Thinking big, starting with the smallest precision tool. Our recipe for excellence. Sandro Grisoni, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ideal-tek SA
Ideal-tek: Combining Modern Technology with Craftsmanship
Based in Ticino, Switzerland, Ideal-tek manufactures precision tools such as tweezers, micro forceps, and cutters. The company's owner, Sandro Grisoni, aims to grow Ideal-tek’s presence as a key global player in the industry – through state-of-the-art technology combined with human craftsmanship and intuitive business strategies.
The hum of the machines in the production hall is only just audible from behind the glass screens. In the various manufacturing cells, dozens of people sit at workstations, each equipped with the necessary tools to complete their work. Most of the people are wearing hearing protection. Their concentration is almost palpable. This is a place of precision, and passion for detail is what sets Ideal-tek apart from other manufacturers of precision hand tools. Every single product – from tweezers to forceps – is examined by hand under magnification down to the hundredths of millimeter. "This is where our philosophy can truly be seen," says the company's owner Sandro Grisoni. "Modern technology is combined with human sensitivity and craftsmanship."
Driven by Curiosity and Passion
Sandro Grisoni is a dyamic and easy going man. Throughout our interview, he repeatedly pushes his dark hair away from his forehead. He is the Roger Federer type: charming, friendly and always professional. He greets his staff with a smile as they pass him by. "I'm a firm believer that people are key in making sure that each and every business project works," he says. This is why he invests a lot in long-term relationships with his employees: "My aim is for them to stay until they retire," he adds. Ideal-tek has been investing a lot in research and development since the 1990s. In 1994, it was the first company in its industry to be awarded ISO 9001 certification, with ISO 13485 following in 2017. The company continuously reviews its products and processes, which leads to ongoing developments in the composition and organization of the team. "I can count myself lucky that we are all curious and passionate people with technical and transferable skills, as this enables us to respond quickly and flexibly to the changing requirements of the market."
Crisis when Passing on the Baton
The company has its headquarters in Balerna, on the southernmost tip of Switzerland right on the border with Italy, and has 70 employees. It was in Balerna in 1964 that Sandro's father founded the company with a friend. At that point, Sandro had not yet entered the world, but he does remember that his father, Franco, was not often at home during his childhood – he was passionately producing and selling precision tools for the electronic and micro-assembly industries. Business was good.
Sandro Grisoni says that he never thought that he would one day take over the business, but in 2001, he did. However, he did not get off to an easy start: "I took over the management of the company on September 11, which coincided with the terror attack on the World Trade Center." Ideal-tek was not left unscathed by this event or by the economic crisis that followed. Right from the outset, Sandro Grisoni had to learn what it means to overcome a business low point. "Fortunately, my father and I were able to discuss and resolve even the most sensitive of issues in a relatively calm manner," Sandro Grisoni recollects. He sees the two years that they worked together as a time of enrichment.
Increasing Brand Awareness
Sandro used the crisis to tap into new markets and thereby minimize risk. Numerous other precision tools were added to the range. Today he sees great potential in the medical device market. Since the company's beginnings, its core business has been in the production of tweezers and precision forceps that are not only made from stainless steel and other metal alloys but also from plastics and ceramics, in order to meet all market requirements. Today Ideal-tek supplies distributors in 45 countries. And the company is not stopping here: "There is still excellent potential for growth. Our goal is to continue to grow our position as a key player in the global precision tool industry." The CEO now wants to focus primarily on increasing brand awareness. "We want to convey the values that have set us apart for the last 54 years: courtesy, transparency and professionalism." These three characteristics form the basis of his pride and satisfaction.
Global Presence as an Invaluable Quality
To enjoy international success, it is vital to have knowledge of how the markets and economies outside of Switzerland work. Sandro Grisoni is aware of this, which is why he consciously relies on Credit Suisse – and always has. "Its global presence is invaluable for me." Credit Suisse stands by his side whenever there is a problem, for example when there is an issue with a business transaction abroad.
Development Continues Apace
Even during organizational transition periods, for example in 2016 when the company relocated to a larger building, Credit Suisse has supported Sandro Grisoni in key areas such as financing and the purchase of new property. "A fundamental investment for our growth and for our further development." Grisoni hopes to continue working on this in the years to come, with his products remaining at the same high quality. "We work with and for people who see precision, reliability, and excellence as being of prime importance. And not only in relation to our work, but also our relationships with each other on a human level. This is why transparency and fulfilling our promises are our primary concerns," emphasizes the father of this corporate family. He then quickly packs his backpack and hurries down the stairs to the parking lot, where he swings himself onto his electric bike and raises his hand in farewell. He must hurry: On this sunny Friday evening, his employees are waiting for him at a team sporting event.
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