Exclusive Interview FRANJO BOBINAC President of the Management Board & CEO Franjo Bobinac joined Gorenje Commerce in 1986. After Gorenje’s transformation into a public limited company in 1998, he became member of the temporary Management Board of Gorenje dd in charge of sales and marketing. In 2003 he was appointed President of the management board of Gorenje for the first time. He began his second term of office as President of the Management Board in 2008 and third term of office in July 2013. Bobinac also holds a number of distinguished positions within the industry. These include membership of the General Assembly of the CECED European Committee of Domestic Equipment Manufacturers and Vice- President of the Managers’ Association of Slovenia. He was awarded the decoration of knight of national order of merit of the Republic of France and received the award of the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia for exceptional economic achievements in 2007.. 20 It’s now more than six decades since the formation of Gorenje, a company defined by its innovation and manufacturing excellence. Franjo Bobinac, President of the Management Board and CEO at Gorenje, outlines the company’s new products and its vision for the future. Over the years we have grown into a producer that develops innovative home appliances with distinguished design that make the life of users easier and simpler. This year, we are proud to be presenting to IFA visitors and business partners our brand new generation of Gorenje ovens, microwave ovens, hobs and hoods based on advanced cooking technology as well as Asko brand novelties including an exclusive line of kitchen appliances. The Asko brand has been known for years as a specialist for washing and drying, we have been working on developing Asko into a full-assortment brand by adding cooling and cooking appliances to it. Gorenje is particularly innovative in incorporating healthy living in its appliances Gorenje Moves into New Markets Healthy living helps to drive Slovenian manufacturers vision Franjo Bobinac President of the Management Board and CEO, Gorenje What are the key trends in the industry at the moment? One of the most important trends worldwide is healthy living. Gorenje is particularly innovative in incorporating it in its appliances and certainly among the very best in the industry. Thus, our newest built-in ovens and innovative IQcook hob enable the user to prepare the food using healthy cooking methods such as steaming. Another strong trend that is bringing major changes into the white-goods industry as well is digitalisation. What sets Gorenje apart? What’s your “credo”? We have grown into a producer that develops innovative home appliances with distinguished design that make the life of users easier and simpler. Do you feel that design is becoming more important as part of the overall recipe for success? The white goods industry is a very mature one with very high competition going on. A key Gorenje competence that makes us different from other white goods manufacturers is design. However, design by itself is not enough. It has to follow the emotions and functionality. Therefore when developing and designing a new appliance we also put much thought into developing solutions and functions that make the users’ lives easier. What are some examples of high-design products in your portfolio? IFA visitors can admire several appliances from the Gorenje and Asko portfolio that stand out with sophisticated and wellthought-out design, such as the completely new range of Gorenje and Asko ovens, a line of retro-looking Gorenje fridges in colours and of course the collections that were born in co-operation with the well-known designers Ora-Ito and Karim Rashid. Are you looking to develop new geographic territories? Gorenje is a European manufacturer and the majority of revenue is generated in Europe with Germany being one of the most important markets for our sales. But we are presently also looking beyond Europe, for example in the markets of the United States, Australia and the Far and Middle East. The share of revenue made in those markets has steadily been increasing. In the near future we expect further strong growth predominantly in Australia, where Asko is a well-known premium brand, especially in the segment of dishwashers, and in North America, where we have started distribution co-operation for Asko dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers with the premium manufacturer Sub-Zero. How do you leverage IFA as a marketing hub and how important is the show for you? Since IFA opened its doors to the home appliances industry in 2008 it has grown into the most important business and media event. Gorenje has been attending the trade show every year and for us it’s a great opportunity to meet business partners and journalists from all over the world, to show our latest product innovations, but the fair is also important in the terms of making business.
Exclusive Interview Future Living Siemens presents new generation of connectivitycapable appliances at IFA Siemens has long been a leader in the development of connected appliances. Where is this innovative player up to today in this field and where is this all headed? We put the question to Roland Hagenbucher, CEO of Siemens-Electrogeräte GmbH At IFA 2014, Siemens is presenting the first connectivity-capable appliances of a new generation. Hot-air ovens, steam ovens and dishwashers in the iQ700 series of built-in appliances can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet no matter where the user is located. These appliances open up a whole range of new possibilities. For instance, they enable the user to operate an oven from a digital cookbook, compile shopping lists and look up tailored operating instructions or information on resource consumption, and much more. Presenting these pioneer products at IFA 2014 is the first milestone in a development process that will be continuous from now on. You can say that a new age has dawned. Apps will be regularly updated online, adding extra functions and new content. More appliances will be integrated in this range in 2015 already. You’ve done a lot of research on the topic. What do consumers really want, and what key demographics want connected appliances? We have indeed made intensive preparations for going online – because Siemens wants to offer solutions that deliver genuine added value and meet real needs. Our trend report Future Living showed that, nowadays, people want more support when planning and organising their day-to-day lives. In the future, we will be making that possible with our connectivity solutions such as networked ovens. A smartphone user will be able to plan dinners while out of the house, draw up shopping lists from a virtual cookbook and then prepare the meals in peace at home – almost automatically. The user can control an oven directly from a digital cookbook and transfer the chosen recipe. The iQ700 oven delivers success at the first attempt. The user does not have to be a professional cook. Another survey in the framework of our report confirms that our connectivity approach is on target. Not only the so-called digital natives want to operate household appliances away from home. Of people up to 44 years of age, about one in four wants to be able to do so. For us, IFA is the most important home appliance trade fair in the whole world Connectivity aside, what trends are you seeing in general in the field of major appliances? Day-to-day life is becoming ever more complex and faster so, above all, we see the need for things to get simpler and slow down. That is why the issue of speed is a key aspect of our innovations. Time-saving options and flexibility when doing the laundry and washing the dishes – and now also when cooking – really relieve stress and make life easier. If a frozen pizza is ready in 12 minutes instead of 20, you might gain enough time to eat it in peace at home instead of having to rush it down while travelling. A second key aspect is clarity at the human-machine interface. Although we are offering more and more programs and extra options, handling has remained as easy and intuitive as when there were only levers and buttons. We call this feat “simplexity” – simple operation of complex technology to make life easier. And, for us, there is also the nicest trend of all – making the kitchen fun not only for occupants but also for guests. Nowadays, the kitchen is the No. 1 status symbol and we have the perfect offering for that, too. Our new iQ700 series of built-in appliances stands for the unusual side of life, for breathtakingly clear and modern design, for networking and for technology that makes consumers’ day-to-day lives easier not only when it comes to speed. What are your star products, and what’s really new this year? Our big star is the whole iQ700 range, which stands for the new stage of evolution in the Siemens built-in appliance design. Roland Hagenbucher Managing Director of Siemens -Electrogeräte GmbH It features perfect builtin technology with impressive seamlessness and a fascinating, inspiring appearance. The iQ700 series also comprises the first networked hot air ovens, steam ovens and dishwashers from Siemens with the time-saving options I mentioned earlier. How is Siemens leveraging IFA to get its message across to the global trade and media? In the past, IFA has given impetus to the home appliance business – it is the platform for trends and innovations. For us, IFA is the most important home appliance trade fair in the whole world. We have observed growing international interest over the years, especially among dealers and the media from neighbouring countries in Europe, and we use the platform accordingly to enter into conversation with them. www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Saturday 6 th & Sunday 7 th September 2014 21