Even good things can be improved. The ongoing development and optimisation of products and solutions have a high priority at Arbonia. Our focus is on market-oriented and energy-saving offers as well as green technologies. The companies also conserve valuable resources in production and sales, while focusing on uncompromising quality at the same time.
Meeting high customer demands
Securing and expanding the market position through innovation is the declared objective of the HVAC Division. The task is challenging, as customers are making greater and greater demands on products and their performance. To meet these demands, the HVAC Division optimises the use of resources and enhances customer benefits. Solid project management as well as a systematic, goal-oriented product development promise success. When possible, the division protects its developments by applying for industrial property rights.
Award-winning products eligible for subsidies
The division works hard to create a positive public perception. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost no national or international trade fairs took place during the reporting year, which meant that an important element for the market launch of new products and for customer care was missing. As face-to-face customer visits were not an option either at times, digital communication media became fundamentally more important. These include a variety of digital tools tailored to the respective customer group, from webinars on various topics (e.g. indoor air quality) to individualised homepages of the respective brands to special apps in an augmented reality format as product configurators.
In 2020, the products of the HVAC Division were also able to score in design competitions and were awarded prizes such as the Best of SHK Award (sanitary, heating, and air conditioning). The division is also developing more and more products that are suitable for both new buildings as well as renovations and that benefit from subsidy programmes enacted by European governments to reduce CO2 emissions.
Continuous product optimisation
The division gains new impetus for innovations through trade fairs, technical literature, and further training of employees. Regular reports to the management as well as deadline and cost monitoring guarantee controlled and continuous product optimisation.
Picking up trends
Particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a strong homing trend in society and thus an identifiable increasing willingness to invest in bathrooms as a feel-good space. The central task of the division is to meet these customer demands by expanding and optimising its products and, at the same time, to further expand and strengthen its market position due to the high demand. The division is countering the increased cost pressure with a more efficient use of resources, such as optimised film-free packaging. The steady expansion of the services offered is also important for the continuous strengthening of customer relationships.
Using digital channels
In the reporting year, the Sanitary Equipment Division launched new products and product extensions. Since a physical presentation was not possible due to cancelled industry trade fairs such as the SHK Essen (D) and the IFH Nuremberg (D), it relied on other channels, especially digital ones. These included new product and assembly videos, a completely revised homepage, and digital training for sales representatives. The products of the Sanitary Equipment Division were once again successful at design competitions in the reporting year: Kermi and Koralle were pleased to receive prizes at the Universal Design Awards (Expert and Consumer Jury), the German Design Awards 2020, as well as the Iconic Award 2020, among others.
Optimisation with a system
The Sanitary Equipment Division gains new impetuses for product developments through in-depth market observation. Systematic project management and the associated deadline and cost control as well as regular reporting to the management guarantee the control of new developments.
Innovations as competitive advantages
Product innovations are essential for the Windows Division because it operates in a very competitive environment. In addition to compliance with all relevant standards, the factors of "energy efficiency", "quality", and "price" define market success.
Promising new developments
EgoKiefer and Slovaktual impressed in 2020 with the newly launched flush-fitted secondary sashes in the "EgoAllround" and "Optim" systems. This product allows an increased proportion of glass and thereby improves the thermal insulation. The new vinyl and aluminium front doors developed by the division also have a 10% better heat transfer coefficient. This is achieved through an above-average construction depth and new, stronger infill variants. Furthermore, additional and ongoing optimisations of the production processes took place at the Wertbau site in Langenwetzendorf (D). Forklift transports could be almost completely replaced by a fully automatic buffer storage. Thanks to digital control, components reach employees directly.
Launching innovations even faster
The division wants to expand its market position in some markets, including the Czech Republic and Austria, and launch new products even faster in the future. While doing this, it ensures that innovations are nevertheless mature and fault-free in order to retain customer confidence. Thanks to a large dealer network, Slovaktual, for example, can quickly bring new developments to the customer. Windows that insulate even better remain a focus of development. For such windows, the frame plays a subordinate role. The decisive factor for a high thermal insulation is that the glass covers as large an area as possible.
Therefore, the frame will become even narrower in future window generations. With the newly established in-house insulating glass production in Pravenec (SK), the division has the necessary flexibility to bring innovations to the market quickly. At the same time, efficiency and profitability have to be right. In order to combine this, the market is constantly monitored and customer wishes are ascertained through surveys and personal discussions. The close cooperation with suppliers also leads to new product developments and solutions, such as the sealing system and the plastic joints of the new wood/aluminium window generation.
Inspiring customers and partners with innovations
With its innovative products and solutions, the Doors Division repeatedly achieves a unique selling point and gains market shares. The focus is on technical advances as well as on innovative design that not only satisfies residents but also the installers of the products. Examples of this include the new residential line, the new fire protection approval of RWD Schlatter, or the premium edge with zero joint technology from Prüm and Garant launched in 2019. A particular technical innovation resulted from the minority share in the Berlin (D) property technology company KIWI.KI GmbH. Their "SmartDOOR" is a door from Prüm and Garant that is equipped with digital access technology from KIWI not visible from the outside. Thanks to the digital access system, housing companies can digitise their key property managers and increase convenience for their tenants. Managers and owners can adapt access rights online in real time and therefore no longer have to meet in person to hand over keys.
Using materials efficiently and avoiding errors
It is well known that product innovations should be resource-efficient and economical. RWD Schlatter achieved this goal in 2020, for example, by standardising certain components that can now be used in all doors. Prüm and Garant were also able to reduce the use of materials and ensure more efficient processes through uniform blank structures. Lower material stocks and the minimisation of waste make production more efficient in terms of lean management. In 2020, RWD Schlatter also improved the data management in their production system to further reduce mix-ups or incorrect orders. The challenge of developing high-quality products with low material input will occupy the division in the coming years as well.
Regular customer surveys ensure that buyers' demands are taken into account in the innovation process. The companies of the division are also involved in shaping future standards and regulations through active participation in committees and bodies. This allows new requirements to be taken into account at an early stage in the development process.