Piping System Concepts and Sustainability Messaging for Georg Fischer
Email this case study to a friend
Creating a sustainable edge for industrial refrigeration
With 150 independent subsidiaries across the world, Swiss giant Georg-Fisher (GF) operates in three distinct business segments: automotive, piping, and electric discharging. Following a transformation workshop with IDEO, the piping arm of GF returned for a new engagement: To maintain its leadership role in sustainable refrigeration and guard against the entry of low-cost competitors to the market. GF asked IDEO for new product offerings that anticipate evolving regulatory trends and new ways to communicate the value of sustainable refrigeration.
IDEO created a six-week program to understand stakeholder needs, identify opportunities for innovation, and produce sketch-level concepts. In that time, IDEO reframed GF’s opportunities in the market to comprise not only better piping, but also improvements to supporting systems, including tools, training, supply and logistics, case studies, partnerships, and knowledge management.
The project included 24 stakeholder interviews with representatives of the EPA, polymer scientists, piping salesmen, distributors, installers, and repair technicians. Insights from the interviews revealed that GF already had a way to differentiate from low-cost competitors: through its sustainability offering. Refrigeration systems using GF piping reduce leakage of expensive, ozone-depleting refrigerants and have lower operating costs than competitive systems. As the recipient of a 14001 Environmental Management certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), GF has the credibility required to leverage its sustainable practices for greater value creation and differentiation.
IDEO generated a range of concepts to clarify and build upon GF’s areas of competitive advantage within sustainability, including seven engineering concepts for new pipe solutions. The outcome also included ways to update and refine GF’s messaging around its sustainability capability in order to reach key decision makers and potential clients.
Project date: 2007