One of my favourite maxims is ‘constant change is here to stay’. This begs the question: Is that a good thing? Whether you agree or not, it seems that we will all have to cope with the persistent updates in technology and how COVID has changed the world. It may be just my feelings, but the speed at which change appears seems to have increased, however that could be down to my middle-aged status. According to my Equality & Diversity training, I now have a protected characteristic – Age! The changes in my working life have been profound and I empathise with my parents who have seen even more dramatic transformations in the way the world works.
To put my working life in context, my first proper job at 16 was at an engineering supplies distributor. We stocked everything needed by any general engineering firm. A customer would phone with a list of requirements, which I would write on a pad. I would then run around the warehouse physically checking if the items were literally ‘on the shelf’. For pricing we had a ‘Kardex’ system – basically every item in stock had a corresponding card where the price was recorded. And yes, I used one of the round dial telephones to phone customers back. It wasn’t until the mid-eighties when I was working for a cutting tool company that I used a ‘main-frame’ computer. Not until the late nineties, did I use Word/Excel. Now here at Blum, I am surrounded by a myriad of incredible software. I seem to be coping admirably, although I sometimes seek aid from our excellent IT team at Blum UK, or a product expert from Blum Austria.
So, has Blum UK changed since I joined? In some ways yes, from 16 people, to now over 50. From a nice building to an incredible one. Lastly, the product range has exploded and continues to grow. The core values remain however and we now identify these through moving ideas with the following terms: Quality of Living, Trust, Services, Product range, Quality, Innovation, Inspiration.
It’s easy to say these things, but do we put them into action? In my experience, yes. A splendid example of this came to me in my own kitchen last week. In one of our wall units, we have AVENTOS HK (my house is around three years old). This product works really well and is a pleasure to use with its stepless stop and integrated soft close. Along with its cover caps, it looks rather good too. This would be enough for many manufacturers and the product story would stop there. Not for us though, we have released AVENTOS HK top, which fundamentally does the same thing but offers a more compact solution by taking up less space in the cabinet. It is also easier to fit with no calculations or templates needed as it pretty much self-locates. We support it with the Online Cabinet Configurator planning software to aid correct product selection which is essential in achieving the stepless stop. It has built-in an infinitely variable angle stop and enhanced strength adjustment. The safety feature is also enhanced and we added a new assembly variant for high volume manufacturers. The SERVO-DRIVE option has added intelligence to warn if the mechanism has not been sufficiently balanced with the door’s size/weight. The branding opportunity is now common to all variants of AVENTOS.
One of the exciting aspects of my role in the company is that I get to learn about all the new innovations. We are already some ways down the line toward adding another member to the AVENTOS family – the AVENTOS HKi. I don’t have the final details yet, but just as the AVENTOS HK top takes up less room in the cabinet compared to the HK, this new variant will literally take up no space at all! The mechanism will be located within the cabinet side panel! You may be thinking that sounds like a manufacturing nightmare, however we are devising a machine called the MINIMILL that is purpose built to facilitate this. We also have the REVEGO pocket door coming sometime in 2023 or beyond – an incredible product which is physically the largest one in our history. There have been many challenges in bringing this to market, but I feel it will be worth the wait. And lastly, only this week I was made aware of plans to add a whole new facet to the smart kitchen concept – I can’t say too much about it at the moment but suffice to say you will all want it in your kitchens/living areas at home once it is ready.
Written by David Grant - Blum Technical Team