Despite considerable challenges in the market environment, Bene closed the 2022 financial year with a pleasing result. The Austrian group is a leading manufacturer in the European office furniture industry and thus started the year 2023 with a corresponding sense of confidence.
With a turnover of EUR 176 million and a sales increase of 29.4 per cent, the Bene Group achieved a good result in 2022. The key markets Germany and France record a strong growth in sales compared to the previous year: 54 per cent and 121 per cent, respectively. Although the result needs to be interpreted in light of price increases, higher material and energy costs, as well as the war on Ukraine, it reflects the stable development of the internationally acclaimed office furniture manufacturer. Because this crisis situation affects the entire industry. “The developments of recent months have presented us with challenges too,” states Michael Fried, CEO for Sales, Marketing and Innovation. “The combination of price increases, resource scarcity, significantly extended delivery times and the shortage of skilled workers had a huge economic impact.”
To mitigate these effects as best as possible, Bene placed an even greater emphasis on efficient supply chain management in 2022. Production was well booked, allowing for the best possible process-oriented planning across the entire value and supply chain. In 2022, Bene was entrusted with several major projects: for example, for RATP - the local public transport system in Paris -, Kuwait University, and the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. Additionally, the company established new management structures that had a positive impact on the business: together with Michael Fried, Chief Technical Director Manfred Huber has been responsible for the company’s operational processes and technological progress since the summer of last year. At the same time, Benedikt Wolfram took over the areas of Finance, Legal and IT as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and is continuing the development of the company’s digital strategy.
Furthermore, Bene decided to change the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in production to harness existing resources as economically as possible. “It will not only allow us to improve our business processes but will also provide us with key performance indicators and thus essential information to aid corporate management,” emphasises the Benedikt Wolfram, Chief Financial Officer. “The resulting replacement of our old, production-related IT systems represents a major milestone in our journey of sustainable corporate development.”
Another future-oriented issue at Bene is sustainability and climate protection. “As a pioneer in the office furniture industry, we are working together to implement long-term and sustainable growth strategies, even in economically challenging times,” says Chief Technical Director, Manfred Huber. In his new role as CTO of Bene, he will drive forward the company’s sustainable development: sustainability spans all company divisions – from product development, purchasing, production and logistics to product recycling. All Bene’s products are “made in Europe,” and 98 per cent of the suppliers come from Europe – 80 per cent from Austria and 14 per cent from Germany. Through intensive collaboration with suppliers, Bene also ensures that all procurement guidelines for environmental protection are complied with using test reports and certificates.
Additionally, in 2022 the Bene Group invested continuously in its showrooms: the opening of its first branch in the design metropolis of Milan marks a significant milestone in the company’s history. New locations were opened in London and Frankfurt in 2022. The showrooms in Paris, Munich, Cologne and Vienna were additionally renovated and equipped with new products according to current Office Guide concepts.
Despite the option of working from home, an increasing number of people are returning to the office. In the future, the focus will be on the experience because people are looking for spaces that inspire them. The atmosphere and holistic design are essential factors in this regard. Individual products are taking a back seat, and curated environments are gaining importance. The emotional design plays a vital role here: art, colours, textures, lighting and more stimulate the senses, and the emotional impact of spaces becomes significant.
Face-to-face instead of face-to-screen? Bene’s answer: CASUAL. Whether it’s a spontaneous team meeting, a quick coffee break or a thorough look at some documents – the modular upholstered chairs, benches and tables of the latest CASUAL collection provide space for creative meetings. Now also available in a weather-resistant version for outdoor use. The new modular and space-shaping POINTS system by Bene helps get to the heart of office planning. It divides office landscapes into zones without using fixed built-in components, creating cosy office landscapes that adapt flexibly and quickly to any room situation.
The CASUAL Outdoor and POINTS by Bene collections will comprise the main product highlights in 2023. In addition, the international company is in an excellent position in terms of digital reach: with the new bene.com website Bene demonstrates its flair for modern community, strong product trends and innovative design concepts. During the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Bene created an installation called THE SECRET GARDEN and transformed the showroom into a sensual world full of colours, displaying the versatility of CASUAL Outdoor by Bene.