A conversation with Fabian Koelliker: ‘Do one thing without neglecting the other’

A conversation with Fabian Koelliker: ‘Do one thing without neglecting the other’

The SWISS KRONO Group has 5,100 employees and recently achieved a turnover of CHF 2 billion. 

The SWISS KRONO Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of timber products. The company offers sustainable, innovative solutions in the business areas of interiors, flooring and building materials. In an interview with for​you​and​your​cus​tom​ers, Fabian Koelliker speaks about his vision, the multichannel strategy of SWISS KRONO and the establishment of a separate multichannel platform.

‘I have to anticipate future needs in my role as Head of Marketing,’ Fabian Kölliker says of his responsibility within the Swiss family-run company. ‘I have to identify the trends for upcoming years, initiate corresponding initiatives in-house and get projects rolling. So I’m a pioneer, creative director and implementer in one.’ Developing a digitised marketing strategy for the SWISS KRONO Group for him primarily means ‘creating more added value for the customer by transferring our valuable analogue assets to the digital channels. That’s why we aim to use tactically clever projects to persuasive effect on the market and achieve an efficient supply of digital product information to current and future channels in the long-term.’

Hannes Weikert, foryouandyourcustomers: As a speaker at the 48th Business Breakfast of foryouandyourcustomers in the spring of 2019, you said that successful digitisation calls for a fundamental willingness in a company to innovate and change. How innovative and willing to change do you see the SWISS KRONO Group compared to the competition?  Fabian Koelliker: As a manufacturer in the timber products industry selling products in a high-income country like Switzerland, you can only be successful per se if you bring high-quality, extremely innovative products to the market – and we have been very successful in our industry for years. For this reason, I absolutely class us as an innovative company already. But of course we also have to constantly examine ourselves and what we offer and keep improving in order to strengthen our market position sustainably and long-term.

Speaking in concrete terms, I would consider SWISS KRONO to definitely be pioneers in the fields of technology and production, even when it comes to the degree of digitisation. Our primary aim at the moment is to bring marketing up to this high level now. But even here I think we’re on the right path with the many initiatives we’ve started in the past months.

Hannes Weikert: Since your start in autumn 2017 you and your team have been working intensively with foryouandyourcustomers on the digital marketing strategy of the SWISS KRONO Group. How would you describe this strategy? Fabian Koelliker: Above all, our strategy is customer-centred and our maxim is to do one thing without neglecting the other.

Hannes Weikert: What does that mean, specifically? Fabian Koelliker: Basically you have to take into account the fact that the SWISS KRONO Group works closely with heavy industry. This means that when we invest in projects like new factories, for example, we are quickly talking about very high costs in the hundreds of millions range.

At the same time we strive to move with the times. Sustainability and perfection are important to us, so we can be even more efficient for our customers and help them be more efficient in the process. This means that we should ideally be meeting customer demands, even as they change in ever shorter cycles, today and not tomorrow. These needs range from providing necessary data and information to desired digitised touchpoints within the customer journey with our company.

For these reasons we follow a two-pronged strategy. A first step in this strategy is to provide certain bridge solutions for our customers and work on creating a stable foundation that allows these solutions to work long-term.

Hannes Weikert: How has it gone for you, and what does this two-pronged strategy look like in practice? Fabian Koelliker: First we focused on working with foryouandyourcustomers to understand customer needs and wishes and evaluate solutions for these. Previously we had not been concentrating enough on this.

We succeeded this time thanks to a number of intensive workshops with customers and employees, where we used ChannelOPERA. We then applied the results from these workshops in the next steps, to develop and implement corresponding state-of-the-art solutions across all levels of the Exploded View. The Exploded View especially and the many different ways it can be applied have proven to be unbelievably useful in this phase. The tool helps us holistically define new objectives, come to a group-wide understanding even in international, interdepartmental projects, involve all employees in a sensible way, initiate internal change processes and ultimately implement projects successfully.

Hannes Weikert: What conclusions did you draw from these workshops with different customer groups and where did you identify areas of potential improvement? Fabian Koelliker: Until that point we had not yet managed to meet the need for digitised touchpoints and the provision of relevant data for our customers – both in the B2B and B2C sectors. Our customers these days demand higher quality of data from us and a better flow of data in order to serve their own customers. They need complete product information and up-to-date product data, just to name a few examples. Based on these requirements for SWISS KRONO, we came up with the ‘Data to Customers’ business case with the aim of creating a multichannel experience platform for our customers.

Hannes Weikert: And what specific projects have resulted from that so far? Fabian Koelliker: To be able to offer immediate customer benefits, one of the things we implemented in recent months was our One World AR Interior Designer app, for which we additionally launched a scanning project as well as the innovative SWISS KRONO Timber Planner. The latter, for example, is a project that provides what has been a very successful timber framework manual for years on the market now in the form of a modern web-based app, offering our customers – mainly architects in this case – truly great added value.

‘As our foundation, we are now working on a group-wide PIM system that allows us to export data in different formats on different channels.’

Fabian Koelliker, Head of Marketing SWISS KRONO

Both are innovative solutions that enrich the experience with SWISS KRONO on the one hand and already contain data for the digital BIM (Building Information Modelling) planning method on the other, giving the user greater accuracy, efficiency and time and cost savings.

Hannes Weikert: You mentioned creating a stable foundation. What exactly do you mean by that, and what role do the bridge solutions or quick wins you describe play in that? Fabian Koelliker: The tools or digital touchpoints we spoke about offer our customers a direct benefit and are embedded in our overall strategy as individual initiatives. These initiatives are interlinked to become an established component of the multichannel experience platform we are aiming for. This platform is our ultimate goal of achieving a consistent, appealing digital customer experience with the SWISS KRONO Group, which we hope will promote greater customer loyalty and differentiate us from the competition through the use of needs-based data and new service offerings.

As a basis for this – and this is the foundation I mentioned – we are now working on a group-wide PIM system that allows us to export data in different formats on different channels. All data and information for the individual tools go back to this PIM where they are cleanly integrated – so it becomes out single source of truth. In August we will start working on this together with foryouandyourcustomers. For us that is still the decisive element for being able to optimally meet the widest range of digital needs in future.

Fabian Koelliker

Head of Marketing bei SWISS KRONO

At the SWISS KRONO Group, he has been responsible for the multichannel strategy of the global family-run company since February 2018 and works closely with foryouandyourcustomers. The SWISS KRONO Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of timber products. The company offers sustainable, innovative solutions in the business areas of interiors, flooring and building materials. The Group has 5,100 employees today and recently achieved a turnover of CHF 2 billion. The Group’s products are sold worldwide in over 120 countries. 

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