3 years ago

Week-end Edition - Day 2 & 3 - IFA International

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  • Appliances
  • Berlin
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  • September
  • Electronics
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  • Loewe

Exclusive Interview

Exclusive Interview Joining the Fore Bauknecht – part of the Whirlpool group – Each year at IFA, a new set of aces is drawn by the key players in the home appliance field. But it’s only this year for the first time that we are playing with a full deck, as until now, one of the majors was not present: the Whirlpool group. This year, that’s changed with the arrival of Bauknecht, the classy German arm of Whirlpool, who may just have a few trump cards up their sleeve. Heading the Germanic operation is Jens- Christoph Bidlingmaier – an old hand at the game, having a long background at Philips Consumer Lifestyle. In this exclusive interview, IFA International Editor in Chief Richard Barnes asked Jens-Christoph what he saw as being his main challenges for the next year Jens-Christoph Bidlingmaier Chairman, Bauknecht Hausgeräte GmbH Germanics I think the main challenge will be to make the turnaround in the Germanic market - Germany and Austria - so that we are perceived as a key brand in the Whirlpool group. We see that the target group of 60+ know Bauknecht from the past and trust the product and the quality. We have excellent products in the different categories – washing, cooling, dishwashing and food – but we clearly see that the target group of 30 to 59 is not very focused on our brand in the area of major domestic appliances. I can say personally that I’m totally convinced by our product portfolio and the power of our brand, and I would like to involve myself to really bring this brand onto a different level and make it more visible and more focused on the target group of 30+ This is the first time the company is present at IFA. What are your thoughts on IFA as a platform for promotion and exchange for a brand like Bauknecht? IFA for me is a must; it’s absolutely important to be present, first of all for consumers, but more importantly to have the connection to the trade. What we see in the market is that our balance of sales in the different channels we cover is not, let’s say, very homogenous. It’s now our strategy to really come back, especially in retail. Retail for us is key to build up the brand, so referring to the first point I mentioned, we have to win in the buying group and win in the trade, so I do see IFA as a perfect platform, first of all to have the connection to the trade, secondly to show them the power not only of the brand but also of the products, thirdly to show them what is in the innovation plan, and fourthly to make IFA a success by also planning the season together with the trade and negotiating what we are doing in the season of September, October and November of this year. IFA is the most famous and attractive place for our kind of goods worldwide You use the catchphrase Experience More Than Technology. What does this mean? In our opinion, coming from the consumer perspective, the most important thing is “what is the added value for a consumer using our product”? It’s not about how the technology works; it’s about whether you’re able to give the consumer the freedom and the opportunity to really use the product in a kind of simplicity. It must be ease of use, a kind of plug-and-play, and 18

Exclusive Interview at IFA for the first time I would like Bauknecht to assume the driver’s seat here and really push the market in a different, new direction it must help the consumer to make life more easy, more comfortable, and hopefully you save energy, you save time and you are satisfied with your product, not looking to technology but looking to ease of use and added value for the consumer. What can people see at the Bauknecht stand? We are showing of course the different categories that we refer to so first of all one key element is washing and drying, our Ultimate Care technology where we show our consumers and trade partners that they have the opportunity with our washing machines and dryers to really clean and dry their clothes with safer – let’s say with supreme care. Then we look at food, particularly induction, both hobs and now ovens. – so we are the only players in the market with an induction oven. Then thirdly we will show dishwashing. Our new dishwasher, which launches this month, allows consumers to wash and dry in one hour, and when you look to the quality of drying we have to say we are best in class with this. And in the field of cooling, we will show some new products where we have focused very hard on no frost technology. One of the star products as you mentioned is the induction oven, this has also been introduced by Whirlpool? How important is it to innovate with this kind of product? Innovation for us is key. I would like Bauknecht to assume the driver’s seat here and really push the market in a different, new direction and to add value to the trade and the consumer, and hopefully increasing market share by having innovations like induction. So if you look basically at our market in Germany and Austria this is quite stable, maybe with a little plus it’s growing a little bit, but with real innovations where we have new markets, we can really increase the total business of MDA, we add value not only to the trade partners and consumers but we add value to the industry as a whole. And it’s important that we as an industry are always working on innovations to make the cake bigger, to make main domestic appliances more interesting for the consumers, for the trade and in the market in general. You were talking about the cooling, there’s a big push into Europe from the Koreans and the Chinese in this area. Is this making it more difficult for European players? The market is open. It’s good to have an open market and to have competition. I think we should use competition to really become better as an organisation and as a company. I see it as a challenge of course to really meet the good innovations and good strategies by the competition, but on the other hand, it’s also making our organisation stronger. JENS-CHRISTOPH BIDLINGMAIER Jens-Christoph Bidlingmaier has been chairman of the board of Bauknecht Hausgeräte GmbH Germanics, a subsidiary of Whirlpool Corporation since May 2014. In this role he reports directly to Juan Carlos Puente, Vice president, Market Operations Whirlpool EMEA. As a marketing and sales expert, Mr Bidlingmaier looks back on a long experience in the field of consumer electronics. Prior to his position with Bauknecht, he was responsible for the fields of consumer electronics and small domestic appliances with Philips Consumer Lifestyle in the DACH markets. In his 15-year career with Philips, Mr Bidlingmaier was able to garner marketing and sales experience in different positions in Germany and abroad. Jens-Christoph Bidlingmaier studied business economics at Kiel polytechnic and at Black Hawk College of Illinois in the US. Bauknecht’s UltimateCare Dryer features 3D air flow to ensure maximum protection without sacrificing drying performance IFA International • Saturday 6 th & Sunday 7 th September 2014 19

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