10.4 Customers

CUSTOMER RELATIONS

MANAGEMENT APPROACH CUSTOMER RELATIONS

Geberit provides its customers – notably plumbers and sanitary engineers – with a wide, proven range of training courses. In the reporting year, some 35,000 professionals were provided with education and further training on Geberit products, tools and software tools at 29 Geberit Information Centres in Europe and overseas. Furthermore, Geberit gave support to plumbers, architects and sanitary engineers via webinars on fire protection and sound insulation, drinking water hygiene and other issues. Around 90,000 customers became more familiar with Geberit know-how and products at external events, some of which were organised in cooperation with market partners.

Geberit’s product portfolio comprises more than 40,000 sales products, a range that calls for extensive know-how on the procurement, assembly and functionality of each product. This knowledge is essential in order to hone the specialist skills of the employees and prepare them for the challenges posed by the market, as well as to stand out as a company with qualified specialist personnel. In order to ensure that this know-how is kept up-to-date, Geberit has developed the Geberit Campus – an international learning platform for employees that can be used in every market. The Campus enables Geberit to centrally collect and provide know-how. Furthermore, interactive e-learning courses and seminars are offered at the Geberit Information Centres. Geberit products and areas of expertise such as fire protection and sound insulation are focal points of knowledge transfer.

For further information, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2018 > Customers.

CUSTOMER HEALTH AND SAFETY (GRI 416)

MANAGEMENT APPROACH CUSTOMER HEALTH AND SAFETY

For Geberit, high quality standards mean fulfilling customers’ requirements in terms of functionality, reliability and application safety to the greatest possible extent. Corporate Quality Management is responsible for ensuring that suitable framework conditions promote a quality culture throughout the company, and that all employees act in a quality-conscious and independent manner.

Products undergo a defined quality assurance process from the first draft. Product Development is responsible for ensuring that the products developed are safe and user-friendly, and that they comply with all standards and statutory requirements. As an independent department, Quality Management is responsible for defining, arranging and monitoring all necessary inspections to ensure that these requirements are met. A clear organisational distinction is drawn between Product Development and Quality Management. In addition, many products are also examined by external authorisation bodies.

Following market launch, an efficient handling of complaints with integrated error analysis, the initiation of sustained corrective measures and the continuous development of concepts for customer support takes place in cooperation with Sales, Production and Development. Geberit has achieved a high standard in the processing of complaints, and reacts directly and in a solution-oriented manner in each individual case.

Product Development and Quality Management are responsible for customer health and safety.

CONDUCTED HEALTH AND SAFETY ASSESSMENTS (GRI 416-1)

Generally speaking, Geberit products and services involve low risks for customers in terms of health and safety. Geberit nevertheless adopts a preventive approach within the scope of its comprehensive quality planning in order to test and ensure the health and safety requirements of all products from development to certification, through manufacture and storage, to use and disposal. Among other things, quality management includes an FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) as a precautionary measure to prevent errors and increase the technical reliability of products. Eco-design workshops are held in the course of product development in order to optimise the use of suitable and ecological materials. If products or their use involve an increased risk to health or safety, Geberit’s technical editorial staff ensures that this is communicated appropriately to customers, see GRI 417.

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS (GRI 416-2)

Throughout the Group, there were no court judgements or warnings against Geberit in the reporting period involving contraventions of regulations on the health and safety of products and services or product and service information.

The older shower toilet models Geberit AquaClean 8000plus and Geberit Balena 8000 were liable to develop a leakage if a certain nozzle cleaner was used over a prolonged period. In the worst case, this could have led to a smouldering fire. Three such cases of smouldering fires occurred in 2017 that caused only material damage. Comprehensive measures were implemented in 2018 to rule out this risk for all other owners of the corresponding shower toilet models. Sales of the nozzle cleaner that caused the problem were discontinued immediately. In addition, appropriate market information was promptly drawn up and sent to all wholesalers, plumbers and, to the extent known, potentially affected end users. Owing to the large number of devices concerned, not only the local Geberit companies and their service providers but also external service providers had to be called on for the required service assignments. The assignments were largely concluded by the end of 2018. Apart from the aforementioned incidents, there were no further damage cases.

MARKETING AND PRODUCT LABELLING (GRI 417)

MANAGEMENT APPROACH MARKETING AND PRODUCT LABELLING

Most of Geberit’s marketing activities continued to target plumbers and planning offices. Besides new or revamped digital tools, proven measures were continued – such as customer visits, training, and the publication of regularly updated technical documents, catalogues, brochures and magazines.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an interdisciplinary planning method for optimising the entire planning and building process and enables architects, sanitary engineers and building owners to share information efficiently. This helps them to avoid planning errors and improve productivity. In 2017, a dedicated team of BIM experts was put together to develop BIM tools and prepare BIM data within the Geberit Group.

Corporate Marketing is responsible for the labelling of products and services. Conveying product and application information in accordance with laws, standards and target groups is one of the main tasks of the Technical Documentation department that forms part of Corporate Marketing. A comprehensive portfolio of various document types and publication channels is available for this purpose. In the area of assembly and installation, Geberit focuses on multicultural and generally understandable images comprising detailed illustrations and guiding symbols. On top of this, more far-reaching information is provided for the plumber, architect and engineer target groups via various handbooks and skills brochures. In addition, product and safety data sheets are available for all products and target groups.

The end user target group is becoming more and more important in the conveying of product information, as Geberit is addressing end users with more and more products. Geberit ensures safe handling and correct labelling by means of detailed operating documentation based on the prevailing standards and laws.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PRODUCT INFORMATION AND LABELLING (GRI 417-1)

Products involving the use of electricity, gas or dangerous substances – or those containing such substances – need to be appropriately labelled in accordance with the prevailing standards and laws. This includes providing information about the target group and its qualifications as well as the intended use and the existence of substances subject to labelling requirements. The distributor/supplier must publish this information in a national language of the target market in accordance with the prevailing laws and regulations. Whenever possible, plastic components must feature material labelling in order to facilitate recycling.

Geberit has joined forces with the European Bathroom Forum (EBF) founded in 2017 to work on a new European water label that is to be used for a wide range of sanitary products. This is an all-encompassing, voluntary and flexible instrument launched by the sanitary industry to support EU goals on resource efficiency.

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH PRODUCT INFORMATION AND LABELLING REQUIREMENTS (GRI 417-2)

In 2018, there were no significant violations of applicable laws or voluntary codes.

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS REQUIREMENTS (GRI 417-3)

In the reporting year, there were no known violations of marketing communications requirements.

DIGITALISATION/BIM

MANAGEMENT APPROACH DIGITALISATION/BIM

A significant share of the company’s varied marketing activities is targeted at plumbers and sanitary engineers. This especially applies to the ongoing, personalised and frequently project-related support given to installation companies and planning offices by Geberit sales representatives. Digital tools are playing an increasingly important role here. Geberit further expanded personnel and skills within the Digital team at Group level, with the aim of developing and launching digital tools more efficiently in future according to the needs of the respective target groups.

The reporting year saw the launch and further development of various digital tools designed to respond to the needs of end users as effectively as possible. An “inspiration app” for end users, which was already piloted in the previous year, is now in use in Switzerland and France. A 3D planning tool was also developed, providing a creative platform for end users to design their future bathroom. Meanwhile, a new CRM system piloted in the United Kingdom allows Geberit to tailor its offer to the requirements of potential end users who are interested in sanitary products.

Geberit set up its online catalogue for craftsmen on a new high-performance platform. Information relating to products and spare parts will now be available from a single source and can be displayed on various devices. Information searches are intuitive, also enabling easy navigation on mobile devices at the building site.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an interdisciplinary planning method for optimising the entire planning and building process. Architects, sanitary engineers and building owners use BIM to share information efficiently. This helps them to avoid planning errors and improve productivity. For a number of years now, Geberit has been providing BIM users with support in the form of product data and calculation modules. During the reporting year, a specialised in-house team of BIM experts that was established in the previous year laid the groundwork for future BIM data processing.

DATA PROTECTION (GRI 418)

MANAGEMENT APPROACH DATA PROTECTION

When the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018, data protection also became a more important issue for Geberit, with the topic incorporated into the Geberit Compliance Programme.

Comprehensive measures for implementation of the GDPR were carried out in the reporting year under the leadership of the Group’s legal department. As well as ensuring that appropriate technical and organisational measures were in place to safeguard personal data and properly document the processes in which such data is processed, Geberit also issued data privacy policies and established processes. In addition, an external data protection officer was appointed for the entire Group, and has already conducted audits at numerous Group companies in Switzerland, Austria, Poland, the Benelux Countries, the United Kingdom and Sweden. From now on, these audits will take place on a continuous basis. Moreover, internal data protection coordinators were nominated and trained in all companies subject to the GDPR. Data privacy statements were produced or revised for websites, apps, and other such media.

COMPLAINTS CONCERNING VIOLATIONS OF CUSTOMER DATA PRIVACY (GRI 418-1)

In the reporting year, there were no known justified complaints concerning violations of customer data privacy.

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