Hilti supporting construction industry in flux
18 January 2023
Hilti intends to support the global construction industry as it has to become more productive, safe and sustainable. The tool manufacturer is increasingly focusing on software and robotics. A variety of locations are involved in the company’s production.
Jahangir Doongaji believes the construction industry is in a period of transition. “Building work must be more productive, safe and sustainable,” the new CEO of Hilti said at a press conference in Zurich on 17 January. “We will support our customers during this transition.”
The tool manufacturer from Schaan has identified potential in the flows and processes of construction companies. It is employing software ever more often, including independently of specific devices, and is already generating sales in the double-digit millions with ON!Track. The asset management software enables a company to manage all tools, equipment, materials and more, regardless of the manufacturer.
Hilti’s software development has also included acquisitions. At the end of 2021, it acquired Fieldwire, a San Francisco-based construction technology company, for US$300 million. According to Doongaji, other takeovers might follow. The software company aims to achieve sales in the “low triple-digit millions” by 2030.
Hilti is also actively working in the field of robotics, supported by its physical proximity to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH). The drilling robot Jaibot launched at the end of 2020 will make drilling more productive and safe. Robotics is not yet business, however.
For several years now, Hilti has also been moving away from the “global factory” approach, i.e. centralizing the production of certain tools in one place. It is consequently increasingly manufacturing in Mexico, Hungary and Vorarlberg in Austria, though China continues to be a key location. State-of-the-art tools will continue to be developed in Schaan and in Kaufering, Germany.
Hilti is working to gain new customer groups under Doongaji. While previously companies of 50 to 250 employees had been the focus, operators of major projects will also be targeted. Companies with less than 50 employees are to be served with digital sales methods.
Jahangir Doongaji studied mechanical engineering at the ETH. After starting his career at ABB, he joined Hilti in sales in the year 2000. He became member of the Executive board in 2014. In 2022, he conceived a new strategy for Hilti in collaboration with his predecessor Christoph Loos and a team of 300 employees. He has been CEO since 1 January of this year.