Schüller 2019: Solid growth today, focus on tomorrow
1. Market review
With a sales increase of around 3% in 2019, the German kitchen furniture industry looks back on a successful result. According to the VdDK, this increase is due in particular to significant growth in exports. In comparison with other sectors, the German kitchen furniture industry is characterised by stable sales and annual growth. The aspects of “performance”, “product quality”, “price behaviour” and the “Made in Germany” seal of approval form the basis of the industry’s success.
True to the motto “always one step ahead”, the Schüller Möbelwerk KG was able to continue the positive development of the previous year in 2019.
With a turnover of 554 million euros – i.e. an increase of 9.9 % compared to 2018 – the company developed positively in the past year. Desired, disproportionate growth and thrust came from exports with a plus of around 16.3 %. With a quota of 25.8 %, the performance in the foreign markets was thus increased to 143 million euros. In 2018, this figure amounted to 123 million euros.
Most of the sales were generated within Europe. In its German home market, the Schüller Möbelwerk KG generated a turnover of 411 million euros, which corresponds to an increase of 8.0 %. It is gratifying that the premium segment including the next125 brand has continued to gain in importance.
3. Investment activities
“Typically Schüller”, the year 2019 was characterised by intensive investment activities: last year, an amount of around 40.6 million euros was invested in buildings, machines & facilities, IT & networks as well as logistics & truck fleet. This total also includes advance payments.
In addition to the investments mentioned, the expansion of the Schüller-Küchen production at the location in Herrieden was initiated. The implementation of the necessary infrastructural measures has been started in spring 2019 followed by the construction of an employee car park with a maximum capacity of 1,870 parking spaces. The completion of this project is scheduled for mid-2020. At the turn of the year 2019/2020, the foundations for the new pro- duction halls were laid; the launch of the mechanical facilities is planned for late autumn 2021.
4. Employee development
Last year, the number of people employed by the Schüller Möbelwerk KG rose to 1,838 which corresponds to an increase of 11 % compared to the previous year. The increased gain in employees – a preparatory measure for the production launch in the new halls – is already clearly noticeable today.
The field of training, a key factor of growth for the Franconian family-run company in times of a shortage of skilled workers, picked up speed in 2019: 118 trainees are currently employed at the Herrieden site.
With the extensive Schüller-programme of benefits, the Schüller Möbelwerk KG meets the requirements of a modern company. Attractive additional services, such as social security and health care, create sustainable employee loyalty and satisfaction. The bike leasing topic has been particularly well received, since it does not only score well in terms of health, but also means a commitment to the environment.
5. Product changes
In the past, the kitchen has increasingly developed into the central hub of the house: it is the place for food preparation and -consumption, the centre of communication and life.
In order to meet individual demands, the collection year 2020 brought out a number of innovations:
The innovative OPTIMUS drawer-/pull-out system, as the successor to the existing Tandem system, was developed in cooperation with the leading Austrian fitting manufacturer Blum. Based on decades of shared experience, Schüller created a new drawer-/pull-out generation that is perfectly matched to the schüller.C collection while combining high design standards with optimum functionality.
The new carcase height C5 (84.5 cm) represents a contemporary symbiosis of functionality and aesthetics: the carcase raised by half a grid, not only offers more storage space and ergo-nomics, but also contributes significantly to a more homelike look.
In terms of scarce and expensive living space, utmost priority is given to the best possible use of the available storage space. However, niche-panel systems, built-in table extractors and front-wall installations do also call for extra deep solutions. For this reason, the company has revalued and -designed the range of attractive 66 cm deep cabinets.
In the field of complete marketing, Schüller offers a strong range of NEFF appliances in the collection year 2020, from ovens and hobs to refrigerators and dishwashers, up to extractor hoods and compact devices completing the existing assortment with a further alternative in the premium segment.
The innovations of 2020 are rounded off by intelligent storage and waste solutions, which significantly increase the range of planning options.
In 2019, the company set the bar high in terms of dealer services. The innovations – whether changes in the planning system, automated changes between the different construction heights or the possibility to plan utility rooms – are a significant relief in daily business, promoting the planning competence of the dealer. The “Order Change” option, which offers the possibility of handling changes to the order fully electronically, ensures a convenient ordering process.
Last year, the focus with regard to the next125 premium brand was set on innovations in terms of communication and services.
As a logical addition to the extensive digital measures of the past year – relaunch of the web- site and presence in social media – a cooperation with Kitchen Stories promises a positive, emotional brand building and storytelling in the digital premium environment: from now on, next125 kitchens are an integral part of the recipe videos of the internationally successful digital cooking platform and also in the focus campaign “To Market We Go” by Kitchen Stories – produced in different European countries – with a cross-media presence.
Last year, three new design awards confirmed the success of the design concept: the ICONIC AWARD honoured the panel garden, a hanging home for herbs. The IF Design Award, on the other hand, appreciated the Flex-Boxes made of non-woven fabric, the German Brand Award rewarded the next125 brand in its entirety.
The next125 premium brand is currently looking forward to the premiere of the innovations 2020 at the EuroCucina in Milan: in 2018, the company announced a presentation of novelties every two years on the occasion of the the Milan fair. From 21st to 26th April, visitors from home and abroad can equally expect the premiere of the new “animal” campaign motif which continues the extraordinary visual concept of an elegant minimalist kitchen, an outstanding location and a domestic livestock breed.
6. Outlook 2020
The positive development of the financial year 2019 and the numerous innovations in the field of products and services prove the motto “Setting standards, taking advantage of the innovative lead”. The forecasts for 2020 are also positive: despite geopolitical uncertainties, the regional markets are stable. In addition, the current interest rate level, the agile construction industry and the urge for property and mobility of the population further contribute to constant demand.
The management of the Schüller Möbelwerk KG:
Max Heller, Markus Schüller and Manfred Niederauer (l.t.r.)