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Kärcher UK celebrates new home
Kärcher, the pioneering German cleaning technology company, officially opened its purpose-built UK headquarters recently, marking the end of a five-year project to relocate its rapidly expanding UK operations. The official opening was presided over by Hartmut Jenner, Kärcher's global chief executive & chairman of the Kärcher Management Board.
At almost 7,500sq.m and accommodating office, warehouse and conference facilities, as well as Kärcher's all-important training Academy and retail space, the new premises is, it turns out, a far cry from the company's very humble beginnings. Today Kärcher UK employs over 300 UK staff and has sold over 15 million machines - but speaking at the official opening, Hartmut Jenner explained how it very nearly didn't happen...
In the 1970s a lone salesman was trying to promote the use of pressure washers to build a network of UK dealers - without success. And the UK's Kärcher story could so easily have ended there, had it not been for this man taking a chance... Unprompted, he turned on his pressure washer at a busy York cattle market and started washing down muddy trucks. By lunchtime that day he'd sold his first machine.
This valuable lesson - that discussing cleaning challenges with customers and showing them products in action was vital - has been pivotal to Kärcher UK's growth, and still holds true today. Kärcher prides itself not on selling machines, but on providing solutions; its machines, accessories, detergents (specifically designed to optimise the performance of the machine) and after sales service all combine to deliver ideal cleaning solutions.
It's why the new building includes a training Academy three times larger than its predecessor and the premises include the UK's 19th Kärcher Centre - the 562nd Kärcher Centre in the world.
Competence Centres for all things cleaning, Kärcher Centres are open to both commercial users and consumers. Staffed by friendly, knowledgeable Kärcher people who are happy to provide advice on specific cleaning challenges, it's a place to get hands-on with the product to ensure it's exactly right for your needs and to see firsthand how a Kärcher solution 'makes a difference'.
So it was fitting that the ceremonies commenced in Kärcher Centre Banbury with employees, the project's building contractors, journalists and local dignitaries gathering to formally mark the occasion.
The facilities, conveniently located off the M40 between London and Birmingham, are already proving a hit with customers; these customers are invited to make use of the training Academy and conference spaces. Hartmut Jenner went on to explain:
"An innovation-driven company like Kärcher has an ever-evolving portfolio so it's important to provide a place to allow people to use the latest machines and learn how to master difficult cleaning tasks; the Academy here has 27 different floor types to help replicate many different cleaning situations."
When it comes to cleaning solutions there is no one quite like Kärcher. With the largest range in the industry bar none, the family-owned enterprise has come a long way since Alfred Kärcher's first inventions and is now 12,000 employees strong with an unrivalled portfolio of over 3000 machines - providing solutions from industrial concrete stripping, municipal road sweepers and floor scrubbers to domestic window cleaning and garden watering solutions. And of course, pressure washers; after all - they're where the Kärcher story first began.
Commenting on the opening, region president and UK managing director Simon Keeping says: "The opening of our new UK HQ was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to thank everyone for the part they played in the move to Brookhill Way. I am very proud of our new Kärcher Head Office - and all the people who work there."
Kärcher in the UK is a £130m+ subsidiary of the German parent, Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG, based near Stuttgart, Germany. Worldwide, the family-owned business employs 12,000 people in 65 countries and 100 companies. In 2016, Kärcher achieved a global turnover of EUR 2.33 billion, the highest in its history.
The official ribbon cutting picture shows (from left): Mark Venner, chief operating officer Kärcher UK; Victoria Prentis, former Conservative MP and current candidate for Banbury; Hartmut Jenner, Kärcher chief executive & chairman of the Kärcher Management Board; Mayor Cllr Colin Clarke; Simon Keeping, Kärcher region president UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
1st June 2017