Bucher Industries AG

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.