The German Magazine ‘Markt Intern‘ published the resultst of their biennial office furniture reseller servey just before the Orgatec started last week. In this survey, the German resellers rate their suppliers on 12 different criteria. Behind winner Palmberg Wini and Oka Büromöbel ranked as respective second and third. Maybe more striking than the winners, was the position Kinnarps, the largest office furniture manufacturer of Europe. Kinnarps finished last on every part of the survey, both in the ranking for office furniture manufacturers as the ranking for office chairs manufacturers. OfficeRepublic contacted David Wiechmann of Kinnarps for a reaction to the results.
Wiechmann says “For Kinnarps, the result was not unexpected, because the survey coincided with the relocation of production from Worms to Sweden, which also included a strategy reorientation. For some partners this has not only sparked approval. Representatives of the industry, who have built their experience with Kinnarps on the product history of the former “Schärf brands” and have heavily relied on the storage program Ordemo, do not welcome the new approach. We are in the year zero, the year of the new beginning, and as Kinnarps – without the inheritance of Samas – we want to look exclusively ahead and reposition ourselves in this market with new ideas, products and concepts. With our resellers.
Working hard to improve problem areas
Wiechmann continues: “We also know that the relocation of production initially created supply and quality issues that certainly contributed to the poor performance. Meanwhile, however, the problem areas have been identified and we are working hard to ensure marketable performance again.”
Heinrich Schärf & Sohn
Heinrich Schärf & Sohn was founded in 1949 in Worms as a carpentry and changed its name in 1989 in Schärf AG. The company grew and acquired Drabert in 1990 and Trebbin in 1991. In 1994 the Dutch ‘Samas Group’ bought Schärf AG with it’s 51 European companies. Samas was a group of companies, that filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The company was split up. Royal Ahrend acquired the Dutch part of Samas, and the French part became independent and is now known as Majencia.
Kinnarps Germany acquired the former Schärf AG in 2011. Since, Kinnarps Germany has its headquarters in Worms. Earlier this year Kinnarps decided to close all production facilities in Worms, and relocate the manufacturing of office furniture to Sweden. In Worms, the company will maintain and expand their sales office. Many resellers in Germany were partner of the company long before it was acquired by Kinnarps, and were used to the product portfolio Wiechmann refers to as the ‘Schärf-brands’
” As a large supplier, we can not compete with the specialists in the respective segments in some respects. But we have our own unique selling points, which distinguish us from many competitors: an extremely creative planning department, high project competence and with Next Office a holistic method that is sometimes miles ahead of others. Hopefully, many retailers will revise their September verdict over the coming months as we aim to make joint project acquisition in the regions with these USPs successful.”