Beko rethinking built-in to appeal to kitchen studios

Ragip Balcioglu, chief commercial officer, Arçelik (Beko)

Appliance giant Beko has revealed that it is rethinking its approach to built-in appliances to make them appeal more to kitchen studios.

In an exclusive interview at the recent IFA show with Ragip Balcioglu, chief commercial officer at Beko’s parent company Arçelik, he told kbbreview that Beko was also trying to expand business through kitchen studios.

“This will definitely be an expanding area for Beko,” he said. “We have the breadth and depth of products to serve the kitchen specialist market and its needs, as well as the replacement and the more traditional market.”

Balcioglu also revealed that Beko is “completely reshaping its approach to the built-in market to make it more attractive and competitive” to the kitchen studio channel. He said: “We call the whole built-in project ‘Think Kitchen’. It starts from the kitchen. Our aim, and we have started to do that, is to partner up with certain kitchen manufacturers so that we include them during the design phase of our products and learn the particular requirements of that market and adapt our products.”

“In Italy, we are partnering with kitchen manufacturers. In Germany, Europe’s biggest kitchen manufacturer, Nobilia, is our main partner. In France, Schmidt. And [there are] a number of other companies that we are growing with, and in the UK the requirements and approach is the same. Overall, we are preparing our product ranges and our specific operational requirements for this market.”

And he said that built-in products are a key driver for sales for Beko.

“We are a growing company both in the UK and Europe,” he told kbbreview, “which is quite nice as the markets are choppy at the moment, and that the growth is coming from built-in.”

“Our main driver for the past three years has been built-in. [As a percentage of total sales] we are at about 30% for built-in, which is close to the market, which I believe is around 25%-ish. The UK is slightly lagging behind France and Germany, but it is gaining on them rapidly.”

Beko is also actively expanding its built-in offering. Balcioglu explained: “Particularly on the cooking side. We have a complete new range of ovens, both Grundig and Beko, and we launched last year a complete new design – not just of the aesthetics but also the engineering, which was redesigned from scratch. That was a big investment. They have the Aero Perfect feature, which is a combination of how we design the temperature control and the fans so that temperature variations and energy efficiency are significantly improved.

“We also have new induction hobs, where we have significant product expansion and innovation and new features. The other biggest categories for us are dishwashers and cooling.”

He was also upbeat about Beko’s ability to supply product against a backdrop of continuing supply chain disruptions.

He told kbbreview: “Although the challenges are continuing in terms of supply of certain components, demand is decreasing, which will take some of the pressure off the supply chain. We are still seeing erratic component supply. In terms of components, we are able to switch very quickly from one component to another without affecting quality or function of products and that gives us an edge. And we are investing in enhancing capacity.

“During the Covid time, because kitchen remodellings and new kitchens, with people improving their homes, were all significantly up, we had some operational bottlenecks. Much less than the competition, I must say, but we had some challenges. But our instructions to all our production plants was to produce 100% of built-in orders first and whatever remains can be freestanding. That’s how we operated and that was a significant boost for us in terms of growth.”

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