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IWC Schaffhausen Manufacturing Center awarded renowned industry prize

IWC Schaffhausen has won the GEO Award (Global Excellence in Operations) in its first-ever entry into the industry competition “Factory of the Year”. The prize is one of the most desirable awards for European companies and attests to the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer’s outstanding operational excellence across the entire value-added chain. But the strong performances of IWC in the areas of quality and sustainability have also been recognised by the jurors.

Perfect quality can only be achieved by excellence on all levels: The very highest performance is  required in innovation, development  and  design, but  above all in terms of various production processes, so that every individual timepiece from IWC fulfils the strictest requirements for quality, reliability and long service life. In 2018, IWC consolidated the production of movement parts, movement assembly and case-making in a new Manufacturing Center. Now the transparently structured watchmaking company, in which IWC combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest production methods and technologies, has been awarded with the GEO Award (Global Excellence in Operations) at the industry competition “Factory of the Year”.

“For over ten years, we have been addressing the subject of operational excellence as part of various strategic programmes and have since then been able to achieve far-reaching improvements across the entire value-added chain. In the areas of quality, service and sustainability, in particular, we have achieved huge successes in doing so. The fact that we were able to win the major accolade of the GEO Award the very first time we took part in the competition is a great affirmation of our work, but at the same time is a great motivation for continuing to work on the ongoing improvement of our processes and products. We want to ensure absolutely perfect quality, so that our mechanical timepieces delight their owners for an entire lifetime,” explains Andreas Voll, COO of IWC Schaffhausen.

The operations specialists of IWC have developed a new production layout for the new Manufacturing Center, which illustrates the value stream from the raw material to the finished movement or case in a closely coordinated process. Comprehensive lean principles were taken into account here, which are above all targeted at the avoidance of mistakes, short throughput times and high quality. The shop floor areas, in which employees regularly meet and exchange information, also contribute to the constant improvement of the processes.

The competition’s jurors particularly recognised the efforts with which IWC improves the quality of its products and increases sustainability in production. Examples mentioned included the use of advanced techniques for data analysis. From the production of a product and all test steps right up to service and customer feedback, comprehensive data on quality is collected and evaluated at IWC. The findings from this regularly feed into the improvement of processes. IWC’s performance in the area of sustainability was also particularly highlighted – for example, energy efficiency in production, the avoidance of waste and the “Great Place to Work” certification as an employer.

The industry competition “Factory of the Year” has been held since 1992 and aims to honour the outstanding achievements of manufacturing companies. The joint initiative of the Kearney consulting firm, SV Veranstaltungen and the industry magazine “Produktion” is one of the most renowned prizes for industrial companies in Europe. Past winners have included Mercedes-AMG, Procter & Gamble Crailsheim, MAN, Bosch, ABB and Infineon.

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After graduating in journalism and communication, Nina has worked as a copywriter for watchmaking brands and editorial agencies for the past 15 years. At The Next Hour, she researches, writes and creates engaging content for various channels (digital, video, and social media).