A harmonious working relationship is key. An interview with Andreas Merker.7. March 2019 Published by Raphael Doerr
Just who are the people behind our products, how do they decide what features a new device should have, and what motivates them in their work day after day? We met with Andreas Merker, Head of the Product Center Smartphones at Gigaset, and put these very questions to him in a short interview.
Sina Lenz: Andreas, thank you for taking the time for a brief interview. You probably have a lot on your hands at the moment with the launch of the GS280, don’t you?
Andreas Merker: Yes, you can certainly say that. Our new smartphone has met with a very good response not only from customers but also from the press – just like the GS185, which is still being tested, as it was recently by PCTipp. That definitely makes me a little bit proud, because it shows that our team keeps on managing to develop great, high-quality products that go down well with our customers.
Lenz: Quality is a good cue, as it’s very important for Gigaset.
Merker: Not only for Gigaset, but also especially for our customers. They’re accustomed to owning their landline phones for years, and when the devices break down, they demand a high quality of service. And, of course, they rightly demand the same when they buy a smartphone from us. We must and will respond to that. One example of how that impacts our daily work is that we defer releasing a product for a while until it meets our quality requirements. That’s not always an easy decision, and it also causes some of our colleagues to break out in a sweat. But we don’t make compromises when it comes to hardware from Gigaset.
Lenz: The GS280 – like the GS185 before it – is made in Bocholt. What do you hope to gain from that?
Merker: A fundamental advantage of production here in Bocholt is the major logistics benefits for both us and our customers. The cutting-edge production facilities, where people and machines work as a team, make us faster and more agile and, above all, enable us to supply the European market quickly with our smartphones. They also permit customization without any problems. And then there’s the service we offer, likewise in Bocholt: We ourselves can repair faulty devices right down to the individual component. That’s also what you call thinking in terms of sustainability.But for me personally, I think it’s just great that I can take a peek next door into the production hall. After all, you devote a lot of time and energy to developing such a product and then you’re delighted to have the chance to see it being made. That also helps you develop the next generation because you look at certain aspects in a completely different way. And I have to admit: I also take a bit of pride in the fact that we’re the only company to make smartphones in Europe.
Lenz: The GS280 impresses above all with its large display and powerful battery, which makes it ideal for streaming series. What was the last series you watched?
Merker: After Life, a brilliant series with Ricky Gervais, which has just started running. The main figure has lost his wife and, as a result, a bit of his joy in life. It’s all laced with the very subtle, very British humor of Ricky Gervais – it really had me in stitches. And sometimes I had to suppress a small tear. So it has everything that makes for a good series. I hope there’s a second season.
Lenz: You’ve been with Gigaset for some years. What still inspires you about our company?
Merker: A lot, even after so many years. Exciting projects, innovative products and a great relationship with my colleagues. In particular, there’s always been a spirit of mutual respect. That’s a key element, especially in day-to-day work with each other. I think teamwork is always far more efficient and valuable than doing something on your own. And Gigaset shares that view. I could also single out the cooperation between the product centers. Through that, I believe we still have a lot of potential that we’re not yet aware of. I feel certain that we’ll also be a key market player in the long term – and I simply enjoy working to achieve that goal.