Miele has come a long way from producing butter churns in Germany over a 100 years ago. The family owned and operated company still has appliances which can churn butter but they can do a whole lot more too. From heating, cooling and cleaning the home to refrigeration, cooking, and dishwashers, they’ve become the one stop shop for high end, technologically advanced home equipment.
Miele, is a household name in Europe where Germany still accounts for around 30 percent of its global sales of $5.86 billion (in its 2016-17 fiscal year). The lucrative US market has been in its crosshairs for some time, where it’s selling its reputation for well made, innovative good old German efficiency. Appliances Connection talks to Kevin Pchola, their head of Event Management and PR, about all things Miele.
APPLIANCES CONNECTION: Miele is privately owned and, unlike many other companies, based firmly in Germany, using German designers and engineers. How do you believe that has helped it grow and innovate?
KEVIN PCHOLA: German brands have a history of developing products built to last and perform to the end user’s delight. Miele started and still is a family-owned company and believes in the motto “Immer Besser” (translated: Forever Better), that was developed in 1899. We continue to make products that will make a user’s life forever better.
Miele has many standards but a few include developing products that will perform, will last 20 plus years and have a user benefit. Our brand will not sell a product with the Miele family name on it until we know it will meet our standards.
AC: Smart appliances are always in the news these days. Where do you see technology taking appliances?
KP: Technology is so captivating. However, because technology is ever reinventing itself, our research and development team is working years ahead to ensure we will have the very best product when it hits the market. However, Miele is not about gimmicks. Our technology starts on the inside. It is what is not visible to the eye. Going back to what the Miele standards are we want to ensure the product will make the user’s life better.
For us, we see technology being seamless and familiar to other devices and products we will use on a daily basis. We also see it being very intuitive. The last thing a consumer wants is a barrier regarding how the product operates. And to continue the statement about being intuitive, we see technology making people’s lives better. Our lives are getting busier each year. So future technology will benefit our hectic lives.
AC: Steam ovens and combi ovens are an area that Miele has had a lot of success and press recently. What are other new innovations that Miele is excited about?
KP: In the kitchen, we are continuously proud of our combi-ovens (the speed and steam, respectively). While the appliances have been on the market for years now, we are still in the early stages of consumer adoption. Consumers still like and want a microwave but the Miele Combi-Speed oven is a 3-in-1, which includes a microwave. So not only is a consumer getting that benefit they are also getting a convection oven and the ability to use both in a combination mode.
Similar story with the Combi-Steam oven. It’s a convection oven but incorporates steam cooking, which has many benefits including healthier eating. As for a new product, which pairs well with the steam oven, we now have a vacuum sealing drawer. It’s the size of our 24” warming drawer but provides at least eight uses including sealing food for storage, resealing bags, preparation for canning, and marinating food that might then be cooked in our steam oven using the sous vide mode.
In laundry, we are excited about our new W1 washing machines and T1 tumble dryers, which brings new “intelligent” technology to cleaning performance, gentle fabric care, user convenience, and proficiency. The W1 Washing Machines incorporate three models in its line-up. Each model is equipped to provide the user with ultimate cleaning prowess, select models features groundbreaking processes: TwinDos, CapDosing and QuickIntenseWash, which optimize the precision and process of washing. There are two model options for the new T1 Dryers. The T1 Dryer stands out due to the unit’s ventless, heat-pump and PerfectDry technologies that flawlessly and gently dry large loads with incredible efficiency.
AC: Are there any products in the company’s recent history which proved to be a gamechanger, where their success led Miele in a new direction or sped up its innovation and promotion in one area?
KP: A few categories come to mind, first being our ranges. Having launched a selection of ranges in 2015, there has been an increased demand in options and price points. Our range options now include sizes from 30 to 48 inch with the 36 and 48-inch units having customized cooktops. Additionally, due to the need we created a 30-inch dual fuel range with our DirectSelect operation to hit a very attractive entry-level price point.
Similar to the newest range, our refrigeration line has been hugely successful, therefore Miele unveiled a freestanding PerfectCool bottom mount refrigerator option to provide customers with a Miele product used as a replacement product or to fit a cabinet niche made for a slide in unit versus built in.
AC: Competition is tough in the appliance business with a lot of good companies putting amazing products. If someone is perhaps thinking about a Miele dishwasher and oven but another company’s range and fridge why should they pick Miele for everything?
KP: Ultimately, the user can select what they think is best for them. But they should consider a few areas before completing a kitchen with different brands. First is uniformity. From the technology and design of a Miele appliance, the owner can be familiar with the usability of the interface and can have a seamless branded look.
Additionally, think about the post-sale activity for such items like adding or replacing items and the service and maintenance. Why remember who to call for the mix of appliances in the kitchen. Having one central number to call will make it easier on the owner.
AC: What kitchen appliance would you love to see invented in the next decade?
KP: Not sure what the exact appliance is or what it would be called, but the continuation of appliances that are making our lives easier. The kitchen has become the gathering area and entertaining space so an appliance that will allow the homeowner to be with the guests more and not having to run around and not get to focus on their family and friends.
AC: Miele is very established in Europe and in luxury properties in the US. Who are Miele’s main American buyers if you can distinguish it?
KP: The Miele buyer does not differ too much from the European customer. Miele is for the customer that appreciates products that have a heritage of creating products that will perform as advertised, last a long time, and make the user feel good about owning and utilizing all the features and benefits of the product.