Marking the end of a five year project to relocate the UK operations of Kärcher, the official opening took place recently and was presided over by Hartmut Jenner, Kärcher's global chief executive and chairman of the Kärcher management board.
At almost 7500m2 and accommodating office, warehouse and conference facilities, as well as Kärcher's all-important training academy and retail space, the new premises is a far cry from the company’s very humble beginnings. Today Kärcher UK employs over 300 staff and has sold over 15 million machines - but speaking at the official opening, Hartmut Jenner explained how it very nearly didn’t happen.
In the 1970s a lone salesman was trying to promote the use of pressure washers to build a network of UK dealers - without success. And the UK’s Kärcher story could so easily have ended there, had it not been for this man taking a chance - unprompted, he turned on his pressure washer at a busy York cattle market and started washing down muddy trucks. By lunchtime that day he’d sold his first machine.
This valuable lesson - that discussing cleaning challenges with customers and showing them products in action - has been pivotal to Kärcher UK’s growth, and still holds true today. It’s why the new building includes a training academy three times larger than its predecessor and the premises include the UK’s 19th Kärcher Center - the 562nd Kärcher Center in the world.
Kärcher Centers are open to both commercial users and consumers. Staffed by knowledgeable Kärcher people who are happy to provide advice on specific cleaning challenges, it’s a place to get hands-on with the product to ensure it’s exactly right for your needs and to see firsthand how a Kärcher solution ‘makes a difference’.
So it was fitting that the ceremony commenced in Kärcher Center Banbury with employees, the project’s building contractors, journalists, and local dignitaries gathering to formally mark the occasion. The facilities, conveniently located off the M40 between London and Birmingham, are already proving a hit with customers. Hartmut Jenner went on to explain: “An innovation-driven company like Kärcher has an ever-evolving portfolio so it’s important to provide a place to allow people to use the latest machines and learn how to master difficult cleaning tasks. The Academy here has 27 different floor types to help replicate many different cleaning situations.”
Region president and UK managing director, Simon Keeping, said: “The opening of our new UK HQ was fantastic. It was a great opportunity to thank everyone for the part they played in the move to Brookhill Way. I am very proud of our new Kärcher head office - and all the people who work there.”