Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HILTI passionately creates enthusiastic customers to build a better future!

By Connie Harryman, Applied Concepts Creativity
Guest Blogger IIR USA

LIVE Front End of Innovation Europe 2010

Speaker: Dr. Andreas Bong, Senior Vice President, HILTI

Topic: Customer Orientation Throughout the Innovation Process

The focus is on the front end of innovation.


• Innovation management
• Customer integration
o Fuzzy front end
o Development

You cannot duplicate what they have done at HILTI. They use a direct sales model with only 30 people selling to their customers. HILTI is about cultural diversity and this fosters creativity and the outcome of innovation. Their employees include more than 50 nationalities.

HILTI has a worldwide presence for construction professionals worldwide, they increase productivity, and provide the benefits from innovation to generate significant added value. They are known for system solutions for professionals.

Sales development doubled the company in the last ten years. They invest 4% in R&D, 10% is done in applied research.

In the HILTI business model they have a common purpose and values. HILTI passionately creates enthusiastic customers to build a better future! The foundation of their culture is integrity, courage, teamwork and commitment. They put people first.

Business improvement, customer competence concentration, customer needs versus requirements, innovative and value adding solutions, management and support creates higher customer satisfaction and better bottom line results.

Innovation management at HILTI is integrated with a holistic view. They have normative innovation management, strategic innovation management, and operational innovation management.

The focus is on outside-in innovation. This is a contradiction as innovation. Horizon 2020 is the identification of future key technologies. They look in the crystal ball to determine global trends and predict construction trends. They generate various scenarios using “Construction 2020” to forecast HILTI relevant applications in 2020, and to create a HILTI relevant global technology roadmap.

They are driven by sustainability. HILTI identified trends by interviewing customers to come up with scenarios. This led to the creation of roadmaps. They learn to survive in each scenario, so they are prepared regardless of which trends or applications occur.

It is important to understand applications and customer needs. What is their value chain? What is their application chain? How do they operate?

HILTI uses science methodologies, work methods, work flow and task durations. There is cooperation and communication to review problems, errors, and identify opportunities for improvement.

By observing their customers at work, HILTI learns what their customers really need. They do this by using video. The customers who are observed forget they are being videotaped. They then behave normally in a brief amount of time. Think about this, 10% of total construction costs are caused by job site injuries. Return on sales of the average construction company is only 2-3%.

Dr. Bong then shows us several examples of innovation at HILTI. One involves the installation of cable trays. It is a solution that is low tech, with low competition, and with a high improvement potential that saves 15-20% of the total time needed. Another example is to replace a yardstick with a laser measurement.

Once you have an idea and a business plan, then go out to customers and ask for their acceptance of that solution.

Enthusiasm creates innovation! Innovation creates enthusiasm!

Key Points are:

1.) Employee satisfaction is the key driver for customer satisfaction.
2.) Understand your customer’s needs.
3.) Idea of scenarios, learn to survive in each scenario.
4.) Creating enthusiastic users is a very steep one.

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