New management consulting firm founders have local, international ties

Two local business leaders are teaming up to launch a management consulting firm for small and mid-size advanced manufacturing companies.

Yannick Schilly, the former COO of advanced automation technology company Festo, and Anne Cappel, the former executive director of the European American Chamber of Commerce, are basing Altix Consulting at 5155 Financial Way in the City of Mason’s Tech Elevator. There they will offer counsel in technology and innovation, global business strategy and operational performance “to help companies navigate increasingly complex environments while accelerating their performance and profitability.”

The consulting firm will focus on helping manufacturing companies in Europe, the United States and Asia with “an appetite for international business” — and revenue between $10 million and as much as $500 million.

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Schilly, who amassed a 25-year career in production, engineering and executive management at Festo, said he met Cappel a little more than four years ago during his first month in the Cincinnati area. He said he quickly became an advocate for the chamber and an adviser to Cappel when she sought to launch a business of her own, one aimed at helping companies grow rather than manage it on their own. Schilly, after some soul searching, said he realized he wanted to do the same thing

“I was very intrigued about entrepreneurship for the past 20 years, but I realized that before starting any entrepreneurial career you have to build an expertise and some strong knowledge about the industry and the global economic dynamics,” Schilly said.

Schilly and Cappel are French natives who spent their careers building trans-Atlantic partnerships and supporting international commerce across a number of industries. They offer more than 50 years combined experience in numerous countries and across three continents, as well as complementary skill sets and global network of industry and business experts.

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Schilly, who was educated in France and Germany based on the German Dual Education concept, earned a degree in industrial engineering, business and management, as well as an MBA in general management and global business. He started his career with German-based Festo, where he managed industrial engineering at the corporation’s Global Production Centre for 15 years. He then spent five years in China, managing and growing operations through the post-mergers and acquisition integration of a Chinese company.

Schilly’s work in Europe and China spanned functions including production management, industrial engineering, new product development, logistics and supply chain, and sales and operations across multiple industry sectors, such as automotive, food and beverage, printing and packaging, automation and robotics, electronics and machine builders. In his most recent role as Festo’s chief operating officer, Schilly led the construction of the company’s $60-million, 200,000-square-foot smart factory in Mason and the relocation of North American supply chain operations from the East Coast to Ohio.

Cappel, a co-founder of the European American Chamber of Commerce in 2003, served as a board member and board director before leaving her company to become the chamber’s executive director in 2008.

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Altix Consulting will support clients navigate their day-to-day challenges, including a global business climate and technological environment that continues to innovate and grow rapidly.

“That’s something that coming from the expertise of Yannick coming from Festo being one of the world-leading companies in technology and innovation and being able to have this in the Midwest of the U.S. and bring that expertise to the companies that are here, whether they’re U.S.-based companies or whether they are foreign-owned companies coming to the U.S. market and choosing the Midwest either as a launching place or as one of their manufacturing environments,” Cappel said. “The operational excellence in terms of competing globally on very, very complex operation and complexity of global supply chain, it’s pretty unique what we bring for those types of companies and specifically in this region.”

Expansive knowledge and experience across all aspects of manufacturing operations are one part of what Schilly and Cappel said make them such a valuable asset to international manufacturers looking to manage growth.

“We understand these different cultures in Europe, the different languages, so it’s easier for us to support French or German companies when they enter the American market, but it’s also easier for us to support American companies if they are interested in the European market,” Schilly said. “We can help them to launch and grow their countries successfully in France and Germany but also certainly beyond that, understanding the Benelux region, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, or Italy, Spain and the Scandinavias. We have a lot of expertise to bring to the table and we are excited about this new venture.”

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As for the company’s name: Altix is derived from a Latin word meaning “elevation” or “altitude” and each letter of the word has meaning, Schilly said. “A” stands for “acceleration” and “advanced manufacturing,” while the “l” stands for “latitude in bandwith of services the company can offer.” The “t” stands for “technology,” the “i” for innovation and the “x” is the mathematical unknown in an equation.

“That’s where we come in as strategy consultants and operational excellence consultants helping our partners and clients solve their own business equation,” Schilly said.

Mason Tech Elevator space offers everything Altix Consulting needs to grow in the coming months in terms of office space and meeting facilities, he said. The company will highlight that space toward the end of the month at a launch event set to include industry leaders, government officials and economic development organizations.

“At Festo, Yannick was an early and strategic partner with the city, not only growing the company’s Mason-based Regional Service and Manufacturing Center, but also making significant investments in our schools and community,” said Michele Blair, Mason’s economic development director. “We’re excited to welcome Altix Consulting to the Mason Tech Elevator and to collaborate with Yannick and Anne in new ways to expand manufacturing within our startup and innovation sector.”

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