All BERNINA sewing machines are developed, designed, prepared as prototypes and tested at the plant in Steckborn. Despite the strong Swiss Franc, Hanspeter Ueltschi, great-grandson of the company's founder, Karl Friedrich Gegauf, has no intention of leaving this production site. The mutual proximity of development, testing and assembly is fundamental to the quality of BERNINA products. Today, the top-of-the-line sewing machines as well as the longarm quilting machines are manufactured in the Steckborn plant and, from there, they are distributed across the world. In addition to the prototypes for the low and mid-price range sewing machines, parts for series production are also manufactured here. The chassis for the 8 series sewing machines are also made here. These production steps take place in the BERNINA Flextec department, where a wide range of presser feet and spare parts are also made.
Across the world, 1035 employees belong to the BERNINA family. Of these, 270 work in Steckborn (Product Management, Research & Development, Production, Sales, Marketing, HR, Finance and Executive Board). And employees also see themselves as members of the BERNINA family, because many have been working for BERNINA for 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years. Their many years of experience is brought to bear in the quality of the products.
In 2012, production in Steckborn was modernised and the building was refurbished to be more environmentally friendly. New ergonomic and clearly arranged work stations make work much easier.
BERNINA Thailand was founded in 1990. BERNINA Thailand produces the BERNINA sewing machines from entry level up to 7 Series, while BERNINA Switzerland still manufactures the top-of-the line machines B 880, Q 24 and Q 20. In addition to producing sewing machines for the low and mid-range price ranges, the CNC production centres for parts production and the hook competency centre are located here. BERNINA Thailand is also able to maintain the high Swiss quality standards because the plant is under Swiss management on site. Strict quality checks are carried out in the assembly line and in a sewing lab. BERNINA Thailand works with the same Quality Value System as BERNINA International in Steckborn. Direct contact with the headquarters is a priority, despite the large distances involved.
Although BERNINA strives to keep production costs in general low and thus to weather the global economic challenges of today, BERNINA has a policy of social responsibility towards its Thai employees. Pay is above the minimum wage and it was increased by 7 percent in 2012. In addition, BERNINA Thailand provides its employees with lunch and ensures a comfortable working environment through the use of air conditioning. A low staff turnover rate shows that the long-standing employees are satisfied with the conditions. Company owner Hanspeter Ueltschi decided to make Thailand a production location 20 years ago due to its political stability.