Frank Göring: The European Premium Brand Villeroy & Boch – Innovation made of tradition

With a 260-year coherent company his­­tory, which began in Lorraine in 1748, Villeroy & Boch counts as a European industry icon. The basis for the market position of this brand’s reputation and the continuous internalization, which be­­gan in the 19th century, are of in­­no-­va­­tive strength and a consistent cus­­to­­mer-orientated approach.

As a European premium brand focusing on the area of bathroom furnishings and table culture, the company has branches in 125 countries. The group’s headquarters are seated in Mettlach, Saar­land, and today they own factories in twelve European countries, Mexico and Thailand. In 2008 the listed company generated a turn­­over of 841 million euros, where 521 million were received from the company field of Bathroom and Wellness, and 320 million from the company field of Tableware. In 2007, Villeroy & Boch passed on 51 per cent of its tile business to the internationally renowned Eczacibasi Group based in Turkey.

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The brand and its values
The brand stands central to all activities. With a 260-year tradition, it em­­bodies a piece of European culture, prestige, quality of design and authenticity. Especially on the new growth markets, this profile attracts great de­­­sire. The brand comes to light, above all, through the shops “The House of Villery & Boch”, which secure a uniform, worldwide brand presence at the point of sale. In the centre of this exhibition concept lie the strategies behind its offers, such as “The Bath­­room all from one Hand” and “The Fully Well Laid Table”. With determined, integrated presentation and accentuated emotional customer approach di­­versity and harmonic match of the products can be well-exhibited.
The competition factor of innovation
Also belonging to the brand’s identity from the start of the company is the innovative strength. With numerous technical and aesthetic innovations, Villeroy & Boch has been a benchmark in history and has marked the development of trends. Today, innovations hold a key position within the company’s strategies, as in this way, it finds the chance to attain advantages from worldwide market competition as well as expand its position.

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In order to intensify the innovation procedure and present a wide spec­­trum of interest, an innovations man­­agement was founded in 2000 to research innovations systematically. The focus is on new, market-similar products close to the market and future-oriented market­ing ideas.
Many of these innovations, such as the easy to clean, CeramicPlus surface, the smell-detracting PurAir WC or the “Invisible Jets” for whirlpools, have provided the whole industry with new impetus. In 2005, Villeroy & Boch re­­ceived the “Innovation Award of the Ger­­man Economy” for the production technology and design of the asymmetrical NewWave crockery series.

One of the youngest innovations within the area of bathroom facilities is a WC which sets standards above all in environmental factors: Omnia GreenGain. With a mere 3.5 litres per flush, it marks a milestone in the usage of water.

Expansion of internationalization
As ever, Europe is still Villeroy & Boch’s most important and largest market. Today, above all, the Asian and Pacific regions offer high potential, the company is consistently building its position here through acquisition and reenforcement of the marketing. With the acquisition of the Thai sanitary producer Nahm, Villeroy & Boch created a platform for Asia in the field of bath­­rooms and wellness in 2008. Lo­­cal pre­­sence allows a reaction to take place against the demands and changes in the dynamic Asian markets.

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With their new groups of consumer and market-oriented users, China, India, Thai­­land and the Middle East/Emirates count towards the most important market op­­portunities in the region.
Also in the area of table culture, nu­­me­r­­­ous “House of Villeroy & Boch” shops have been formed here in the last three years, such as in Peking, Bombay, Haiderabad, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The acquisition of the Mexican sanitary fac­tory of the GIS Group in the year 2006 is the basis for further growth long-term significant markets in Central and North America. All in all, the portion of foreign turnover rose from 46 per cent (in 1996) to around 78 per cent (today). A main focus of the international activities in both company areas is the sale of turn key objects. The production of bathroom and wellness as well as al­­so that of table culture furnishings is above all in sophisticated categories of business, such as hotels, hospitals, holiday complexes and homes for senior citizens.

 

Frank-drei-GoeringFrank Göring, born in 1961, is Chief Exe­cu­­tive Officer of Villeroy & Boch AG. Following his studies in Business Management, he began his professional career at Proctor & Gamble and after 1992 held leading positions at companies such as Reemtsma and Hero AG. In 1997 he entered Villeroy & Boch as Marketing Director and was called to the Board of Executives in 2005.