A made-to-measure kitchen

Your dream kitchen in a few easy steps

A good team is half the battle: Ralf Kominatzki, joiner, and Marek Pierogowicz, electrician, out and about in their work for Vonovia’s technical service. (photo)

A good team is half the battle: Ralf Kominatzki, joiner, and Marek Pierogowicz, electrician, out and about in their work for Vonovia’s technical service.

Some ideas are so good that it is worth copying them. This is exactly what Vonovia is doing with its “modernization in response to tenant requests” service. The service was launched for bathrooms a few years ago and involves updating the bathroom facilities in return for an affordable cost allocation while improving the level of comfort and quality at the same time. The service is now being expanded to cover kitchens, too. Although it is still in its infancy, there is already good reason to believe that the “kitchen in response to tenant requests” project will be just as successful as the “bathroom modernization” service that inspired it.

  • Made-to-measure & expensive
  • Standard & reasonably priced
  • Made-to-measure & reasonably priced

The idea is simple, but unusual: Vonovia’s customers were to be given the opportunity to improve the standard of living that their apartment offers in return for a small surcharge on top of their monthly rent – without having to adhere to the landlord’s modernization cycle and at a much lower price than would be available on the free market. They even had three different options to choose from in terms of the fittings to be used, including a more accessible design option. The initiative was made possible by Vonovia’s own craftsmen’s organization, the technical service team. Vonovia was able to buy the materials in bulk and have well-rehearsed teams fit the bathrooms more or less in conveyor belt-like fashion. The service is now proving very popular, with as many as 700 bathrooms installed in response to tenant requests in 2016. Vonovia expects to execute more than 1,000 more new bathrooms this year, too.

The idea of applying the very same principle to kitchens as well was a brave step on Vonovia’s part. Kitchens are more complex than bathrooms and customer requirements tend to be more individual. Despite all of the apparent obstacles, the product development team sat down with a kitchen manufacturer and assuaged any concerns one by one. The pilot phase has now been completed for the “kitchen at the customer’s request” service, too, meaning that it can be rolled out across the board.

»On-site advice is included and provides a sense of security.«Sören Woida, Sales MAMW North/East Vonovia
Soren Woida, a sales employee at Vonovia, provides on-site advice as to what the new kitchen could look like. (photo)

Soren Woida, a sales employee at Vonovia, provides on-site advice as to what the new kitchen could look like.

The “kitchen at the customer’s request” is produced in Germany and delivered to the apartment straight from the factory. This saves storage costs. (photo)

The “kitchen at the customer’s request” is produced in Germany and delivered to the apartment straight from the factory. This saves storage costs.

An approach that pays off

The “kitchen at the customer’s request” service is an idea that pays off for both sides: customers benefit from a modern, high-quality kitchen that is made in Germany, together with a full-service package. Because if a device breaks down, Vonovia repairs it right away. The service benefits Vonovia, too: If a tenant moves on, the new tenant can already benefit from a high-quality, made-to-measure kitchen. This improves the quality and, as a result, the value of the apartment.

In order to appeal to tenants, the service has to be affordable and attractive. Vonovia has managed to meet both of these criteria. The cost calculation is easy: We start off with a basic price, while the other services depend on the size of the kitchen and the standard selected. A surcharge is applied to reflect the width of the kitchen and any special features. By way of example, customers can choose from a range of fittings, including a better dishwasher or a ceramic stove top; they can even opt for a headroom hood for their extractor fan.

It couldn’t be any more convenient. The show kitchens come directly to customers in their own neighborhoods. (photo)

It couldn’t be any more convenient. The show kitchens come directly to customers in their own neighborhoods.

Kitchen arrives “prepared to perfection”

Once again, ensuring that processes are perfectly coordinated down to the very last detail is crucial in ensuring good value for money. In this case, the process involves not only the customer service team and Vonovia’s own craftsmen’s organization, the technical service team, but also a kitchen manufacturer. The processes follow a tried-and-tested pattern: The website, information flyers and the customer newspaper provide customers with a standard source of information. Vonovia is also in the process of conducting roadshow events with three containers, two of which showcase both bathroom and kitchen fittings. Notices on the latest roadshow venue are published in due time in the relevant locations. Vonovia also writes to tenants directly so that they can register for a consultation with a sales employee.

Free choice of added extras

Dishwasher with handy functions

  • 5 wash programs
  • Special function: Vario Speed
  • Aquastop

Ceramic stove top with the option of activating additional ring areas

  • 4 HighSpeed rings
  • Roasting pan ring
  • Double ring

Top-class built-in oven

  • 8 operating modes
  • Fully retractable controls
  • Cooling fan

Headroom hood for greater freedom of movement

  • Metal grease filters, dishwasher-safe
  • LED lighting
Getting a new kitchen (photo)
»Getting a new kitchen virtually overnight is a bit like magic.«Annemarie Poloczek, tenant of Vonovia/its predecessor companies since 1991

Customers who are interested can submit the key data on their dream kitchen to the customer service team either on site, by post or by telephone. The customer service team records the initial data and arranges an appointment with the customer so that the kitchen can be measured and the detailed planning phase can begin. Customers can also request further renovation work in the kitchen in addition to the installation of the kitchen itself. Once the customer service team has received the final data for the kitchen request, it puts an order summary together for the customer again. As soon as the customer has confirmed the order, it is sent directly to the kitchen manufacturer electronically.

The trades have also gone digital. Tablets are just as much part of day-to-day working life as toolboxes are. (photo)

The trades have also gone digital. Tablets are just as much part of day-to-day working life as toolboxes are.

The production and logistical planning of the kitchen by the manufacturer is a highly automated process, meaning that the kitchen can be delivered just in time on an agreed date six to seven weeks later, ready to be installed by the technical service team. The kitchen is installed within a day. All in all, it is a convenient, fast and clean process for the tenant involved.

An idea that offers potential

Vonovia benefits from the program as well: Being able to let an apartment featuring a fitted kitchen allows the company to target a segment of tenants that has been largely neglected by professional commercial landlords in the past. The demand is certainly there and, in view of the megatrends in the real estate industry (urbanization, mobility, flexibility), looks set to increase even further. With its technical service team, Vonovia has the potential to respond to a further increase in demand as well.

The all-inclusive kitchen package

  • Customized quality at an attractive price
  • A one-stop service from measurement to installation
  • Includes servicing and maintenance
  • No work associated with your own kitchen when you move
Ralf Kominatzki explains how the newly installed kitchen works. (photo)
Ralf Kominatzki explains how the newly installed kitchen works. (photo)

Ralf Kominatzki explains how the newly installed kitchen works.

Annemarie Poloczek and her husband Alfred are delighted with their new kitchen. (photo)

Annemarie Poloczek and her husband Alfred are delighted with their new kitchen.

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