By James Wells in Gutersloh, Germany
GUTERSLOH: Dr Markus Miele, the co-owner of the $A4.5 billion privately owned German appliance manufacturer told Australian retailers today he has two words of advice — Immer Besser.
The company’s motto, Immer Besser, which translates to English as “Always Better” reflects the culture and values of the business which has become one of the most respected consumer brands in Europe.
“I have two words for the Australian trade — Immer Besser — look constantly at your store and your business. What can you improve? Your service and your processes? In order to improve, you must delight the customer so they believe it is a good decision to buy products from you as a retailer,” Miele told Current.com.au.
“These two words are not about being better than the competition, it is about being better than last time or the last effort.
“Sometimes you will make mistakes, but even when we have delivered a good product or service, there is always room for improvement and we all need to think about that,” he said.
Dr Miele said the Australian subsidiary, which was the first overseas office opened by the premium whitegoods brand, is a significant market for the brand.
“My father was once asked where he would work if he was to work in a different country and if Miele was not based in Germany and he said ‘if I could have chosen the place to work, it would be Australia’.
“And this was the reason why he went to Australia, followed by South Africa and then to the US. Although it is far away, we have a very tight connection with the Australian market,” Miele said.
But above all, the special trading arrangement pioneered by the former managing director of the subsidiary, Peter Murphy, has been the greatest contribution of value to the parent company.
“When I think of the Australian market, I think of our Miele Chartered Agency system which acts a role model for the other sales subsidiaries including South Africa, Ireland and Turkey that have taken up the system. There are also quite a number of visitors to Australia that are looking deeply into the system to see whether we can implement it into other markets.
“Also sales and marketing wise, Australia is very advanced in the Miele world. Australia is also responsible for our biggest IT project — the current roll-out of the SAP template for the business processes in all subsidiaries,” he said.
Miele Australia, which was established in 1980, continues to perform as a top 10 subsidiary and represents the largest market for built-in appliances outside of the German market.
Dr Miele reminded Australian retailers that by incorporating the ‘Immer Besser’ mantra, they are more likely to align themselves to the company’s ideology and culture.
“Look at displays of your products as well as your lighting and flooring — not every retailer is up to date. Displays can deteriorate in days or weeks — this is one of our biggest challenges. Keep your store tidy and interesting for the customer. We would like to see Miele positioned as a premium brand and our stores need to be a little tidier and cleaner than the others. I see there is room for improvement — always better.”