Clean Profit
    Category: Companies & People By : Sonya Angraini Read : 1126 Date : Friday, October 17, 2014 - 01:16:14

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    After selling its products in Indonesia for 25 years, German cleaning products firm Alfred Kärcher GmbH launched a subsidiary in Indonesia under the name PT Kärcher in the middle of 2013. The move was a way to demonstrate its commitment to the Indonesian market and tap into the growth prospects of the country. Roland Staehler, managing director of Kärcher Indonesia, says the plan is to develop its dealer network across the archipelago. “One of the important factors in the business of cleaning equipment and technology is to be as close to your customers as possible,” says Roland, 45, who previously worked as the chief marketing officer for BIMC hospitals in Denpasar and as a vice president of sales and marketing at PT Mercedes-Benz Indonesia.

    Kärcher was started by German engineer and entrepreneur Alfred Kärcher in 1935, who later invented the first European hot-water pressure washer for cleaning in 1950. The success of this washer inspired Alfred to expand into cleaning equipment. In 2013, Kärcher’s global sales reached $2.7 billion, and the company is still controlled by the Kärcher family.

    About 90% of the company’s products are not more than five years old and last year it launched more than 120 new products. Despite being relatively small now, the Indonesian market is seen as an important one for the company, says Roland. “Last year was the transition period from depending only from independent importers to being a full subsidiary,” he explains. “This year is when we start working as one entity.”

    On a global basis, Kärcher offers around 3,000 products from manual to electric cleaning equipment, used for both homes and offices. For Indonesia, the company only offers about 100 products, selected as appropriate for the local market. “You need machines with lower voltage and machines that are simple to use,” says Roland.

    Roland is not worried about market demand—everyone needs to clean their places, whether it is their homes, offices or shops. “This is a good message,” says Roland, although he notes that it could also be a challenge. “How do you reach everyone, how do you have the right solution for everybody because cleaning a warehouse will be completely different from restaurants or hotels where hygiene regulations are stricter,” he says.