Hilti New Zealand senior leadership tour Newmarket Innovation Precinct

On 22 August, the Faculty of Engineering welcomed representatives from Hilti to its Newmarket Innovation Campus to acknowledge the commitment that began with a co-location agreement earlier this year.

Dean of Engineering Professor Nic Smith and Professor Jason Ingham gave an introduction and overview of the faculty’s research strengths. Managing Director of Hilti NZ Alistair Dickie spoke next, introducing attendees to the elements that make up Hilti’s identity and outlining how the company continues to evolve.

“We have four building blocks,” Alistair explained. “Product leadership, direct customer relationships, operational excellence and a high-performing team.”

“We have a very simple strategy of sustainable value creation. Everything we manufacture or invest in has to reinforce that leadership position.”

Before a tour of the various facilities located around the Newmarket campus, the team from Hilti were presented with a showcase from some of our leading researchers. These included Professor Ken Elwood, Associate Professor Charles Clifton, Professor Pierre Quenneville and Dr Vicente Gonzalez from the Department of Civil Engineering, Professor Simon Bickerton from Mechanical Engineering and Professor Bruce Macdonald from Electrical and Computer Engineering.

As part of the co-location arrangement, Hilti is undertaking a number of projects alongside researchers based at the Newmarket Campus. A major theme of these research collaborations is to address shortcomings in the New Zealand building code around the installation of Hollowcore precast concrete slabs and building elements.

Hilti has recognised the high calibre of civil structures and seismic research expertise based at the Newmarket Innovation Precinct, which is resulting in significant sums being invested by this industry-leading multinational company into local research. Outcomes like this have aligned with the government’s agenda for the last decade and are now coming to fruition here at the University of Auckland.

Other benefits from the partnership include recruitment opportunities for Engineering graduates. Alistair is committed to supporting the University to train industry-ready graduates and offering great career paths into Hilti Global. This aligns with Hilti’s global recruiting strategy, which focuses on hiring the best talent from the market, and building a solid foundation for its caring and performance-oriented culture.

Hilti also has a strong commitment to research and development. Alistair discussed how approximately 6 per cent of all sales is directed back into R&D spending at its innovation hub in Lichtenstein and through other university partnerships. The next major innovations Hilti is working on focus on using Internet of Things technology to improve their service offerings and an investigation into robotics, aligning with key areas of expertise here.

While the co-location agreement between Hilti and the Faculty of Engineering is still in its early stages, this visit was an opportunity for both parties to reaffirm their commitment and communicate what they can offer each other.