The Miele Group is the leading global manufacturer of premium products for cooking a meal, doing the laundry and cleaning floors in the home. A further cornerstone of the business is the commercial segment Miele Professional, which offers washers and dishwashers for commercial applications as well as disinfection and sterilisation devices for medical facilities.
In 1899, Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann founded their company which started out manufacturing cream separators and butter churns but soon expanded into a broad-based supplier to farmers: 1901 saw the company producing washing machines which were initially made out of wood, bicycles, mopeds and even cars. In order to concentrate its efforts in view of rapidly growing markets and the accompanying demand for production capacities and capital, Miele gradually focused on what remains its core business today, i.e. domestic appliances and equipment for commercial applications (including medical technology). From the outset, Miele’s ambition has been to achieve a leading position in terms of quality and technology, combined with a global market presence. Over time, the small East Westphalian trade became a family-run global player.
Currently, Miele has its own sales and service companies in 47 countries and is generally the market leader of the premium segment in each one of them. In another 50 markets, the brand is represented by importers. Eight of the twelve production plants, as well as the entire product development organisation, are located in Germany (seven of them in North Rhine-Westphalia and one in Lower Saxony). There is also one production site each in Austria (B”urmoos), the Czech Republic (Unicov), Romania (Brasov) and China (Dongguan). The same strict company quality standards and tests apply in all Miele plants.
That Miele is renowned for its company philosophy which focuses on quality and sustainability, is constantly confirmed in independent empirical customer surveys. Today, Miele’s strategic business segment of domestic appliances offers a complete range of premium products for cooking, baking and steam-cooking, washing dishes, refrigerating and freezing, and making coffee. Laundry machines and dryers, ironers and vacuum cleaners are available from an equally wide portfolio. The business segment Miele Professional includes laundry technology and dishwashers for nursing facilities or catering businesses, as well as washers, disinfectors and sterilisation equipment for surgeries, clinics and laboratories.
Since its foundation, the company has been owned by the two families Miele (51 per cent) and Zinkann (49 per cent). The executive board is composed of five managing directors with equal say. Two of them, Dr Markus Miele and Dr Reinhard Zinkann, are the great-grandchildren of the founders. The three managing directors not related to the families are Olaf Bartsch (Finance and Controlling), Dr Heiner Olbrich (Marketing and Sales) and Dr Eduard Sailer (Technology). The shareholders’ committee (family council), which resembles a supervisory board, consists of three representatives from each of the Miele and Zinkann families.
Miele & Cie KG is a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft, or KG) with its head office located at the main plant in G”utersloh.
Economic significance to the local communities
In total, Miele employs 16,716 persons (reporting date: 30 June 2012), of which 10,327, or nearly 62 per cent, work in Germany. 80 per cent of the employees abroad work in sales and customer service. In Germany and internationally, the number of employees rose during the reporting period.
Particularly at the German production sites, Miele is a major employer (often the largest in the region) and therefore an important taxpayer in the local communities. As in the previous reporting periods, there have been no lay-offs for operational reasons in the last two financial years.