“Made in Germany” – this slogan once warned the Brits of imported goods, now stands for solid craftsmanship and for stability. It functions as a seal of quality and stands for German high class workmanship. Made in Germany provides trust. What does that really mean? What stands behind? How much „Made in Germany“ really lays in these products and is it generally reasonable to produce as much as possible in Germany, if something could be better made elsewhere?
On this subject InteriorPark. gathered representatives of companies whose production is based in Germany to a panel of experts at the InteriorPark. Store Stuttgart. Moderated by architecture journalist Thomas Geuder (raumjournalismus) the discussion was joined by: Matthias Fuchs (Marketing Director FSB), Cordula Jahn (Marketing Director Findeisen), Angélique Krauter (Sales Director art aqua), Katrin Riedrich (Marketing Director DLW Flooring) and Ulrich Sattler (Managing Director Sattler Lighting).
With „Made in Germany“ moments Thomas Geuder opened the round that also included a large audience: Worldwide we come across our home country as the stamp „Made in Germany“ embellished repeatedly on products, German flags waving between kitchen products, meaningless German phrases find new adoptions in Asian restaurant names – but what do buyers expect from this worldwide? What does this stereotype stand for? Is it comparable to the cliché that design has to come from Italy, watches from Switzerland and food from France?
Katrin Riedrich from DLW Flooring explains, those products apply automatically as good, the (non-protected) seal stands for quality and safety. The label “Made in Germany” on their brochures and products is only available because customers and suppliers asked for. Also the “D” for Germany in the company name strengthens the brand and acts as a selling argument abroad. Angélique Krauter from art aqua confirms the demand abroad for the label “Made in Germany”. The same states Cordula Jahn from Findeisen mainly from China and Russia, where manufacturing in Germany stands for functionality and promises quality.
Even scandals did not harm the reputation of “Made in Germany” according to the present round – it’s already anchored too deep.
Tina Kammer and Andrea Herold from InteriorPark. have visited all participating companies before their cooperation started to get an own impression. Not least because of the local production employees show a great passion for their products and the brand. The high quality of the result rises and falls with the employees‘ motivation and identification. Employees who are involved in processes and not feel threatened by degradation due to production outsourcing are willing to provide dedication and outstanding efforts.
Corlula Jahn takes up this aspect: “We are Ettlinger” she says, pointing out that it takes two years training someone. The social responsibility for 70 employees is very important and counts on individual expertise.
Also Ulrich Sattler from Sattler Lighting is far from accepting longer ways. He enjoys “living in his company” and reach all partners by bicycle. He wants to understand them, and look in their eye. However, the lights are available worldwide. For him that’s practised “Made in Germany – the best and easiest solution.
Matthias Fuchs from FSB also emphasis the advantage of the simple and direct communication with German partners. Foreign partners often cannot or do not want to follow the extremely high German standards – they consider the products as “over engineered”
So none of the participants is thinking about outsourcing their production. They all appreciate short ways, direct contact with partners and suppliers and good communication. The similar understanding of very perfectionist approaches is often useful. Nevertheless, services and products that can be produced elsewhere more economically and ecologically are gathered there. As an example Angélique Krauter from art aqua states that the plants for their green walls are purchased in Amsterdam – the design process and the production are in Bietigheim-Bissingen. And FSB collaborates for a special small part production with an Indian provider, since no manufacturer has been found in Germany. For the same reason Sattler must refer special electronic boards from Asia.
Of course „Made in Germany“ has its price, and as Tina Kammer mentioned with a twinkle in her eye at the beginning, some clients are very thankful, if something is produced in Asia for a cheaper price.
In the following discussion an architect from the audience reports that he could install special German elevators only for Russian builders, as they had already become too expensive for German clients.
A multifaceted theme about that all participants agreed to captivate the production locally and preserve “Made in Germany”. Another visitor noted, this definitely applies mainly for the more technical fields – other products or services can be as well or better produced or provided in other countries or continents.
During the following get-together on the last hot summer evening conversations and discussions were lively continued.
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