Home appliances have become almost indispensable for our modern daily life: they cool, heat, wash, dry and do other household chores. Today they do even more, such as protect the environment, save valuable resources, communicate with each other and automatically complete their tasks – as is already the case in smart homes. At BSH, consumers are our key priority. We develop innovations that simplify life, and satisfy needs that go beyond that. It’s our goal to always be first when it comes to our products of our brands.
Imagine the alarm clock rings. Time to wake up, activate your fully automatic coffeemaker via the Home Connect app before your get out of bed and prepare breakfast: warm the bread rolls in the oven, make your favorite coffee with the touch of one button, and fetch the chilled orange juice, butter and jam from the refrigerator. Quickly mix a smoothie, prepare scrambled eggs on the hob. Scenes such as this unfold every day in modern households – no matter where in the world.
This is exactly where BSH comes in: Our goal is to be so familiar with the needs of consumers that we create innovations that offer tangible benefits for consumers and lead the way with our developments. We have therefore introduced a user-centric approach in our product development. In our user experience labs around the globe, consumers test prototypes, think through ideas and provide vital insights into their own wishes and expectations. In collaboration with designers, engineers and sales experts, this gives rise to innovations that invigorate and ensure better quality of life in harmony with the environment.
A modern coffee machine with illuminated display and different selection options. In front of it a consumer wanting to prepare his or her favorite latte macchiato: lots of milk and a double shot of espresso. A little scrutiny, a simple touch on the display here and there and the machine starts to prepare the drink. What looks like an everyday scene is a small insight into our user experience laboratory in Munich. Not only coffee machines are set up here, but also washing machines, dishwashers and many other home appliances. Although the testers are aware of being observed during the unrehearsed operation of the machine, this does not affect their impartiality. Every individual function is put to the test, the tester's gaze is recorded using eye tracking, the user friendliness of the appliance is scrutinized in precise detail, and much more. Important conclusions can thus be drawn regarding products and prototypes, and possibly new user needs identified. The valuable test results are evaluated by product developers, psychologists and marketing experts, and incorporated into development. This produces home appliances that are easy to operate and meet consumers' wishes and needs.
In addition, Industry 4.0 is helping us to further improve the product quality with the help of Big Data analysis, and to deliver our appliances to consumers even faster, among many other benefits. That’s why we closely analyze and further develop the opportunities offered by automated production steps in the global production network as needs require. At the same time, we are investing in new, automated technologies to accurately meet consumer wishes with a variety of models as wide as possible. Modular product architectures that can be adapted flexibly to suit consumer requirements are pioneering in this regards. Through the integration of digital functions, contents and services, home appliances are tailored even more fully to consumers’ expectations. Industry 4.0 assembly lines identify each appliance right from the first production step and continuously monitor key performance indicators. Collaborative robots support the employees in individual work steps in the production processes. Individual workplace solutions are designed according to the latest ergonomic findings.
Whether it is leather upholstery, the navigation system or heated seats – anyone buying a new car chooses the features individually to suit their needs. What has long since been taken for granted when buying a car is now, for the first time, also becoming reality for appliances like kitchen machines from BSH. In Germany, for example, consumers can configure and directly order their personal kitchen machine with a special online configurator to reflect their personal taste.Individual configuration of products not only means consumers being spoiled for choice but also a major challenge regarding production and logistics. That’s because everything is individualized – from the product and the packaging to the delivery method. To build product variations of the kitchen machine, we have created an extremely flexible production concept that can implement both the current series production and batch production, while maintaining the same level of efficiency and without increasing costs. To ensure a smooth process, every ordered appliance model receives a code following receipt of the order. This code is then used to save all data pertaining to the appliance. It can therefore be electronically tracked. Based on this data, the laser printer prints, for example, the right nameplate on the packaging. Furthermore, the code also helps automatically trigger the correct testing procedure at the end of the assembly process, thus ensuring the high quality standards. Following the tests, the fully assembled products are equipped with the selected accessories and delivered the consumers’ homes latest two weeks after the individual configuration and online order.