UK kitchen manufacturer OMEGA PLC and fittings specialist GRASS have agreed a long-term brand partnership. Urbanisation, housing shortages, changes in purchasing behaviour, the growing importance of online business, price pressure, digital transformation, the smart home, batch size 1 manufacturing, increasing competitive pressure and, not least, Brexit – the challenges facing the European furniture industry are many. Reason enough for these two companies to combine their strengths, utilise synergies and work together to tackle the changes. In addition to joint marketing activities, the development of new sales concepts will be a major focus.
Jointly shaping the future of home living
OMEGA and GRASS have announced a wide-ranging collaboration. The goal is to strengthen the competitiveness of both companies and, in times of rapid changes in the furniture industry, to combine strengths and jointly master the challenges that lie ahead. “Albert Einstein once said that sharing knowledge is critical for progress. Forming the right alliances for progressive furniture concepts is therefore a logical and appropriate step,” says GRASS Group CEO Albert Trebo, commenting on the background to the forward-looking partnership. “OMEGA’s key competence is crafting quality kitchens. Our key competence is developing functional movement systems. Together, we’re a unique team of furniture specialists who can herald a new era in furniture making and marketing.” The brand partnership is aimed at enabling both companies to develop new furniture concepts, to ensure the manufacture of optimally matched furniture elements and functional components, to create the perfect offer for the relevant target groups, and to explore new sales channels – while preserving their unique brand attributes.
Two companies invest in the future
“Growth is only possible if you create the right conditions,” says Albert Trebo. In this respect, both brand partners are equally well prepared. Over the past seven years, OMEGA has invested some £25 million in the automation and expansion of its manufacturing base in South Yorkshire. In addition to an in-house paint spraying facility and a wide range of new automated manufacturing equipment, a new 76,000 sq. ft. warehouse has been built, enabling capacity to be doubled. GRASS also recently invested around 100 million euros in the future: in mid-2018, the foundation stone was laid for a new distribution and logistics centre covering 43,000 m2 in Hohenems, Austria. For the company belonging to the WÜRTH Group, this is the biggest investment in its history, marks a clear commitment to its Vorarlberg location and reflects the fact that the specialist for movement systems is setting its sights on growth.
The way we live is set to change
How will we be living in 15 years from now? Futurologists agree on one thing: by 2030, 70% of the world’s population will be living in megacities. Today’s metropolises will grow into megacities within a few years. Housing will become a scarce and unaffordable commodity. It is therefore inevitable that the requirements to be met by architecture and furniture will change completely. Where will we buy furniture in 15 years’ time? Will we actually still be buying it, or will it be hired or shared? Will the furniture showroom in the industrial area be the first port of call, or will we order our kitchens and furniture online? Perhaps it will all be entirely different. For many years, GRASS Global Brand Manager Harald Klüh has maintained an ongoing dialogue with trend researchers and other experts worldwide on the topics of the home, work and life in the future. He envisions the following scenario: “I could imagine home living in the future as being like staying at a hotel. We shall be using fully equipped homes, rather like today’s holiday apartments.” The question that arises with this vision is who will decide which furniture is placed in these “apartments”? Who will be the customers of OMEGA and GRASS in the future? The two companies intend to explore this and many other questions, and look for new solutions.
Project business as growth driver
In the next five years, Europe can already expect to see a growing demand for fully furnished properties. What has long become the norm in Asia, the Middle East, North America and the UK will also establish itself in Europe as a whole – large residential projects that are handed over to the purchasers or tenants on a turnkey basis. In contrast with today, fully equipped homes will be offered in the future. Kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedrooms will all be fully furnished and fitted, and ready to receive the occupants. Even the TV set, sound system and coffee machine will be included in the price of the package. “Housing projects of this kind have their own set of rules and their own particular requirements,” says Harald Klüh. “OMEGA is optimally equipped for this business and is the ideal partner for GRASS.”
OMEGA supplies high-quality British-made cabinetry and certainly ranks amongst the most ambitious kitchen manufacturers in the UK. Since its foundation in 1992, the company has evolved into a major player in the sector and is regarded as a pioneer in the areas of design, computer-controlled manufacturing and marketing. Its branded kitchens are sold through specialist retailers throughout the UK. Flat-pack or pre-assembled – OMEGA is one of the few furniture manufacturers who offer both options. This special feature makes the Yorkshire-based kitchen specialist an expert when it comes to providing advice and support for national and international property clients.
1 + 1 = 3. The whole is greater than the sum of the two brands
Harald Klüh regards collaborations as the key to success and sees the new brand alliance as a huge opportunity for both collaboration partners. He knows that collaboration between brands has established itself as a highly successful business model. Brands can mutually energise each other and together grow their business. Brand partnerships of this kind are always of particular interest when two areas of expertise harmonise and form a consistent and complementary combination. “When, for example, RECARO seats are fitted in the new FERRARI model or GRASS movement systems in the new OMEGA kitchen. Then both brands can profit from each other,” explains the brand expert. In addition to the reciprocal transfer of brand attributes, the highlighting of brand-name components raises awareness, enables differentiation and creates additional selling points.
OMEGA moved by GRASS
The importance of movement systems in the assessment of kitchens and furniture can be observed very precisely at furniture trade shows. When consumers step up to an item of furniture on display, their first reaction is always the same: they touch the exhibit and open a drawer, a door or a flap. Furniture can only be experienced by opening and closing it. Movement systems bring furniture to life. “Strictly speaking, what we contribute with our drawer, hinge and flap systems is not only superlative functional technology but also, and in particular, an emotional experience,” says Harald Klüh. “And to ensure that the value of this emotional experience is perceived by the consumer and understood as an added value, it’s important to draw attention to the special qualities of our movement systems. This is precisely what we hope to achieve through our brand partnership with OMEGA.”
Anyone who buys OMEGA should know that GRASS movement systems are inside
GRASS supplies to the world’s top-notch furniture manufacturers – be they Italian star designers, luxury craftsmen, fully automated volume manufacturers or the innovative cabinet maker around the corner. Fittings from GRASS make the difference, ensure perfect movement and have been proven millions of times over. Worldwide, 30 million households have kitchens with GRASS fittings. “We’re the leading global developer and manufacturer of functional movement systems for exclusive furniture,” adds CEO Albert Trebo. “We shall be contributing this expertise to the brand partnership with OMEGA.” The UK kitchen manufacturer has long recognised GRASS products as highly reliable, innovative functional components. OMEGA has been using movement technology from GRASS for almost 20 years. Leading this long-standing partnership towards a successful future is the goal of the agreed collaboration.
Despite the uncertainties of the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union, the companies OMEGA and GRASS have decided in favour of a long-term collaboration. “Working together will enable us to master whatever the future may bring,” says GRASS CEO Albert Trebo.