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“Automation and flexibility are in demand.”

Steffisburg-based Rychiger AG is one of the world’s leading providers of packaging machine solutions. Timo Weiss, Foreign Trade Manager, answers our questions on the challenges posed by logistics and digitalisation.

Mr Weiss, your job as Foreign Trade Manager is to ensure day in, day out, that Rychiger’s products are exported across the world. What are the biggest challenges here?

The biggest challenges that I’m responsible for are tax and customs law issues. Constantly, I keep having to ask myself, “What legal requirements in the destination country are going to affect me?” For instance, how I deal with contracts, what customs documents are required on the import side, what the situation is regarding triangular transactions, and so on. Familiarity with the various cultures is also important. I can’t communicate with a Japanese business partner in the same way as I would with someone from the US. A good business relationship lives or dies on whether everyone involved understands how things work.

Digitalisation is a very exciting area, not least for B2B companies. What does digitalisation mean for Rychiger and how is it impacting on your work? 

A key priority for us at the moment is an electronic filing/archive system, whether this is for managing export files, filing the “eVV Import” for electronic tax assessment decisions, or even handling requests from other departments. We introduced a system for the “eVV Import” back in November 2016, so that we could have a working digital version in 2017. All Swiss companies will have to have a digital archive by spring of next year. As the benefits it offers are considerable, we decided to migrate our system earlier than that. We put the digital file management for our export business on the back. Rychiger AG has also already begun a project for end-to-end document management. So we’ve got various projects under way that are focused on digitalisation.

What new technologies is your company already using to optimise its supply chains?

We are keen to introduce a digital make-ready process using scanners in the near future. We want to become more efficient in this area and thus increase the make-ready quality of the parts we ship.

What do you expect from your transport and logistics providers in terms of digital working methods? And where do suppliers still need to make significant improvements? 

I’m very satisfied with the approach our logistics providers take to their work. However, I’ve realised that many steps are still done manually. I’d prefer it, if these processes could be automated, although that mustn’t be at the expense of flexibility.

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Rychiger AG is one of the world’s leading suppliers of packaging machine solutions in the coffee and tea, retortable packaging and healthcare industries. Its machines for filling and sealing portion packs of aluminium and barrier materials are based on decades of experience and state-of-the-art technology. Founded in 1918, the company is based in Steffisburg, Switzerland. www.rychiger.ch

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