3 years ago

Day 5 - IFA International

  • Text
  • Products
  • Appliances
  • Gorenje
  • Berlin
  • Consumers
  • Consumer
  • Premium
  • Global
  • September
  • Retro


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Gorenje Focused on Driving Global Growth Franjo Bobinac, Gorenje's President and CEO, says the company is set to grow, backed by premium products Franjo Bobinac President and CEO, Gorenje OUR VISION – TO BECOME THE MOST DESIGN-DRIVEN INNOVATOR OF HOME APPLIANCES IN THE WORLD. What new products are you presenting at IFA? At this year's IFA Gorenje Group is presenting its two global brands Gorenje and Asko. Among our IFA heroes are the new generation of dishwashers, a special edition retro fridge, inspired by the design of the legendary Volkswagen minivan. We are also presenting Red Dotawarded steam ovens, gas hobs, built-in refrigerators and we are announcing the revamped Gorenje Ora-Ïto collection and for the first time also the Chef's Collection, a range of small domestic appliances. We are also presenting a range of exciting products under the ASKO brand at this year's IFA that focus on connectivity. Please tell us more about the expansion of your dishwasher production and distribution in Europe. The start of our production of dishwashers under the Gorenje brand represents an important addition to our portfolio. The SmartFlex dishwashers are a result of two and a half years of development. Gorenje invested €8m into the project, which also includes a new automated production line. We plan to manufacture up to 300,000 dishwashers annually by 2020 in Velenje, under the Gorenje and ASKO brands. How much do you put into R&D and what is your overall policy in this respect? Gorenje Group established its own development competence centres last year in the Netherlands, Sweden, the Czech Republic and in Slovenia with the aim of research and development of all product categories. They feature multicultural teams that also co-operate with international development and education institutions. Gorenje Group invests 3.1% of its annual revenue in development and aims to further increase this number. Our Strategic Plan 2016-2020 is summed up by the slogan G4: Gorenje Group Grows Global. Its driving force is the development of premium and innovative products and premium brands as these are expected to double and increase to 30% of the Group’s sales by 2020. What does the involvement of Panasonic in Gorenje bring to the fore? In 2013 we forged a strategic alliance with Panasonic, who have entered the ownership structure. In three years we have also expanded our strategic business cooperation to several business segments. Of course, we are thinking of ways to further increase our cooperation with Panasonic. We are learning from each other. We are learning from the Japanese, who in the field of electronics have some much more developed solutions compared to the European ones, and have also made greater advances regarding digitalisation. Gorenje, on the other hand, has the important advantage of having our own production facilities in Europe, supported by four of our own research & development competence centres in Sweden, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Slovenia. In addition, we are experts in European consumer trends and design. The partnership is undoubtedly good for Gorenje as well as for Panasonic and we anticipate many further benefits from it. Is there any chance of the Japanese group investing more heavily in Gorenje? Panasonic Corporation is currently performing due diligence on the Gorenje Group. These activities may or may not lead to Panasonic's decision to launch a bid to increase its shareholding in Gorenje, but no decision on entering into any transaction has yet been made. What makes your products unique? All the time we are searching for unique solutions that will set us apart from our competitors. In Gorenje Group we are heavily focusing, apart from sophisticated and at the same time user friendly technology, also on design, where we are and have been trendsetters for a number of years. Design is our passion, an important value and a part of our vision – to become the most design-driven innovator of home appliances in the world. What are your key aims at IFA? How important is this show for you as a platform to market your products globally? The great advantage of IFA is that it is focused on the consumer and that it presents a combination of home appliances and consumer electronics which in the digital era are gaining an increasingly important role in every home. At the same time home appliances are becoming connected into smart home solutions, therefore the combination of home appliances and consumer electronics is that much more relevant 16

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Connected Home Makes Progress Different consumer groups, different needs... but solutions for all Dr. Reinhard Zinkann, joint Managing Partner, Miele, says his company is looking to consolidate its position in the appliance market at IFA. His main areas of interest concern connectivity, changing trends and the increasingly important digital world. We’ve heard about the key trends in the home appliance industry and that Europe, in particular, is still quite strong in the major domestic appliance sector. What has been the biggest growth area within the kitchen sector as we go into 2016/17? The topic of coffee and espresso is an on-going trend; steam cooking and healthy cooking, keeping nutrients and having different tastes; and the design trend. Another trend is the digital combination of cooktop and cooker hood, where the cooker hood starts automatically after the cooktop starts, and cooktops which automatically know where and in what corner you have placed the pot. We’ve been talking about smart technology and connected appliances, which is just starting now. Where is it all going and how far is it going to go in the next years? It is very difficult to say. Digitalisation is changing all our lives, it’s changing industry and everyday life. Look at how smartphones changed our daily lives – this was not foreseeable 10 years ago. The question is to what extent do we as human beings want to be digitalised and to what extend we want to have everything automised or how much do we want to stay in control? That is, of course, an individual decision for each consumer, for how far they want to go. Technology wise, the real connected home will only come true in newly built homes because they require a different kind of wiring, or in renovated old houses. Miele does a lot of research well into the future, what trends are you seeing looking 15 or 20 years into the future? I believe that we have to see different consumer groups and their needs. We have to look at double income, no kid households and we have to look at people that live in big cities, who very rarely use their kitchens and mostly go out. We have to look at families, big families, who enjoy cooking and spend most of their time in the kitchen as part of their daily living room. We have completely different consumer groups and we have to serve all of these consumer groups. It’s very hard to foresee which group will take what share of the cake. In the end, we have to serve them all. In my mind, the connected home will make further progress – and it will come. The question is when and I can’t answer that one, but it will come. Will all consumers want to have that? I doubt it; will all consumers want to pay for that? I doubt it. Do you have security concerns around the smart home? For me, the question is who is interested what I have in my fridge and who is interested what I have in my oven? I believe that this data is not of much interest. The only question for me is a matter of security, to prevent people from outside seeing if someone is in the house or not. That is a definite security issue that we clearly have to look into. The other data, such as how often you use your washing machine or what you wash in your washing machine, I doubt is of real interest. What’s the most exciting thing for you about the future of home appliances? That there is always room for improvement – that excites me. There has been an enormous change in appliances in the last 20 years, of course due to user interface and electronics and that is fascinating. There is also an enormous change in design, that is fascinating and great fun and there is also an enormous change in lifestyle, which is also interesting. I predict that the generation of my son, when he is old as I am now, will live completely different than I do today. Times are always changing, some trends are coming back, some trends are emerging and I believe that that is fascinating. That makes our life interesting – and there is always something new to come. Dr Reinhard Zinkann Chairman Household Appliances Divisions ZVEI Managing Partner, Miele THE CONNECTED HOME WILL MAKE FURTHER PROGRESS – AND IT WILL COME IFA International • Tuesday 6 th September 2016 17

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