Bene are one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of office furniture and the company now has ambitions to expand further in the Irish market.
Bene has an unrivalled history & heritage – the Austrian company’s furniture expertise goes back to 1790 and they still proud to be located in the same town of Waidhofen, where their story began, but in a somewhat larger production facility!
Bene intends to double its business in Ireland over the next 24 months but has much bigger ambitions to grow the business even further in the Irish market and is investing in personnel and infrastructure to support this.
Construction Network Ireland sat down with Bene’s Sales Director for the UK & Ireland Jim Brondbjerg to find out more about Bene and what they plan to deliver in the Irish market.
How big are Bene?
Bene are one of the largest office furniture manufacturers in Europe with an annual turnover of just over €160 million, and as you would expect they operate on a global scale working with clients across more than 40 territories worldwide. As part of the Austrian owned BGO Group of companies, they can offer customers the partnership and financial security of a profitable business turning over more than €300 million per annum.
What are Bene’s plans for its Irish Operations?
We are here to grow our partnerships with Ireland’s large global client base, as well as continue to work closely with our long-standing existing customers. With that in mind we wanted to reframe what we offer to the Irish market and in doing so offer a real competitive difference to what has historically been the way furniture is procured here.
There has been a Bene office in Ireland since 2006, and to all intents and purposes, we are the only major manufacturer left offering the direct provision of furniture to our clients. Most of our competitors have either left Ireland altogether or reverted to working behind a local dealer, Bene continues to remain committed and investing in the Irish market.
What is the major difference for clients between Bene & a furniture dealer?
Simply put we place the Bene Factory at the door of our customers.
The Bene team, based in Dublin, offers Interior Designers, Architects, and Clients alike a direct conversation with our Factory which really is unique. This makes the entire process of specifying and procuring furniture much easier and more immediate when compared to the traditional and slightly unwieldy methods of the traditional furniture dealer.
We feel that this approach becomes even more appealing to the client or designer when they require a non-standard or tailored solution for their office space. Communication between themselves and our factory floor is far more direct and as such mitigates the risk of mistakes born from a poor or slow flow of information.
What does this tailored solution mean in practice?
Control for the client or designer.
They have the total confidence that what they have envisaged has been understood by my team and communicated to the Bene factory quickly and efficiently. Gerhard, among others in the Factory, will ensure Factory drawings are produced with the correct level of detail to confirm the solution and for final sign off.
In fact, about 65% of the furniture that leaves our factory in Waidhofen is a tailored solution in some form or another, and it is a service that our client’s really love!
Tell us about the global partnerships Bene also offers?
We recently launched the BLoose brand in Ireland to enhance further the benefits our customers can draw from working with Bene.
BLoose by Bene offers a broad and expansive range of contract interior products curated from the portfolios of our global brand partners, this allows us to provide complete turnkey product solutions for all types of commercial interiors. Our scale and ability to negotiate on a global level means we can leverage the best products for our clients through these exclusive partnerships at the best very best prices.
Bene really offers the best of both worlds for our clients – all of the immediacy and responsiveness needed for the core office items such as desks, chairs and storage – combined with a beautiful collection of loose furniture solutions to support today’s agile workplace.
What projects have Bene worked on in Ireland so far?
We recently had a major win for a full fit-out of a major pharmaceutical company’s Irish head office, which we won against major international competition, we are also at an advanced stage of the negotiations with several other large international companies based in Ireland.
We were also responsible for the fit-out of the head office of Ireland’s largest law firm on Earlsfort Terrace, and we are currently in the process of installing an array of products for an international insurance firm’s new headquarters in Dublin.
These successes clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of our current business model and the added value clients are drawing from working with us.
What is Bene’s route to market?
As an internationally recognised manufacturer of design-led furniture, we will always look to work in support of Architects and Designers in all markets, and Ireland is no different.
We are proud to be called “furniture specialists”, and as such, we work alongside designers and their clients to provide the very best furniture consultancy in support of their project.
We work as either a free resource for designers to collaborate with as they develop a scheme design or as a fully retained part of the client team offering a full furniture specification and procurement consultancy.
How involved are Bene once it comes to delivery & installation?
Bene has years of experience delivering and installing projects of all sorts of shapes and sizes throughout Ireland, however, our forte is very much based around major projects where the client needs a professional and fully engaged supplier to work closely with them to ensure the success of their project.
We operate a well-proven and scalable approach to the support of our client’s projects in Ireland, where my local Bene team can draw upon additional support from London and Austria as needed.
A great example of this was the project we delivered for the law firm in Earlsfort Terrace – the process started with our local team working with the client and designer, but as the project grew we were able in turn to enhance the Bene team with additional resource from London and our Factory to ensure we were always able to delight the client and supply all the furniture and partitioning on time and complete.
In fact, in this case, our Managing Director, Michael Fried and Factory Director, Bernhardt Kronnerwetter had full oversight of that project and retained directorial ownership for it through to final completion.
This scale of capability and ownership is only really available within a business model such as ours and should serve to offer the confidence clients are looking for when selecting the best furniture partner for their project.