Geberit's Mark Larden on the brand's most significant launch this year

InsightFeatures Tue 21st May 2024 by KBBFocus

Geberit's Mark Larden on the brand's most significant launch this year

Geberit's Mark Larden on the brand's most significant launch this year

As Geberit marks its 150th anniversary, UK MD Mark Larden reveals why the latest launch is such a departure for the brand, along with the support it gives its expanding retailer network.

Q: The company is celebrating its 150th anniversary – what key ways has the business evolved over such a long period of time?
A: Our 150 year anniversary marks a remarkable journey from a one-man business to a renowned international group. Geberit was established in 1874 in Switzerland, where the company has continuously evolved, setting industry standards and achieving milestones in innovation. The original lead-lined wood cistern was designed in 1904, followed by the first plastic cistern in 1952 and the world’s first concealed cistern in 1964 which changed the look of bathrooms across the globe. Today, Geberit employs more than 10,000 people globally, across 26 sites including our UK HQ in Warwick.

However, there is one thing that hasn’t changed in the past 150 years and that’s how we put our customers at the centre of everything we do. Our values and objectives have never changed despite growing from a small family business to the European market leader for sanitary products.

Geberit’s AquaClean Alba is an entry-level shower toilet focusing on the essential functionalities, using WhirlSpray technology for effective cleansing with a quiet TurboFlush system

Q: Tell us about the latest product innovations – why have you introduced them now?
A: Our most significant product launch this year has to be the AquaClean Alba, an elegant yet affordable shower toilet designed to bring our renowned hygiene and comfort features to a broader range of customers. This latest addition to our portfolio makes premium Geberit design and market-leading functionality accessible to every project, regardless of budget.

The AquaClean Alba has been designed with user convenience in mind. At its core is patented WhirlSpray technology, which delivers a gentle yet effective cleansing experience. Complementing this is the quiet TurboFlush 2.0 system alongside an ergonomic, rimless ceramic design that ensures optimum cleaning of the pan and uncompromising hygiene for the user.

Sustainability has also been a key consideration within the Geberit AquaClean Alba’s design. It is produced using a single-cast ceramic process without a separate trap cast, saving materials and energy. Additionally, the optimised packaging contains only essentials in one box, together with an installation aid, minimising volume and waste.

Geberit's wall-hung Acanto WC with TurboFlush

Q: Are the new product launches in response to any particular trends?
A: We’ve introduced the Geberit AquaClean Alba to market as shower toilets become increasingly popular in modern bathroom design as homeowners look to increase hygiene in the home. However, while these have been available from Geberit for a while, the initial cost has been a blocker for some. The Geberit AquaClean Alba was launched in response to this and is a fraction of the cost of other Geberit models.

Q: What support do you offer retailers and designers?
A: We work very closely with our retailers and designers to ensure we have a strong offering and cater for all of our customers. For instance, this year we’re introducing Geberit Mix & Match, which offers a wider selection of combination possibilities at the wash place by being able to combine bathroom furniture, washbasins and accessories from different ranges. Its uniform interfaces and standardised components also make installation easier. The upcoming launch follows feedback from retailers that suggested our customers want more variety.

And for retailers that are new to Geberit, we always work closely with its installers to educate them on the correct installation methods. As a manufacturer, it’s our responsibility to educate and train our retailers. In fact, 50% of our salespeople’s time is spent on it. It’s support like this that puts us ahead of our competitors.

Q: Are you currently looking to grow your retailer network in the UK?
A: We are continuing to grow our Select Retailer network in the UK and kicked off this year with a series of roadshow events to onboard new retailers into the fold and re-engage existing retailers. At each roadshow location (Warwick, Manchester and London) we showcased our latest product innovations and launched the Geberit AquaClean Alba to the mid-market retail sector.

Q: How is business at the moment?
A: It remains a challenging market. Like most sectors, we are waiting for inflation to come down and interest rates to reduce in the hope it will stimulate the RMI and housing market. While it has been a difficult couple of years for the industry, we remain optimistic about the future ahead of us.

Q: How will you be celebrating the 150th anniversary milestone?
A: We’re celebrating at various events throughout the year with our employees, customers and business partners alike. The celebrations include new product development, product launches and the release of an anniversary book about the company’s history, allowing stakeholders to reminisce about the past and look forward to a future filled with continued success. But, to commemorate this milestone year with our employees specifically, we’re launching a local initiative to support the local community. We’re calling it our ‘150 Acts of Kindness’ campaign. As part of the initiative, each Geberit UK has pledged their commitment to complete an ‘act of kindness’ throughout the year. These ‘acts’ can include anything from making a donation to local food banks and volunteering at a local community kitchen to helping out at a local care home. Alongside this, we are a patron of CRASH UK, a construction industry charity, and have pledged to match and donate any funds raised this year.

Side view of Geberit's Acanto WC

Tags: insight, features, geberit, mark larden, shower toilets

In other news