Small domestic appliance manufacturer Groupe SEB, which includes the Tefal, Rowenta, Moulinex and Krups brands, has launched a 10 year ‘Repairability’ programme in the UK, promising easy repair for 95% of its product range for 10 years or more.
As well as being cheaper for customers than buying a replacement product, the scheme also helps the environment by reducing electric waste in landfills and demand on raw materials, the company explains. WRAP, the Waste and Resources Action Program, estimates that the UK throws away 1.4m tonnes of electrical waste per year, with around half recycled, a third landfilled and only 7% re-used.
The programme, which Groupe SEB has so far invested £2m in, is supported by the ‘Repairable Product 10 Years’ logo, making it easy for customers to identify repairable products – including blenders, ActiFry low oil fryers, coffee makers, steam irons and steam generators.
Years of testing have led to a range of products which are easily and economically repaired, the company reveals. The use of 3D printing means the group is able to print real parts in plastic – creating a wider and longer availability of spare parts.
The repair process is simple: a consumer brings their broken product to their local repair shop, or sends it by post. Repairs take between three and five days, depending on the parts required. Proximity to customers is vital, Groupe SEB notes, and seven repair centres exist in the UK already and two in Ireland, with 6,500 worldwide. There are also 14 specialised drop-off points in the UK plus further drop-off points available in retailers including Currys via its Knowhow desk. If within the product’s guarantee, the repair is free.
Since 2008, Groupe SEB says it has made the longevity of its products a priority, testing new products during the research and development stage to ensure they qualify for the 10 Year Repairability programme, with redesign done if necessary. The cost of replacement parts has also been reduced by 30% since 2012 to guarantee that prices of a repair remain favourable compared to a replacement, the company adds.
A former factory in the east of France is dedicated to storing and delivering all spare parts in Europe, ensuring that the parts are available quickly, at an affordable price. Half of the stock stored there has been produced 12-15 years in advance of the need, for products that are no longer manufactured.
Groupe SEB vice president for consumer satisfaction Alain Pautrot commented: “Ensuring that our products have a long lifespan has been a part of our corporate vision for years, and we are very happy to now bring 10 Year Repairability to the UK.
“A recent WRAP survey showed that 80% of consumers want a minimum two-year guarantee – so I think 10 Year Repairability will give them a great deal of re-assurance in the product and will improve the purchase decision. Our primary aim is to reduce the number of small domestic appliances going to landfill, which in turn allows our customers to fulfil their desire to be more environmentally friendly.”