Issue September / October 2007
Home innovation from Gorenje
1950 saw the birth of Gorenje in a tiny village that bears the same name.
Initially the company was involved in the manufacture of agricultural machinery and the provision of building materials and in 1958, it expanded its operations to the production of solid-fuel cookers. This was then followed by relocation to the nearby town of Velenje and the construction of new assembly facilities. From 1961 to 1970 Gorenje expanded its production to washing machines and refrigerators and became the leading household appliances manufacturer in Yugoslavia. The year 1961 marked Gorenje’s first significant milestone when it achieved its first export of 200 cookers to Germany.
The company then took its first steps in the establishment of a distribution and sales network across Western Europe, and companies were opened up in Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Australia and Italy. Predicting the changes to occur in the region congruent to the development of new market economies, Gorenje established further companies in Eastern Europe – in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia – from 1991 to 1996. This was swiftly followed by a strategic move of acquiring Mora Moravia, a.s., the cooking appliances producer from the Czech Republic.
With 57 years of experience in the production of large household appliances, Gorenje is today one of the eight largest manufacturers of household appliances in Europe and is also Slovenia’s largest sales exporter with 90 per cent of its products being exported. Its annual production and sales exceed 3.7 million large household appliances and these are available in 70 countries worldwide. Through its four principal brands – Gorenje, Sidex, Körting and Mora – the Group successfully achieved an impressive 1.12 million euros of consolidated net revenues from its sales in 2006.
The success of Gorenje is further highlighted in its achievement of numerous awards and recognition through the years. This year has been no exception for Gorenje with Planet GV and HRM magazine awarding a member of the Gorenje Management Board, Drago Bahun, with the Human Resource Manager of the Year 2007 on 18 April. This was proceeded by the accolade presented to Aleksander Uranc on 29 May as Slovenian Marketing Manager of the Year 2007. Apart from recognising its deserving employees, May also proved to be a memorable month when Gorenje’s black fridge-freezer made with 3500 CRYSTALISED – Swarovski elements – received the Plus x Award 2007 in the category of Ease of Use. This is the fifth Plus x Award for the company.
However, the excellence of Gorenje is proven every single day. On 18 October 2007 president and CEO of Gorenje, Franjo Bobinac was awarded as Primus 2007 – the acme of manager communication excellence. He’s heading the Gorenje Group with a mission based on motivation of open and transparent communication with all communities of the public. Thus, he contributes vastly to the distinctiveness, reputation and performance of Gorenje.
On top of that, on 10 October, the French Agency for Promotion of Industrial Creation ranked Gorenje’s SmarTable among the prestigious group of products displayed in Paris in Cité des Sciences at the Observeur 08 exhibition, held from 10 October 2007 to 2 January 2008.
SmarTable was presented for the first time at the 100 per cent Design Fair in September 2006 in London; this year it enchanted the French at the Foire de Paris Fair where it was nominated for a special prize for innovation – Le Grand Prix de l’Innovation. With various combinations of materials, SmarTable will be available in European markets by the end of 2007. SmarTable, with a completely built-in remotecontrol refrigerator in the centre of the table, is a globally unique innovation. A prestigious, bespoke appliance, the SmarTable is built using customerspecified materials, including stone, metal, glass or wood. Its unique feature is the central cylinder containing a completely integrated refrigerator that can be raised or lowered to the desired height by a remotely controlled electromotor, concealed in the table of the foot. Constituting the central part of the refrigerator are the revolving glass shelves with open and covered trays for storing food and drinks. The table is intended for more demanding users with unconventional living styles; it is also convenient for representative and business environments. SmarTable from Gorenje, is a detour from the customary way of thinking – it offers real flexibility, which is an increasingly appreciated characteristic in contemporarily designed products. This trendy piece of furniture can instantly adapt to the user’s wishes and requirements – one press of the button is enough to lower the refrigerator into the central cylinder of the table while the top blends seamlessly with the table surface. SmarTable will make anyone an excellent host and enable users to celebrate a major deal in style.
To display the likes of SmarTable and its other achievements and novelty products, Gorenje held a trade show on 2 October. The Gorenje Trade Show 2007 was a five-day event that was attended by 1700 Gorenje business partners from 30 different European countries as well as other parts of the world. On the final day of the show, the Gorenje doors were open to its end users. World debuts of Gorenje’s most recent accomplishments in the field of innovation and design concepts were on show, including products like Gorenje Pininfarina Black collection, fridge-freezer Gorenje Stary Night with 26,000 Swarovski crystals, new kitchen ambient with the Gorenje Ora-Ïto appliances, Compact XL conceptual kitchen for the modern home, the completely new freestanding household appliance – Qube, and the acclaimed SmarTable. Also seeing its Slovenian debut was the unique futuristic kitchen, which has returned to its hometown of Velenje after clocking up a 10,000-kilometre journey through the European capitals. Speaking at a press conference, Gorenje president and CEO, Franjo Bobinac said: “Socialising with business partners on ‘home ground’ has proven very successful, and in view of the near extinction of white good fairs, Gorenje Trade Show remains the event where business partners and customers can be presented with novelties, innovations and flagships, all at once.”
Looking ahead to the future, Gorenje has a strategic plan in place for 2006 to 2010. With a forecasted average annual growth of five per cent, its main vision is to become the most innovative creator of home appliances in the world.
Products: Large household appliances
Sites: Slovenia, Czech Republic & Serbia
Employees: 11,500 globally