Business report > Business and financial review
Innovation as central Geberit brand value
Because a clear commitment to innovation is key to Geberit's success, the Group again invested substantial resources in the development of new products and the improvement of existing products and technologies in 2012. In addition to features such as top-class quality, longevity and ease of installation, the new products also use water and energy efficiently while guaranteeing the highest possible level of hygiene and optimized acoustic features.
The Group's innovative power, which is above-average in a sector comparison, helps to ensure its sustained success. As successful research and development (R&D) is a prerequisite for success, the Group invested CHF 49.8 million (previous year CHF 48.4 million) or 2.3% of sales in the future of its products. Expenditures increased by 2.9% year-on-year. Additionally, as part of the → investments in property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, considerable sums were invested in tools and equipment for new product developments. The company applied for 22 patents in the past financial year, bringing the total for the last five years to 100.
All new product developments at Geberit go through a structured innovation and development process, which ensures that the Group's creative potential is used to the optimum extent and that the development activities focus on the needs of the market. To support its internationalization efforts, the Group maintains development competence centers of its own in China and the US. Customer benefits and the system approach are of central importance in all new developments.
Growing internationalization also affects new product launches
Various new products were launched on the market in 2012:
- Following the very successful launch of the Monolith sanitary module for toilets, the success story was continued in 2012 with the introduction of modules for the → washbasin and bidet. This bundles together the various usable spaces in a bathroom. Using the sanitary washbasin module as an example, this means that functions such as countertops, storage space and towel rails, as well as all the technology for fastening, water connections and traps, form a single unit that can be fitted with numerous commercially available faucets and washbasins. The same philosophy is behind the modules for toilets and bidets. The Monolith sanitary modules have been rewarded with several internationally recognized design awards.
- Last year, a → sanitary toilet module for the Chinese market which is unique in its segment and tailored to local needs was introduced.
- With the electronic lavatory taps, environmentally friendly products for the public sphere that reduce water consumption have been offered for several years. These taps have been rated in the top A category by the WELL water efficiency label, and their electronic controls ensure economical consumption. In 2012 a → new generator unit has been introduced which uses the energy of the flowing tap water to generate the required electricity, making these electronic taps entirely independent of mains current. The new generator is based on intelligent energy management that expediently unites use, ecology and practical installation in one device.
- The new → Sigma80 actuator plate works touch-free and thus meets the highest standards for design, hygiene and comfort. The excellent dual-flush mechanism, which has been rated in the top A category by the WELL water efficiency label, can be activated easily by placing the hand in front of the light field available in five different colors. Everything else is done by the servo technology integrated in the cistern.
- In the reporting year Geberit also launched a → concealed cistern developed specifically for the needs and installation methods of the Indian market. This product will be manufactured in time-tested quality from the second half of 2013 in the new Geberit plant currently being built in India.
Several new product launches are planned for 2013:
- With its simple, modern lines and wealth of innovative technology, the → new Geberit AquaClean Sela shower toilet is a compelling product offering a high level of convenience. In adding this model, Geberit is supplementing its line of shower toilets with a complete solution that has been fundamentally redesigned and fits into nearly any style of bathroom. The shower function, which uses aerated water for cleaning, is the main feature of the new shower toilet. This not only gives a pleasant feeling of cleanliness, but also reduces energy consumption.
- The company's → market position in China and Southeast Asia will be extended further with new and innovative products and an expanded product range that will set new bathroom trends. In 2012 Geberit was right on target with the Monolith sanitary toilet module adapted specifically to the needs of the Chinese market. This success was reason enough to make this exceedingly well-accepted product even more appealing with new colors and patterns. The concealed cistern launched successfully in India in 2012, which is sold together with the ceramic bowl, will now also be introduced in China and Southeast Asia. The cistern has an environmentally compatible dual-flush mechanism that reduces water consumption and is more efficient than traditional pressure flushing valve systems, as it needs less water pressure and smaller piping diameters. This product should replace the old in-wall cisterns.
- Following their optical and technical redesign, the → Sigma10 and Sigma50 actuator plates are expected to set new trends in the design market.
- The new → sound insulation for the Pluvia roof outlet solves the problem of irritating gurgling sounds in the roof outlet by removing the source of the noise. This adds a totally new and unique product to the globally successful Pluvia roof drainage system. This innovative product should further cement Geberit's position in the market as an acoustic specialist.
- To ease the daily work of Geberit’s most important customers, i.e. plumbers, the tried-and-tested → welding machines for polyethylene pipes were improved further with the aim of reducing the weight without sacrificing their robustness, improving the functionality and operation in many small details, and simplifying the conversion of the machine from one pipe diameter to another.
For more details on new products, see the → Product Magazine 2013.