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, software tools and installation skills 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 85,000 customers were introduced to Geberit’s know-how and products at external events, some of which were organised in cooperation with market partners.

Geberit’s product portfolio comprises around 40,000 articles, 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 eLearning 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 2019 > 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 Product Quality 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, Product Quality 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 Product Quality. 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 Product Quality are equally 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 installation, 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 result in 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.

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. Geberit is constantly increasing its activities in the area of Building Information Modeling (BIM), an interdisciplinary planning method that helps to optimise the entire planning and building process while enabling architects, sanitary engineers, building owners and building material manufacturers to share information efficiently, see Digitalisation/BIM.

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 increasingly important in the conveying of product information, as Geberit is addressing end users directly 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)

Three cases of incorrect labelling came to light in the reporting year, and these were all corrected.

Non-compliance with marketing communications requirements (GRI 417-3)

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


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. As part of the digitalisation initiative, a dedicated team at Group level and in selected test markets is involved in developing and launching digital tools that are tailored to the different 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 tool” for end users, which had been piloted in the previous year, is now in use in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France. A 3D planning tool was also developed, providing a precise and realistic platform for end users to design their future bathroom. Meanwhile, a new CRM system introduced in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and 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 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 construction site.

The reporting year also saw the release of a revised version of another tool designed for everyday use, namely the Geberit Pro app for craftsmen. This offers sanitary professionals support when it comes to the correct installation of Geberit products. Things are rounded off by other digital helpers, such as a calculator for using Mapress pipes in industrial applications or a self-learning programme for detecting actuator plates and concealed cisterns.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an interdisciplinary planning method that aims to optimise the entire planning and building process, while enabling architects, sanitary engineers, building material manufacturers and building owners 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. The team of BIM experts was completed in 2019 and forged ahead with its job of processing BIM data for Geberit’s entire product range. The team also developed and launched a plug-in for the Autodesk Revit planning software, which gives sanitary engineers direct access to compact 3D models that are always kept up to date, plus the corresponding planning parameters. The roll-out for the most important product categories took place in autumn 2019 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and also in markets outside Europe.

Data protection (GRI 418)

Management approach data protection

With the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force, data protection has also become an important issue for Geberit. As a result, the topic was incorporated into the Geberit Compliance System in 2019. Expansion and optimisation of the data protection processes and tools also continued in the reporting year. At the start of the year, an own, individual privacy policy was introduced in recruiting in the HR department. The eLearning module on data protection for employees is now available in 13 languages. Moreover, the topic of data protection was also incorporated in the management system and in reporting on the Code of Conduct. A further 19 Geberit companies were audited on data protection, including Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Germany. Furthermore, the Group’s central data protection organisation was also audited.

Complaints concerning violations of customer data privacy (GRI 418-1)

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


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