Since its creation in 1984, Haier has consistently allowed the customer to set the tone. It’s a premise that drives the brand to incorporate the needs and expectations of consumers, from the design to the production of its products, and resulting in the establishment of a local strategy "Zero Distance" that sets out to bring the company even closer to the customer.
“My challenge since assuming the role of head of Haier Europe more than a year ago was primarily to gain market share, strengthen our position among firmly established appliance manufacturers and adapt better to the demands of European consumers," said Yannick Fierling, CEO of Haier Europe.
These objectives were achieved through measures undertaken across the company in areas such as HR, industrial development, sales and marketing.
Reorganisation of top management for improved productivity
To improve responsiveness, productivity and accelerate decision-making, Haier has reorganised the top management of its major European markets. To achieve this, the group appointed three new regional directors (France and Switzerland, Southern Europe, Northern and Eastern Europe). "I strongly believe in the importance of human capital in a company. The overall objective of these appointments is to make Haier Europe operate as a micro business within a multinational setting," added Fierling.
Creation of a manufacturing plant and new R&D centre in Europe
In April 2016, Haier opened a new factory of 24,500 sqm in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia, dedicated to the production of refrigerators. Employing 500 workers and generating an additional 1200 jobs in outsourcing activities, this plant is expected to produce 250 000 units initially (with an ultimate goal of 500,000). "This new plant will enable us to increase our productivity, and be more proactive with regard to the European market while meeting shorter and shorter distribution deadlines. Although our Chinese production facility is able to cover almost all of the European demands, we would be more competitive in terms of logistics flexibility," said Yannick Fierling.
The brand also plans to open a new R&D centre in Russia, in addition to the one based in Nuremberg, Germany.
Products with tangible benefits that simplify daily life
Since 2015, Haier has multiplied the launch of new products designed to simplify the daily lives of its users. The brand offers its customers a series of products to meet a wide variety of uses, needs and expectations. Today, Haier offers the widest range of refrigerators with freezer drawers in the market and a double drum washing machine which allows users to wash two separate loads simultaneously.
Moreover, the group continues its diversification into other product categories by proposing innovative home heating systems (both with and without Wi-Fi).