Every day, more than two billion people around the world consume foods made with Bühler processes and more than one billion people’s mobility relies on Bühler technology. In fact, 65 per cent of global grain and 30 per cent of global rice and pulse production is processed on Bühler machinery.
A whopping 75 per cent of global malt processing uses Bühler solutions. What’s more, Bühler innovative technologies are in our smartphones, our solar panels and the cars we drive. In short, Bühler touches most of our lives in some way each day.
The Bühler story
Founded in 1860, Bühler Group is a Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer and a fifth-generation family business. With more than 160 years of corporate history, it has been in the Asia region for 46 years and has grown a strong footprint with a loyal customer base.
Today, Bühler Asia–Pacific contributes more than 30 per cent of the Group’s global revenue from its manufacturing sites and innovation labs, and is strategically positioned as an innovative and transformational market leader.
Its diverse business scope is spread over three divisions: grains and food, consumer foods, and advanced materials, which includes e-mobility such as die-casting technologies.
As President of Bühler Group Asia, David Wang is responsible for the Asia–Pacific region, including China, South-East Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Following a career spanning 30 years at PepsiCo, Dover Corporation, SPX Corporation and Blackstone, David joined Bühler in 2018. It was an instant attraction.
“It’s a fantastic organisation with a great passion for serving customers and improving their operational performance,” he says. “What really drew me in were three key things. First, Bühler has a compelling legacy and an impressive reputation in the industry. Secondly, I have a passion for technology and innovation, and Bühler has a strong emphasis on both. Annually, Bühler invests five per cent of its business turnover into innovation.
“Lastly, I see many opportunities in Bühler. The company is regional leader in Asia–Pacific, and while there’s great work being done, there’s still opportunities to grow our business to the next level. Given the competitiveness and reputation that we have and the solutions we’re offering, there’s huge potential going forward.”
Worldwide, Bühler Group has annual net income of CHF3.3 billion (US$3.6 billion), employing about 13,000 employees and operating over six regions: Asia, North America, South America, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East and Africa. Asia–Pacific is the Group’s largest and fastest-growing region worldwide.
“Asia is a wellestablished centre of competency and we’re deeply rooted in the region,” David says. “Globally, we’re considered a major hub for Bühler. We have full-scale manufacturing and value supply chains, technology innovation centres, service centres and commercial sales marketing centres. We have more than 4,290 employees, 43 legal entities and business companies, eight manufacturing sites, nine technology application centres and 30 service stations. We have a very strong footprint in the region.”
Given the competitiveness and reputation that we have and the solutions we’re offering, there’s huge potential going forward.
“We’ve asked ourselves how we can use ‘service’ to help customers and how they use our products,” David shares. “Customers may invest in a Bühler solution with its stateof-the-art technology, but the question is how do we help customers to run them well?
Are they achieving the best operational efficiency and effectiveness? That’s our goal, and how can Bühler help customers achieve that?” The 2025 strategy for Bühler Asia-Pacific has ‘service’ as one of its key major focuses, transforming the business from product-centric to both product and service oriented for the full life-cycle service of a Bühler solution.
“We want our team to understand customers better and what they really need. Sometimes, they don’t know what they need and you have to help them,” David says. “Customer satisfaction is critical and we need be more proactive.
“We have an opportunity to transform ourselves and expand the service capability of Bühler in Asia from productcentric to a service-oriented and focused solution provider.”
“Innovations for a better world” is Bühler’s battle cry. The company continually adds value and creates impact through constant innovation and creating data-driven solutions and services. The 2025 strategic priority for Bühler Asia-Pacific is digitalisation and innovation.
“Innovation drives our future. That’s our vision,” David says. “Our innovation centres around many aspects; food technologies such as food safety, transparency and traceability, and future food as an alternative source of protein. Digital has been an important critical focus in Bühler innovation and we have certainly been putting tremendous effort into driving our technology journey, including digitalisation, IoT, AI, big data and so on.”
With a projected global population of 10 billion people needing to be fed and transported by 2050, Bühler Group has been working with partners to develop protein sources that require less water, space and energy to grow.
“We’re building a stronger innovation capability in the region on a number of important topics such as digital, plant-based proteins and value nutrition,” David reveals.
“Plant-based proteins, which we call future food, are becoming very important alternatives. We’re looking at how we can improve the food and agri-food supply chain and by doing so, improve our nutrition and health.”
Building up an ecosystem is vital to ensure and enable innovation success, so Bühler is connecting with universities and academia to collaborate and accelerate innovations. “We’re tapping into different intelligence from the market to advance our innovation program,” David explains.
“We’re developing our partnership with academia, universities, researchers, scientists as well as accelerators, incubators and startups. “It’s important to collaborate on areas of the ecosystem we need to establish, and work together to drive innovation advancement. With our university relationships, we also offer an intern program to help students understand what an engineering business looks like.”
But innovation isn’t limited to value chain partners. Bühler’s sustainability vision is to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in energy and water consumption as well as food wastage in its processes.
The company’s Innovation Challenge 160 initiative is motivating every employee to think about innovative ideas for energy reduction and waste- and water-utilisation control. For David the goal is simple.
“We want there to be enough food while reducing food waste and preserving resources such as energy and water,” he says. Bühler Asia–Pacific has set up a strategic sourcing team to regulate sourcing processes and enhance efficiency, optimising the supply chain. In the next five years, it envisages updating and restructuring more than 50 per cent of its existing partnerships.
“We’re working on transforming the supply chain into our value-added partners by classifying them into critical, bottleneck and strategic categories, and working closely together moving forwards,” David says. “When Bühler grows, we create growth for our partners.”
The culture of Bühler Asia–Pacific is underpinned by the concept of TOP: trust, ownership and passion. “As a company – as peers and as colleagues – we want to ensure we understand and trust each other. We partner together to deliver the best we can in terms of job success, innovation and delivering customer satisfaction,” David says.
We’re tapping into different intelligence from the market to advance our innovation program.
“The environment, health and safety will always be the number one priority, and we’ve introduced a number of safety programs and protocols to drive the safety culture.” When it comes to people and culture, finding and keeping the right people is a key focus.
“There’s nothing that can’t be worked out with good talent and a good team working together,” David says. “Talent attraction, empowerment and retention remain the foundation of our company. We have fantastic employees. People who work for Bühler love Bühler, so there’s a very low turnover rate.
“I’m a big believer that everybody has talent so we help our employees to be high performers. And, although we have many long-serving employees, it’s important to bring in new people when you need a new skill set. It’s good for existing employees, as working together generates better performance.”
For David, to be a successful leader, you need to know how to work with people, respect them and bring out the best in them. “It’s about how you can bring people together and make them perform better,” he explains.
“Continuous learning is important for me personally and for my team. Whether it’s meeting customers or looking at new technologies and innovations, you learn new things every day.” David couldn’t be prouder with how the company has managed throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“Everyone has been doing a phenomenal job. With a high sense of urgency at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak early in 2020, the organisation responded quickly with initiatives to handle the crisis with safety the top priority,” David reflects.
“Incredibly, our China business has delivered 25 per cent growth over last year, which makes me so proud. This year may be a record year in Bühler China history.”
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