Building trust

When standards open consumer markets

By Gabriela Ehrlich

IEC Global Visions recently interviewed Dr Zida Yu, CTO (Corporate Technology Officer) Haier Group, which is today the biggest white goods manufacturer in the world. Yu shares why the company’s active participation in IEC work is their most efficient tool for building trust among customers and the distribution network and helps them to open new markets faster. Haier participates actively in 8 TC/SCs (Technical Committees and Subcommittees).

Leading energy efficiency efforts

Haier was founded in 1984 building refrigerators and later washing machines, air conditioners and televisions. Today, Haier is one of the biggest white goods brand manufacturers in the world and produces around 50 million home appliances and consumer electronics annually. Each of these products consumes electricity, and households even in the developing world own and operate increasingly more of them. It is therefore logical that Haier is very active in reducing the electricity consumption and environmental impact of these devices. As Zida Yu, CTO of Haier underlined in the interview: “any company that doesn’t develop energy saving products today will sooner or later be abandoned by the market.” He also pointed to the fact that energy saving marks are increasingly recognized and adopted by consumers, with Haier’s efforts having significantly contributed to raising awareness of this topic in China.

From start to finish

To stay on top of energy regulations in all regions and to develop innovations that give it an edge in this space, the company has put in place relevant design, manufacturing, operation and recycling processes. During design, all relevant energy efficiency standards are taken into account so that the final product is able to meet and exceed local regulations. In manufacturing, machines and processes are continuously upgraded so as to reduce energy consumption. In operation, the company has put in place control systems that allow it to monitor its performance and progress in this area. Last but not least, the ability to recycle optimally at the end of its useful life is built into the product from the very start.

A systems approach and the ability to connect

Increasingly Haier’s efforts go beyond individual products; the company is now building the “intelligent” home, by connecting products into systems that will enable consumers to stay connected with the world and their home, wherever they are. Connecting consumers in this way also implies that companies are able to cooperate with others; that their products are able to interconnect. Today, no company can build everything a consumer needs on its own. This is one of the reasons why Haier participates in IEC work.

Building trust…

Haier is a global company and its participation in the IEC helps it to build trust not only with its direct customers but also with consumers. Yu is convinced that Haier’s customers understand and believe in the inherent quality that is built into IEC International Standards: “participating in the IEC is the best and quickest way for us to introduce products to global consumers; it is also the best way for any company to demonstrate the quality of its products and gain the trust of its industry chain, distributors and wholesalers.”

…and markets faster

Haier actively participates in the standard setting activities of all IEC TC/SCs (Technical Committees and Subcommittees) that directly impact its product lines, including home laundry, refrigerators and other household appliances, audio, video and multimedia systems as well as information technology equipment. Yu underlines that one important reason for this is that the company wants to be aware of new standards; to be able to design products that comply with those standards as soon as they are published so as to stay ahead of the market. Yu believes: “the IEC can help Haier open new markets. When a company works in accordance with IEC Standards, its products will be quickly accepted by consumers.”

Yu says that through his personal involvement in the IEC he has learned a lot from his international peers and the company’s development of new technologies has also benefited.