Cooking like a pro may have seemed to be an innate gift for only the most talented among us but that has all changed. BSH Home Appliances Corporation (BSH) makes it easy for even the most timid of everyday home chefs to look and cook like a pro. “Our kitchen appliances are designed with the savvy consumer in mind,” says Carol Rice, director of customer development for the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company. “Our products are highly innovative and very easy to use so they can turn anyone into a gourmet cook if they have the desire.”
Although relatively new to the U.S. market, BSH-built appliances have been appreciated by European home and professional cooks for decades. The company recently launched its small kitchen appliances nationally in Lowe’s Home Improvement centers throughout the country. “This is our first major national channel with our line of highly engineered, top-quality small kitchen appliances,” says Rice. “It’s a new brand position for Lowe’s as well in this premium category that includes kitchen machines, food processors, blenders, coffeemakers, and juicers.” Prior to the launch, these products were available only through retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and upscale kitchen boutiques and gourmet shops, says Marni Rader, brand manager for New Product Launches and Consumer Products.
Recipe for Form and Function
BSH Home Appliances Corporation is a division of German-based Bosch und Siemens Hausgeraete GmbH, and is the world’s third-largest appliance manufacturer. “BSH is a joint venture between the Robert Bosch Corporation and Siemens Corporation – both of which are very powerful and significant global manufacturers of a wide range of products,” says Scott Andrunas, product group leader of the Cooking Division. “Our products are innovative and highly engineered, and they are the result of a lot of technological research and development.”
BSH’s three significant brands – Thermador, Bosch, and Gaggenau – “can be described with one common theme, and that is they are high-quality, feature-rich products focusing on a combination of technology and aesthetic design that bring meaningful features to chefs of all levels,” Andrunas says. “Our products are not lofty or unattainable products – but they are engineered to bring real functionality and usability to the North American consumer.”
One very popular Bosch product, the Kitchen Machine, is available in a wide range of choices for every cook – “from the average person who cooks every day, to the person with a high-end gourmet kitchen who would like our hand-tooled beautiful stainless steel machine costing $1,500,” says Rader. The Kitchen Machine is a powerful, versatile, compact, lightweight kitchen tool with a wide assortment of attachments – making it a kind of one-stop-shop machine for a wide range of kitchen projects including blending, mixing, kneading, slicing, chopping, and food processing. “This one machine really replaces so many other kitchen appliances,” adds Rader.
The Bosch food processor, innovative in design and function, is also an aesthetic workhorse. “The focus of this product is really on food processing as opposed to mixing and it is available with a wide variety of accessories,” says Rader. “This extremely versatile appliance is really like having seven separate appliances all rolled into one because it is designed to do seven different functions including blending and juicing.”
Mechanically Engineered Jewels
It’s very easy to recognize that the Bosch brand of appliances is far and away above what the American public has been accustomed to for generations. “The form and function of some of our small appliances go beyond anything else you will find in the industry,” says Erika Young, marketing relations manager. “They are German-designed and German-engineered and we even have a series designed by Porsche.”
The company’s dishwashers represent another major appliance line for Bosch in the North American market. “As we venture into this new market, Bosch dishwashers offer an example of product dominance and the engineering success of BSH technology,” says Andrunas. He adds that a leading consumer magazine has rated Bosch dishwashers as number one and two for several years running. “Its unique features and abilities have really raised the bar for this industry.”
With the acquisition of the Thermador brand in 1998, BSH enhanced its portfolio with plants in Vernon, Calif., and LaFollette, Tenn. “We are also in the process of expanding our manufacturing plants in New Bern, N.C., where we began producing Bosch dishwashers in 1997,” Andrunas continues. “It’s an enormous undertaking with millions of dollars invested in state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, a state-of-the-art facility, and a highly skilled workforce. These new manufacturing facilities will focus on concepts development, product engineering, and production execution to cover all our brands.”
This major expansion is part of BSH’s growth plans and its intention to capture North American market share as the company brings new products to market incorporating the latest technologies available. “These facilities are in place to fuel the growth we expect,” Andrunas says.
Shifting the Paradigm
The level of production automation and operations efficiency these new facilities will offer will dramatically enhance the company’s plans for immediate and future growth. “These plants will enable us to build the highest quality products and quickly bring them to market for the consumer,” Andrunas says. “This expansion also represents our commitment to the local community in New Bern. We are one of the largest employers in the region and these products will be designed and built by the local community.”
Aggressive growth plans include ‘several-fold’ expansion with “ the opportunity to do that through shifting the paradigm in terms of giving the American consumer an alternative in these areas of products,” Andrunas says. As for the company’s role in the industry, especially in this new North American market, it clearly expects to be an influential market leader. “We define leadership position as meaning not necessarily a market-share position,” explains Andrunas. “Right now the North American market is dominated by four major appliance manufacturers. This will not change quickly or easily, but our leadership position will come from more than our just being another manufacturer of major home appliances. We intend to take a leadership position in developing the category by bringing technology, feature innovations, and high-quality expectations to the American consumer to the likes they have never before been accustomed to. We know that through these efforts, we will capture market share from the major manufacturers. The market is ripe right now for this type of approach and consumers are showing their willingness and eagerness to adopt and purchase products of this extraordinary quality.”