End-of-book: Case studies Q 643
case studies 19
Think design and performance—
think Sunbeam Café Series
Nicole Stegemann, School of Management and International Business, University of Western Sydney Limited, a manufacturer of pumps, filters and security products. GUD’s acquired Sunbeam in 1996. After catering for predominately female needs, it was the male population’s turn to benefit from Sunbeam’s innovations. The electric shaver—Shavemaster—was introduced to the market. Despite heavy international competition, Shavemaster became a market leader shortly after its launch. The appliance revolution continued to penetrate the Australian market. Consumers were introduced to the pop-up toaster, the electric frypan, and the dry iron. Over the years, models were replaced and the Toastermatic was introduced in 1960. In 1972 Sunbeam sold more than 1 million products. By 1973, Sunbeam had sold 3.5 million frypans, one for every three Australians. Aiming to be the first in the market with product innovations, Sunbeam introduced a range of new appliances—including an iron that featured a patented safety cut-out mechanism; the first plastic jug-style kettle and a fast-boil kettle, the Express kettle; the Oskar food processor; Quantum, a cordless automatic kettle; and the Toast ’N’ Crumpet toaster. Many of the new products became top sellers, and their excellence in design and function was recognised with several Australian design awards. Sunbeam realised that to maintain its competitive edge, its consumers needed more than just an innovative tangible product. The first 12-months replacement guarantee was implemented by Sunbeam across its entire product range, demonstrating Sunbeam’s commitment to quality and performance. The inventive smokeless Kettle King, an outdoor electric barbecue, was also introduced. In this way, Sunbeam not only catered for the great Australian barbeque tradition, it developed a product that reflected changing consumer lifestyles and social trends, such as an increase in apartment living. Sunbeam continued to respond to changes in lifestyles by expanding its product range. An increasing number of women were looking for alternative ways of
The history of Sunbeam dates back to 1883 in Chicago, Illinois, when T J Clark and J K Stewart formed a partnership to manufacture clipping and grooming machinery for horses, later expanding into sheep-shearing equipment.
Shaft Company In 1910, The Chicago Flexible electrical diversified into small appliances and, with the launch of the Princess electric iron, it laid the foundation for the small electrical appliance industry. The diversification strategy was aimed at offsetting the seasonal nature of the sheep-shearing industry. In 1914, the company purchased the Australian operation, and the company Cooper Engineering Co. (CEC) was born. Seven years later, in 1921, the introduction of the Sunbeam brand reflected CEC’s core business shift to electrical appliances. After World War II, CEC changed its company name to Sunbeam Corporation and it introduced the slogan ‘Best Electric Appliance Made’. The first Australian appliance, the Sunbeam mixmaster, was launched. Despite the fact that it cost more than an average Australian’s monthly wage, it was an immediate success. Within its first 10 years on the market, the Sunbeam mixmaster generated sales in excess of 725 000 units. In 1950, Sunbeam exported its appliances to New Zealand. With international exposure, the growing company needed further manufacturing capacity and it acquired a second manufacturing site in the Sydney suburb of Campsie. In 1952, with the benefit of its sustained success, the company listed on the stock exchange and became Sunbeam Corporation Limited. Expansion continued with the New Zealand operation becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sunbeam Corporation Limited in 1960. Today, Sunbeam is owned by the United...