2011 marks the 90th birthday of Berndes, a German, former family owned company whose name is synonymous with non-stick coated cookware. Founded in 1921, the company revolutionised the cookware market with the production of a pan made of cast aluminium and featuring non-stick coating. Developing over the decades into an innovative leader in manufacturing this style of cookware, Berndes is today at the cutting edge of the industry: “Non-stick cookware simply did not exist before Berndes came along, and for 90 years the company has held onto its position as the market leader in its field,” states Marcus Linnepe, managing director of Berndes. “Today the company works on a global scale through its subsidiaries and distributors with its major markets existing within Europe, Asia and the United States.”
Berndes’ motto is that ‘quality does not happen – quality is made’, and it is this quality that has made the company stand out over the years. Based on decades of experience and constant research, this quality is coupled with state-of-the-art designs and innovations: “Aside from being innovative with new products and technologies, one of the core strengths is the passion Berndes’ employees possess and this really drives the business forward,” Marcus continues.
Equally important is the relationship between the company and its suppliers: “From a quality point of view, Berndes’ suppliers are so vital to its success, and because of this they are involved in everything the company does from the very beginning,” Marcus says.
At the forefront of the company’s work in 2011 is the launch of a new product portfolio featuring three unique product lines called Clever, Perfect and Professional, designed for the home, for chefs with high quality demands and elite chefs and fans of contemporary designs respectively: “The cookware market is not as understandable as it could, and probably should be, so one of the company’s aims is to try and change this and eliminate customer confusion,” Marcus explains. “Moves like this are important to maintain the position the company has achieved and these new products have already been extremely successful. So much so in fact that the company actually experienced minor inconveniences in shifting the goods, simply because it did not expect such a large volume of orders.”
Alongside developing and launching new products, the company has also spent considerable time and resources investing in both machinery and people: “A particular recent success was the investment in a new ceramic coating machine. This came about as a way of capitalising on the demand within the market for more colourful applications,” Marcus says. “Since using this machine the company has been selling white, and other coloured, cookware in extremely high numbers and this has allowed it to make further investments in buildings, marketing and other business areas.
“Berndes is also investing like never before in the comprehensive training of its staff, because it is the company’s philosophy that by hiring the best people and training them to the highest standards you will reap the desired rewards. Training is so important as, at the end of the day, the important element of the company is the people working for it.”
Reaching its 90th anniversary is obviously a milestone that everyone involved with Berndes takes massive pride in, but as Marcus emphasises it also presents an opportunity to stress the need to continue moving with the times: “Of course, reaching 90 years in business is a very important achievement and it gives everyone an even greater feeling to have remained the market leader in this segment for so long. However the company will never rest on its laurels and will continue to aim to be a better organisation every single day. Once you start taking things for granted you start to lose focus and that means losing business, so while everyone at Berndes is happy to be celebrating this special birthday, they all know that the job now is to stay the course in order to retain the position it has held for nine decades.”
With the company having seen off the turbulent market conditions that occurred as a result of the global financial crisis, Marcus is now looking towards the future and has a good idea of what Berndes needs to achieve in order to take itself to the next level: “Today the market has certainly stabilised and as it grows so too can the company, particularly by increasing the volume of goods it exports outside of its core European market. Currently this figures stands at 30 per cent, but the target for the years ahead will be 70 per cent, indicating the growth potential Berndes has.
“This rise in exports will be the catalyst that extends Berndes’ success all over the world. In Germany and many other European countries the company is the leading brand in aluminium coated, non-stick cookware and it aims to take this across the globe, becoming the dominant name in one country after the other.”
Products Non-stick coated cookware