The German domestic appliance manufacturer Miele has been going from strength to strength since its inception back in 1899. One of the most respected and trusted premium kitchen appliance brands in the world, Miele products are known for their exceptional build quality and durability. The company’s unwavering commitment to the continual pursuit of excellence in everything it does is enshrined in the strapline: Immer Besser (forever better).
Made to last
Stories abound of service callouts to customers reporting a first ever fault with their 30-year-old Miele washing machines. Incredibly, after a successful repair, they’re then said to have been advised by the Miele engineer that a replacement purchase shouldn’t be necessary for at least another decade.
In one instance, Markus Miele himself reportedly got personally involved in sourcing a replacement door for a customer’s timeworn vacuum cleaner. He got the door but felt disappointed with the service outcome when he failed to obtain one in the correct colour!
Certainly, the company’s near evangelical devotion to keeping their appliances working in perpetuity sets them apart from the competition in this crowded marketplace, and is surely one of the reasons why brand loyalty is so high.
It comes as no surprise that Miele now has a cupboardful of glittering international awards, including the highest UK consumers’ accolade – Which? Home Appliance Brand of the Year – which Miele was awarded in both 2015 and 2016.
A family affair
A family owned business started by business partners Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann back in 1899, the company is headquartered in the North Rhine Westphalian town of Gütersloh, Germany. Today’s Managing Partners are Markus Miele and Reinhard Zinkann Jr, both great-grandsons of the original founders.
Family is hugely important at Miele. The company is proud to be part of the German Mittelstand community of privately owned businesses, and all Managing Directors past and present are direct descendants and co-owners of the founding families. Without any external shareholders and being completely self-financed, Miele can afford to take the long-term view.
Co-proprietor Reinhared Zinkann Jr explains: ‘We see competitive advantage in our independence. Our independence is our strength. We’re able to think in generations. It’s only possible because we’re independent and auto-financed. Yes, of course you can grow faster with equity from the stock market or wherever, but we think we can only grow healthily and sustainably by thinking long-term.’
Value for money
With Miele appliances, the old adage applies: you get what you pay for. As a premium brand of household appliances specialising in big ticket items including washing machines, dishwashers, ovens and fridge freezers, prices are what you might call reassuringly expensive.
Zinkann remains unfazed about the price positioning of his brand. “Yes, our customers spend a little more on washing machines, but they also get more. I received a letter from an elderly lady in East Germany who said she was too poor to buy a different brand […] She had used her Miele washing machine for more than 30 years and worked out it was the cheapest washing machine she had ever bought.”
“If your product breaks down after five or six years, the cost of the service call is nearly coming to the cost of the machine, so you’re paying for it a second time. If you have a Miele machine, this can’t happen or shouldn’t happen. Even if something happens, our service technician can update the machine to the latest standard, which gives you the feeling of having a new product,” he says.
The higher prices can also be explained in terms of the company’s manufacturing strategy. More than 90% manufacturing takes place in Germany, meaning a tight knit operation based around Miele’s own factories.
Quality control is rigorous too. As part of the company’s culture of continuous improvement, all machines are tested for 20 years’ use. And while other manufacturers will source parts from around the world to keep costs down, Miele makes all components; nothing is outsourced.
In fact, Miele is so confident about the build quality that appliances come with generous parts and labour guarantees.
Design and innovation
Recent trends have shown that kitchen appliances are becoming increasingly about aspiration. Just like the Mercedes on the drive or the latest iPhone slipped into a Mulberry handbag, contemporary kitchen brands need to deliver more than mere functionality.
Miele are responding to the call for exceptional design and technical innovation with consummate ease: ‘Miele customers have high expectations for the performance and the environmental friendliness of their domestic appliances. People who buy Miele are quality conscious and have style.’
Offering a covetable range of built-in kitchen appliance in a wide range of colour options to coordinate with any luxury kitchen design, Miele believes in clean lines and timeless elegance, combined with state-of-the-art product features to satisfy the highest demands of its discerning contemporary clientele.