Fiskars a cut above the rest…
At the world’s leading garden trade fair in Cologne, September last year, Fiskars launched a revamped image through a range of new innovative garden tools, displayed in sleek new packaging.
Impossible to miss, Fiskars streamlined stand, kept in the company’s distinguished color combination of sophisticated black with a touch of orange, fully complimented the products’ smooth design.
Novelties included a new range of Loppers made from FiberComp material for a lighter, stronger construction, and featuring PowerGearII technology, Fiskars patented gear mechanism that through optimised force distribution boost cutting power when needed the most. Also introduced was Fiskars new PowerGearII FiberComp Hedge Shear with two pairs of gears: one to distribute the cutting power and a second to stabilise the structure when the product is in heavy use.
Fiskars was founded in 1649 in the small Finnish village of same name, when Queen Christina of Sweden granted Peter Thorwöste the privilege to manufacture cast iron and forged products. Today one of the Western world’s oldest companies, Fiskars has grown into a multinational corporation, present in more than 40 countries on four continents. Fiskars Corporation comprises Fiskars Real Estate Group, the two subsidiaries Fiskars Brands, Inc. and Inha Works Ltd, and is the largest stockholder of the associated company Wärtsilä. The real estate group handles the management and upkeep of 15,000 hectares of landed property. Inha Works Buster aluminium boats are market leaders both at home and in Europe. Fiskars Brands Inc. is in charge of Fiskars’ largest industrial operation. Although headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and with half of its sales being generated in the US, the company’s roots and soul are still to be found in Fiskars Village, where products are manufactured according to the strict Finnish standards for exclusive quality and design. The wealth of knowledge and experience accumul ted over its 358-year history has placed Fiskars in a leading global position in the manufacture of consumer products sold under such selected brand names as Fiskars, Zinck-Lysbro, Wilkinson Sword, Gerber, Raadvad and Montana. Fiskars Brands employs over 3000 staff worldwide.
“Fiskars Brands, Inc. is split into four business categories: Gardening, Houseware, Outdoor Recreation, and Crafting” says European Garden Category manager Roberto Bonfiglio. “Gardening is the largest business category worldwide and accounted for 50 per cent of Group sales in 2006”. “With the Fiskars brand we focus mainly on hand tools, like pruners, hedge shears, loppers, axes, stick tools, scissors and snow tools”, Roberto explains.
Following the recent consumer trend towards spending more time in the garden, the company has concentrated on major expansion of its garden sector and invested heavily in developing tools that reduce the effort demanded from the user. “Fiskars products are especially designed fo consumers that demand lightweight, durable tools and accessories to make cutting and digging less of a physical chore”, says Roberto.
The company has always maintained a firm focus on R&D, its innovative products are acclaimed for their straightforward functionality and its designs consistently attract industry recognition worldwide. For instance the globally renowned orange-handled scissors designed in 1967, with which Fiskars first introduced plastic handled scissors to the market. “Up to today we have sold an impressive 870 million units of those scissors, and we actually celebrate their 40th anniversary this year,” Roberto says. “The product’s success is due to the comfortable, ergonomic handles, its high-quality stainless steel blades that cut all the way to the tip, and the possibility for the connoisseur to adjust the blade tension by the screw joint.
“Innovation and new product development play a key role in our strategy to always be a step ahead of the market,” says Roberto. “According to our research, our main customers are passionate people, male as well as female, aged forty plus, who enjoy spending time in their garden and only want to use the best tools for their tasks. People like to escape from their hectic lifestyle and all stress into gardening as a recreational activity,” says Roberto. “The so-called ‘ageing population’ brings another exiting challenge to our industry, to provide products that best match the needs of current and future consumers, for instance by minimising the physical efforts demanded in gardening.”
Current garden trends reflect Fiskars mission to provide products that not only fulfill their functional task but also satisfy their user’s emotional needs and expectations for the ultimate gardening experience. The philosophy to always create user value rather than just functional products has given Fiskars a competitive edge in the evolution of the garden industry. This entails the exclusive use of excellent raw materials to guarantee durability and the ergonomic design that ensures the products being easy and pleasant to use.
Fiskars Brands’ global experience and distribution capabilities are a key strategic advantage. The company has a reputation for forging good customer relationships, continuously developing employee talent, and designing innovative and pioneering products to support its strong brands. “In all our work starting from product development, we focus on improving the overall user experience, reducing unnecessary fatigue and strains,” says Roberto. Using the latest in strong, lightweight materials enables the gardener to make more difficult cuts easier, and reliable products are safer to use and guaranteed to last longer. “We are proud of our long tradition of delivering top quality products and constantly being at the forefront of innovation. This generates trust and helps us remain a leader in our business,” Roberto states. Most Fiskars products have won several design, and ‘best in test’ awards.
“Our strategy is to bring a holistic approach to the market. We aim to build the brand in a consistent way across Europe, using an integrated campaign to reach our core target audience, focusing on black and orange colours to represent Fiskars products. During 2006 we developed a new look and feel for our packaging, simplifying product explanation via pictograms, and providing a more consistent and appealing image for our leading brand. This new image was successfully presented during the main garden exhibitions and fairs throughout the year,” says Roberto.
“Looking ahead to next year we expect to keep this momentum, as customers are impressed with our existing products and excited about our upcoming launches. The positive 2006 results highlight Fiskars ability to answer to the demand for market-driven innovation and consumer-oriented products, continuously being pro-active with new product developments,” Roberto concludes. Fiskars has traditionally driven innovation of tools that reduce the effort, fatigue and strains often associated with gardening. Ergonomic, high performance cutting and landscaping tools are designed to do the hard work for the consumer, to optimise the pleasure obtained from the gardening experience.
Fiskars Brands Europe
Products: Garden tools
Sites: Brussels, Belgium
Employees: 3000 worldwide