Global Trends and Local Demands
At Sika, research and development are dictated by two main factors. The first of these relates to global trends driven by the principles of sustainable development, such as the demand for resource saving building methods, energy-efficient construction materials or lightweight vehicles. The second relates to the considerable adaptation of products necessary to meet local needs, which vary according to the particularities of the construction industry in different countries – e.g. with regard to raw materials, climate or legal framework. Accordingly, Sika’s research strategy has both centralized and decentralized components.
Technology Road Maps
The centralized elements of the research strategy are devolved to the subsidiary Sika Technology AG, which is responsible for long-term research programs, analytical services and research management. The long-term research programs are geared to the technology road maps governed by five megatrends. These are
- Population growth in the emerging countries
- Increasing urbanization
- Greater standardization
- Mounting shortages of natural resources
- Intensive environmental protection
Here, the identification of new products, alternative raw materials and new production methods is only one aspect. Equally important is the refinement of existing products or their introduction in new fields of application.
Corporate Expert Teams
Corporate expert teams play a crucial role in the management of research and development projects. These global teams include representatives from wide-ranging corporate functions, such as purchasing, development, fabrication, marketing and logistics. They ensure that the different perspectives are given due consideration in projects and they assume responsibility for implementation in the Regions and Business Units.
Regional Technology Centers
The regional components of Sika’s research strategy are entrusted to the eleven technology centers in America, Europe and Asia. These sites assume specific technology responsibilities and develop new products and applications independently. The technology centers also support the global market launch of their innovations. For this, they liaise closely with regional and local customer-oriented laboratories. This allows the swift adjustment of new products to local requirements. The Sika technology centers are also responsible for finding local raw materials so as to minimize production costs and maximize supply security.