's mid-summer
and with most people on vacation it's deserted here.
Parking isn't a problem, there's no corporate art collection,
smoking is allowed if you have your own office, it's a 20 minute
drive to the nearest freeway, 30 minutes to Zurich Airport and
30 minutes to Zurich city center. Chiesa isn't keen on the fact
the train makes a run to Zurich only once an hour-though it's
an easy five-minute walk to the train station from here. Everyone
eats in the cafeteria, there're no recreational facilities and
cyclists have covered parking for their bikes.
The company has deep roots to Niederweningen, having been founded
here back in 1807 on this same site. Here's some trivia: there's
a creek running through Bucher's property and it's the dividing
line between two cantons. Switzerland is divided into 26 cantons.
Also, it's the first time I've come across two siblings working
together as secretaries in the same office as Chiesa works alongside
her younger sister.
The third floor boardroom isn't much to see as the boardroom
table consists of several tables pushed together. CEO Philip
Mosimann occupies a second floor corner office. I note the computer,
fake plant and view of the factory. Mosimann's a scuba diver
and that would explain the colorful picture hanging on a wall
of plant life underwater.