Together with Häfele: Direction for this century and the next

Häfele’s kitchen solutions at interzum Cologne

At the interzum Cologne trade fair this year, manufacturer of furniture fittings and architectural hardware Häfele unveiled a new corporate purpose: ‘Maximising the value of space. Together’.

Häfele’s new purpose and the ones before this — ‘Functionality for you’, and even before that, ‘More life per square metre’ — aimed to set the standard for the company’s strategic alignment, set the focus for their product research and development, and determine their approach to customer relations. But what makes this purpose particularly special is it marks the centenary for Häfele since their founding.

“This new purpose rounds up nicely what has been important [in our corporate strategy], and a new century calls for the further development of what we have been doing,” explained Dominik Fruth, regional director of Häfele.

For a business to celebrate its 100th anniversary is undoubtedly impressive, especially for a family-owned one. How does a company keep in touch with ever-changing trends, survive challenges that can topple even the most resilient enterprises, and thrive throughout a century?

Entrepreneurial excellence

One contributing factor to Häfele’s longevity is their emphasis on customer satisfaction. They cater to their customer’s needs, and they try to think from their customers’ perspectives.

“We are persistent in our passion to combine engineering principles and customer feedback to constantly innovate and create while challenging
the status quo, to provide better home solutions for our customers and partners,” Fruth declared, summarising their entrepreneurship culture.

Dominik Fruth, Regional Director, Häfele

Their new purpose reflects this, illustrating their aim of maximising the value of space together with their partners from the up- and downstream value chain — that is to say, architects, designers, furniture manufacturers, contractors, all the way down to the end users. “Essentially, Häfele looks to become an interlink for the whole chain,” Fruth said.

Furthermore, the group has a history of being as close to their customers as possible, evident from their global footprint: As of July 2023, they have 37 subsidiaries in six continents. This allows them to look at each market individually, making sure their products are market-specific because of certain test requirements or standards, while catering to country-specific needs.

For instance, the company released KOSMO in 2022, a range of smart kitchen storage solutions for Singaporean and South East Asian furniture manufacturers. The various solutions for base cabinets, corner units, wall units and tall units allow for storage flexibility with pull-out or -down solutions, enabling easier access for normally hard-to-reach items. In countries where space is a premium, solutions like this can save space while offering a more sophisticated interior design.

Fruth added: “It is not just about the user choice, but also about the user themselves. For example, a lot of our customers, be it younger couples or the older generation, are looking for solutions that save space, time and are user-friendly. And our solutions offer that, such as by allowing them to use corner areas in a drawer, and they do not need to reach all the way into a drawer to get their things.”

Such localisation strategies have helped them reach better into their desired markets, such as Häfele Singapore being established as far back as 1988 to penetrate the Asian and South East Asian markets. Häfele has also been sensitive to customers’ needs by offering quick, reliable and professional after-sales services, while being receptive to their feedback. The group also aims to perfect their logistic processes to service their clients all around the world more easily.

Curious to know more? Click here to read more in the July/August issue of Panels & Furniture Asia.