With Swiss Made, Digitization, and Complete Solutions to Success

Interview with Stefan Matti, CEO and Owner of Leutenegger + Frei AG

Leutenegger + Frei Interior of a Pretreatment Plant
Interior of a pretreatment plant

In our exclusive interview with Stefan Matti, who, together with his wife Sandra, took over the reins of the Swiss manufacturer of industrial plants in 2023, with core competencies in the areas of surface technology and baking technology, we delve deeply into the core aspects of business success: Swiss Made quality, spirit of innovation, and a comprehensive customer package. The CEO and owner shares insights into the challenges and opportunities arising from digitization and the pursuit of sustainability, and how they are leveraging these for the benefit of their traditional company.

Wirtschaftsforum: Your company, Leutenegger + Frei AG, has a long and successful history. Could you tell us a little about how the company became what it is today?

Stefan Matti: Our company was founded in 1957 by Alois Leutenegger and Mr. Frei. Originally, we specialized in bakery technology, but through our expertise in thermodynamics, we later focused on powder coating. Since the 1970s, we have been developing and building powder coating plants. This development was crucial for our growth and our positioning as a leading force in our industry.

Stefan Matti, CEO and owner of Leutenegger + Frei AG
Stefan Matti, CEO and owner of Leutenegger + Frei AG

Wirtschaftsforum: You mentioned that your company had to overcome many challenges, such as the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting supply chain problems. How did you manage these challenges?

Stefan Matti: Indeed, these were challenging times, not just for us but for the entire industry. We focused on our core competencies and adapted our processes to be more flexible in responding to the changing market conditions. Our employees showed incredible flexibility and commitment, and we also invested in technologies that make us more resilient. An example of this is our L+F App, which allows our customers to communicate efficiently with us and receive quick support.

Leutenegger + Frei Powder Coating Plant L+F
Powder Coating Plant L+F
Leutenegger + Frei Powder Coating Oven L+F
Powder Coating Oven L+F

Wirtschaftsforum: Digitization seems to play an important role in your strategy. Can you tell us more about how technology advances your business?

Stefan Matti: Absolutely. Digitization is key to our success. In addition to the already mentioned L+F App, we use artificial intelligence to make our facilities smarter. This not only helps us address the skilled labor shortage but also improves the efficiency and quality of our solutions. We are constantly looking for innovative approaches to enhance our products and services and provide added value to our customers.

Wirtschaftsforum: Sustainability is another important issue of our time. How does Leutenegger + Frei AG handle it?

Stefan Matti: Sustainability is indeed a core concern for us. We are aware that our facilities have a significant energy demand, and therefore, we are intensely working on making them as efficient as possible. Our hybrid facility is one example of how we can flexibly respond to different energy sources to reduce the carbon footprint. Furthermore, we offer our customers energy consulting to support them in optimizing their processes.

Leutenegger + Frei - Pretreatment plant for cleaning steel and aluminum parts
Pretreatment plant for cleaning steel and aluminum parts
Leutenegger + Frei - Pretreatment Plant Under Construction at the Customer's Site
Pretreatment plant under construction at the customer's site

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Matti, what USPs differentiate Leutenegger + Frei from its competitors in the market?

Stefan Matti: Our USPs are diverse and reflect the values we hold high as a company. First, there is the 'Swiss Made' quality seal, which for us is not just a label, but a promise to our customers. It stands for punctuality, reliability, and excellent quality, values that are decisive in our industry. Another important point is that we offer our customers a complete package. This means we do not just deliver the system itself, but also integrate our own transport system. This is an aspect many of our competitors do not offer. The integration of such systems is crucial, as interfaces in projects often represent a big issue and potential sources of error. By addressing this challenge, we provide our clients added value in the form of a single point of contact, especially during the operation of the facility, which goes far beyond the actual product itself.

Wirtschaftsforum: In conclusion, Mr. Matti, what are the next steps for Leutenegger + Frei AG? Where do you see the company in the future?

Stefan Matti: We are at an exciting point in our history. With the new ownership and leadership team, we plan to further expand our business and move into new markets. Our goal is to be perceived not only as a provider of high-quality installations but as a total solutions provider. Our focus continues to be on quality, flexibility, and innovation. We want to ensure that we can always offer our customers the best and most efficient solutions.