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Day 5 - IFA International

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News Kärcher Outlines

News Kärcher Outlines Innovation-Led Strategy Cleaning product giant comes to IFA with exciting product innovations Christian May, managing director of leading cleaning technology firm Alfred Kärcher Germany, says his company prides itself on innovation. With 87% of its products invented within the last five years, he says “Kärcher will never arrive at an edition of IFA without innovations.” True to his word, he says this year’s Kärcher stand is packed with new developments. The two he picks out as highlights are “The SC1 steam cleaner, which is a small, versatile addition to our existing range, and the Window Vac 2, which builds on our leadership in this category.” The SC1 cleans without chemicals and can be used virtually anywhere. Wherever it's used in the home, it excels at cleaning all types of hard surfaces and removes 99.99% of all common household bacteria. Its compact and easy-to-hold size makes it ideally suited to quick yet deep-reaching cleaning. The WV2, meanwhile, is 10% smaller than the previous model and operating noise has been reduced by a further 10%. Explaining why innovation is such a priority for Kärcher, May says “we need to stay ahead of our competitors. Innovation is also good for the dealers because they like having something new to sell.” In terms of the market dynamics which drive innovation, May says “it can be consumer-driven or technology-driven. There might be a new problem to solve or a new technology which we need to take account of.” On the subject of new technology, May says that discussions about connected homes have not quite reached his industry yet, “but they will come. The smartphones and networks are there, so I could imagine applications around sprinklers, or devices that can tell you when it is the right time to change a filter bag – and then help you order a new one.” Based in Germany, Kärcher covers most of the world with its products. Interestingly, it has handled some highprofile cleaning projects such as the colonnades on St. Peter’s Square in Rome, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the US Presidents’ heads on Mount Rushmore. In part, these are done for marketing purposes, “but they are also good for motivating our staff. Sometimes they also lead to innovations such as a new blast gun or pressure hoses.” On the subject of IFA, May is emphatic in his approval: “Kärcher has been coming for five years because it is a fantastic trade platform. The consumer electronics business has found a home at IFA. It’s a must.” Hall 3.1 Stand 109 Christian May Managing Director, Alfred Kärcher Germany IFA International • Tuesday 9 th September 2014 11

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