Electrolux takes dealers inside £250k training hub

Dealers were today given the opportunity to view Electrolux’s new UK innovation centre, with the manufacturer revealing for the first time that the facility represents an investment of some £250,000.

The facility has been purpose-built at Electrolux Professional’s head office in Luton and is thought to be the largest of its type in the UK. It includes an extensive showroom, full working kitchen, prep areas, conference room and a separate demo area for laundry equipment.

Those in attendance were given guided tours of the facility by Electrolux sales and marketing staff, and had the chance to interact with the company’s development chefs.

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Electrolux’s head of region for the UK and Ireland, Doug Walker, said he expected the innovation centre to become an important part of its sales and support offering.

He told dealers this morning: “We have what I believe to be too low a market share in the UK, especially for a brand the size of Electrolux, so our whole world in this business is about increasing the market share. And this facility is very much part of that. The second phase of this will be the feedback that we get from you about how we improve it and the kind of equipment that we need to put in for the best use of your customers.”

The innovation centre will serve as a place for Electrolux dealers to bring customers that want to see the equipment close up, test it, and cook on it with the support of Electrolux development chefs. Walker said dealers were also welcome to train their own technical staff on the equipment and use the meeting facilities available.

Coincidentally the launch of the innovation centre comes in the same week that Electrolux’s old foodservice office in Birmingham finally closes following the transfer of staff to Electrolux’s HQ in Luton over the last few months.

Walker said the decision to shut that office and move the foodservice equipment business to the main Electrolux site, where it sits side-by-side with its professional laundry division, is one of the reasons the innovation centre has been made possible.

“In order to create this facility and for the activities we are doing, unfortunately it has meant we have combined two offices into one, so the Birmingham office has been gradually wound down and Friday is the last day of operation there. Whilst it is not the greatest way of doing it, it is the right decision for the business.”

Walker said the structural changes that had occurred, including the cost of the move, would take a heavy toll on Electrolux Professional’s profitability this year, but only because it has chosen to absorb all of the cost in the same financial year.

“If you are going to have a bad period, it seemed better to get it out of the way in one year, so we have an improvement coming next year,” he said. “As a business in the UK we are 10% up on last year and I don’t think the market has grown by 10%, so that leads me towards the fact that we have increased our market share, which is the target.”

Electrolux will open up the innovation centre to dealers for a second day of tours tomorrow.

See pictures of Electrolux’s innovation centre in our online photo gallery here.

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