Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction

The needs of our customers determine our actions. As a market leader in radio frequency power and x-ray technology we serve a wide range of customers, from global market leaders to SMEs. Regardless of our customers’ size and business sector, we follow four basic principles in serving each one: Ask what problem really needs to be solved and why; inspire through our expertise; provide or co-create solutions with a clear benefit; and deliver what we promise, while saying early on when we cannot meet a need.

In order for us to deliver on these principles successfully, proximity and customer loyalty are crucial. Besides best-in-class products, a strong R&D organization, local presence with skilled sales and service teams in our key markets in Europe, North America and increasingly in Asia, another pillar supporting sustainable business relationships with our customers is our effective and efficient after-sales support.

We take every opportunity to stay in close contact with our customer base, in order to share ideas with customers and to understand and anticipate technological developments. This exchange takes place at various levels: in direct interactions between the account manager and the customer, in joint teams that solve specific problems, at trade shows where we can present innovations from our portfolio, or at trade conferences such as SEMICON West. During SEMICON West in July 2022, for example, our PCT division officially launched Synertia®, our new RF power delivery platform, in the presence of customers and media representatives. A large number of meetings with important customers followed the launch, and our interactions with them have shown us that we very much struck a chord. SEMICON West is also an important trade show for IXS to position itself more strongly in the semiconductor market and increase its visibility. At the event in July, IXS representatives had many conversations with customers about new areas of application and the need to educate about and prove the value x-ray can bring to the inspection of very complex chip structures. Other SEMICON trade shows in Europe, Korea, and Taiwan gave the local Comet representatives the opportunity to discuss our solutions for supporting our customers on their growth trajectory.

Product & Technology Leadership

Serving some of the most innovative customers, we manufacture products at the frontier of what is technologically feasible. With our forward-looking technologies, we strive to be the partner of choice to the most innovation-driven companies in our markets. And we work hard to defend and expand our technology and product leadership in order to remain among the leaders in our markets in the long term.

Product leadership is not defined by technology alone. Rather, achieving it is the result of implementing key strategic decisions such as gaining market leadership for selected products or focusing on standardized products (modular standardization). These strategic issues are regularly aligned with the Technology Committee of the Board of Directors.

To remain the product and technology leader in our markets, we invest between 11% and 13% of our sales in research and development each year. Using funds effectively and efficiently, we employ 297 people in R&D – or about 19% of our total workforce – with proven R&D specialists working at all organizational levels and in all functions.

We measure our targets in terms of market share, on which we collect and analyze data regularly based on internal and external sources. We use other key performance indicators to measure how successfully we sell newly launched products. With the exception of external market share data, these KPIs are presented to and discussed with the Executive Committee at quarterly business review meetings.

Product Impact

Our products can impact society and the environment in many ways. For society, our technologies play an essential role in the manufacturing of semiconductor chips and sensors that are the central building blocks of the digital world. And environmentally, the impact begins with the sourcing of raw materials and continues through the product use stage to the end of the product’s life cycle.

For Comet, assessing environmental impact is becoming more and more important. This is partly because customers are increasingly looking for products that have as little impact on the environment as possible, and partly because, going forward, we will give even greater weight to this aspect in the selection of our suppliers in order to improve our own environmental footprint.

In 2022, Comet held its first workshop on eco-design, with participants from all three divisions. By introducing the practice of eco-design at Comet, we will integrate environmental aspects into product design and development to minimize the environmental impact of our products throughout their life cycle. Eco-design has been defined as one of the ESG priorities for Comet in 2023; we are thus educating and training our staff on the concept and starting to work on selected use cases. This will improve our product development processes, in which we take great care to develop durable products that can adapt to new requirements and thus need to be replaced less often.

Product Quality & Compliance

The quality of our products and their conformity with all product-related regulations and directives are a fundamental element of our corporate culture and the basis for our business success. Our quality principles are an important argument for our customers. We are committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and services. Our products are competitive, defect-free, safe and environmentally compatible in their application and thus make a decisive contribution to the success of our customers. Therefore, we strive to avoid any risk that could compromise quality. In addition, we are committed to continuous improvement that starts with the planning of new products, activities and processes. Our management sets division- and site-specific quality objectives, provides the appropriate resources and structures and regularly reviews achievement. Internal audits, customer and certification audits, benchmarks and best practice applications help to continuously develop the quality management system.

The process responsibilities are mapped in the management system of the Comet Group. Essentially, product quality and conformity are defined by the divisions, with responsibility assumed by the division country general manager and accountability resting with the respective country general manager.

Operational Excellence

The Comet Group wants to become more efficient, more flexible, and faster. Our goal is to grow into a highly profitable company with CHF 1 billion in sales and clear market leadership in each of the markets we serve. A key lever in achieving this is the pooling of resources and strengthening of the organization. Focused on global collaboration, we will continue to improve business and operational excellence.

“Operational Excellence” is a process set out in the management system, which provides the framework for making Comet a sustainable, high-performing organization. The Group function Quality & Excellence is responsible for the management system, including the process framework and architecture. Within this framework, the following tasks, among others, fall into this area of responsibility:

Target achievement is monitored on the basis of defined KPIs such as the number of successfully implemented improvement projects, automated availability of the selected KPIs (for instance, cost of goods sold per unit produced, operations staff costs in percentage of net sales, and on-time delivery performance in filling customer orders), and the certification of all Comet sites to ISO 9001.

The Quality & Excellence Board acts as a committee for the person in charge of the Quality & Excellence group function. The Q&E Board supports the VP of Global Operational Excellence in implementing projects and initiatives in the divisions and corporate functions.

In 2022, we strengthened the Global Operational Excellence (“GOE”) department by combining existing functions – including Logistics, Trade Compliance, Real Estate, Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Management, among others – under the common umbrella of the Global Operational Excellence department. By forming this center of expertise for all matters relating to operational excellence, we will leverage our power as one company by optimally aligning our business activities worldwide and learning from each other.