Today, consumers in Serbia see Miele as a synonym for quality, durability, innovation and use value.
For a whole decade, Zoran Djurić, General Manager of Miele Serbia and Romania, has been successfully running the company. Miele’s slogans is “Immer Besser” and the company is one of the market leaders in innovation.
What sets the Miele brand apart from other brands in the industry?
In all the countries in which it operates, Miele cultivates a unique business customer-centred concept, which is seen in our uncompromising commitment to quality and continuous work on innovating our products. We have applied this recipe in Serbia as well, and we can proudly say that consumers in our country today see Miele as a synonym for quality, durability, innovation and use value.
This is primarily because Miele has always upheld its mission of producing devices with a guaranteed long lifespan, even during the heyday of the throwaway culture. The fact is that the consumer electronics market today is flooded with devices that are unreliable and break down very quickly, which makes consumers timid and sceptical when shopping. The situation is completely different with our brand – every device that comes out of our production lines undergo specialized tests that simulate 20 years of continuous use.
The aforementioned commitment to fundamental values and long lifespan is an important but not the only reason why an increasing number of customers in Serbia trust us. Miele is one of the market leaders in innovation. Guided by the priorities and needs of our customers, we focus on improving, innovating and integrating new technologies into our devices in order to make everyday tasks simpler and more efficient, but with the top results of the use.
The situation is completely different with our brand – every device that comes out of our production lines undergo specialized tests that simulate 20 years of continuous use
How would you rate the business year behind us?
The year behind us was indisputably marked by the coronavirus pandemic, but thanks to having a strong brand, top-notch product range and following trends in communication with the target audience, we have managed to achieve great results in Serbia and surpass the 2020 turnover while recording a significant growth of 37%. Thus, we have continued the positive trend of double-digit growth, which year on year, puts us on an equal footing with economically stronger markets.
The fact that, in times of uncertainty, consumers prefer brands that offer them security, and that they are ready to spend more money than originally planned on a premium device that guarantees longevity certainly contributed to our good business results.
What novelties can we expect to see from Miele this year?
The positive trend that we have been recording year on year motivates us to be even better in the future, so every year, we invest in further growth and development of our brand in Serbia. In the coming period, we plan to expand the network of our showrooms and our team outside Belgrade, which will give consumers across our country the opportunity to have a unique shopping experience by which Miele Experience Centres have already become recognizable in the capital.
We also plan to expand the range of services provided by our Experience Centres in the future and present them as an ideal place for organizing team building events. Experience from previous culinary evenings has shown us that people have a lot of fun when they participate in activities such as cooking, so we believe that this will be a complete success for colleagues from other companies who want to relax and boost their team spirit with this creative activity.
How different are Serbian and Romanian markets and how difficult or easy is it to apply German standards in Romania, but also in Serbia, since the country is not an EU member?
We can say that the Serbian and Romanian markets are very similar character- wise, but that size makes a significant difference here. Furthermore, Romania is currently one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union, which is reflected in the market too. Business conditions are different, but the EU is a global market, which entails much simpler international business processes, especially in the segment of imports and customs clearance.
Another unique feature is that, unlike the Serbian market, the market in Romania requires a decentralized approach where each of the larger cities can be viewed as a micro-market for itself. In terms of standards, it is not difficult to implement German standards in Serbia or Romania, but each country has its own cultural idiosyncrasies that are reflected in corporate culture. Having a good organizational structure and dedicated managers are indispensable parts of this process.
We also plan to expand the range of services offered by our Experience Centres in the future and present them as an ideal place for organizing team building events
What does Miele, as an employer, offer to its employees?
Miele was founded as a family company, and we are trying to maintain that relationship even today when we have almost 21,000 employees worldwide. As a company, in addition to the competitive working conditions that are implied, we strive to offer our employees the opportunity to experience all the benefits of working in an international company, to improve and progress, as a result of their work. On the other hand, we expect from our colleagues an honest relationship and continuous two-way communication, which we encourage with initiatives such as Pioneering 4/8. Pioneering 4/8 is a very dynamic online event in which over 250 of our colleagues from 7 SEE countries took part. They were split into 25 working groups who worked simultaneously. As a result, we collected over 400 ideas on how to improve our business. We are very proud of events like this, which we hold to fulfil two main goals – to better inform all colleagues, regardless of their position, about the company’s strategy for the next period, but also to actively involve them in the process of creating this strategy by hearing their opinions, needs, suggestions and initiatives. As an employer, we need to hear each of our colleagues because we are aware that each of them is creating the future of our brand and company.
What is your view of the past decade during which you have been successfully managing Miele Serbia?
Looking back over the past ten years, I am very proud of everything we have achieved and without being too modest, I can say that we have achieved a lot. We have managed to position ourselves on the market map, and we have been improving our team on a daily basis which ensures a bright future for the company in Serbia. Also, we are recognized as a good and reliable partner and employer. For me personally, this period brought a huge experience and a chance to improve my knowledge in all segments. However, the realization that every day is an opportunity to learn something new and that only in this way can we be “forever better” than ourselves, which the company’s motto that I also believe to be true, is the greatest benefit.