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Because Quality is Key - How much is the "Made in Germany" label still worth?

February 05, 2020

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An article about the label "Made in Germany"

A few decades ago, German quality products did not have to worry about foreign competitors. However, the increasing globalization of many markets is increasingly bringing foreign competitors on the map and exposing customers to an almost endless range of foreign products. Even for the smallest and most special products, the alternatives now seem unlimited. Customers are just one click away from buying a product on the other side of the world. What was an exception back then is now a reality. At Wunderkey we asked ourselves how much the label "Made in Germany" is actually still worth - and we came to a hopeful result.

How exactly did the "Made in Germany" label come into being 133 years ago?

In August this year, Germany will celebrate a little-known birthday: The label "Made in Germany" becomes 133 years old. The label was born in England in 1887, when it passed a law that forced foreign companies - who wanted to manufacture copy products from Great Britain - to clearly state the origin of their products. The British wanted to use this measure to stigmatize imitations from Germany.

By the end of the 19th century, however, the quality of German industry had improved so much that the label "Made in Germany” had developed into a true seal of approval instead of a stigma as planned. In 1896, the British historian Ernest Edwin Williams published a book called "Made in Germany", which complained about the decline in British production. A decline attributed to the Germans - whose society in their "industrial childhood" overtook Britain as a pioneer. The reason for this: In Germany, the quality of products was "a question of details".

How is the label "Made in Germany" perceived today?

Although the reputation of German products has suffered greatly due to the effects of the First and Second World Wars, the demand for products "Made in Germany" remains unchanged.

The Hamburg-based market research portal Statista surveyed around 43,000 people in 52 countries about their general perception of products from different countries of origin in 2017. The results show that Germany's reputation as a manufacturer is far better than that of other large export-oriented countries. Only the Made-in-Country-Index (MICI) from Switzerland come close to the positive perception of Germany.

Astonishing: The USA and Japan rank eighth in the survey, ahead of France, while China, the largest exporting country in the world, is the second worst with only 28 out of a possible 100 points.

This is just one of the reasons why an increasing number of companies are bringing their factories from China back to Germany

The reputation of the label "Made in Germany", which apparently remained unaffected by the months of reporting on the Volkswagen diesel scandal, mainly based on positive ratings in the product categories "Quality" and "Safety Standards". Germany took first place in 13 of the 52 countries examined.

The study "Germany in the Eyes of the World 2015 "by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) provides even deeper insights into how German quality products are perceived abroad. According to many interviewees, German products are known worldwide for their" endurance, functionality and high quality ". The long list of German brands is synonymous with quality, and Germany's top exports are considered premium products that deliver what they promise, which is why customers abroad are frequently willing to pay a comparatively high price:

“Ultimately, it can be cheaper to buy expensive German equipment and get the job done, than to buy cheap equipment that breaks down the first time you use it" - Respondents from abroad, GIZ study

Quotes like these testify a high degree of recognition and respect for German products. Important factors are not only high-quality production and marketing, but also the underlying German technology and research, which is considered a pioneer and is a key component of the extremely positive attitude towards German cars abroad. In the eyes of many respondents, German engineers, skilled workers and craftsmen understand their business. They are admired for their technical skills and abilities.

"If you have a technical problem that you cannot solve, you simply have to contact a German specialist. A German expert can always solve the problem. " - Respondents from abroad, GIZ study

It is obvious that German companies with both their products and with their skilled workers have an excellent position among global competitors. But Germany cannot afford to rest on its laurels for too long.

"The competition doesn't sleep, and many customers have had good experiences with other manufacturers." - Respondents from Africa, GIZ study

The respondents felt it was important that German companies actively face up to the competition and invest much more in marketing of their strengths. If Germany did not improve in this context, it would negligently jeopardize the future of its strong brands.

“In Germany there are all these outstanding institutes such as the Fraunhofer or Max Planck Institute. The people who come from these laboratories are real magic children, but where's their marketing? " - Interviewee from the USA, GIZ study

What properties are associated with Germany abroad that go beyond the simple label "Made in Germany"?

Another part of the study "Germany in the Eyes of the World 2015" by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) dealt with the question of properties that are associated with Germany abroad that go beyond the simple labe "Made in Germany". According to this, there is agreement worldwide with regard to other virtues that are attributed to the Germans. Orderliness, discipline and punctuality are considered to be typically German, while the majority of those questioned also associate rationality, thoroughness, perfectionism and efficiency with the Germans.

Even if the perception of "typical" German behavior at first glance appear very positive, it can also lead to conflicts at one point or another, because it can also give others the feeling that they are reaching their limits:

"The Germans always come straight to the Point. That can sometimes give us the feeling that we forgot to plan."

"The Germans appreciate their work more than anything. It is always in her thoughts. They are constantly wondering how they can become even more efficient. Sometimes the Germans are so efficient that they are simply too fast for others."

"We always feel like we cannot live up to German expectations. We are not on time, we do not know how to behave correctly, we do not keep our distance, our streets have potholes, etc.”

- Respondents from abroad, GIZ study

It quickly becomes clear that the German virtues are basically seen as a strength; however, if they are forced on others, they can quickly be perceived as negative - if not excessive and inflexible.

In our view, this is a very important aspect that should be considered in self-marketing with a focus on the strength "Made in Germany ”. German manufacturers should continue to be self-confident about the virtues that are perceived positively abroad and apply them self-critically as a yardstick for their own products - without giving international customers a feeling of arrogance or the devaluation of other production sites.

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Which products are allowed to carry the" Made in Germany "label?

When exporting Products from one country to another they often have to be labeled with the country of origin label. Nowadays, many products are the result of a large number of parts that come from many different countries and are ultimately assembled in a third country. In these cases it is not so easy to name the country of origin and there are different rules for determining the "right" country of origin. In general, articles only change their country of origin if the addition of a new material or work step represents a significant change (for example the processing from a wheel to a car). Nowadays most machines and products with the designation "Made in Germany" already have 40 to 50 percent foreign parts. In some industrial plants and systems, it is even 80 percent. Therefore, an increasing number of products are losing the right to officially carry the "Made in Germany" label. Many German companies are now demanding that the requirements for the "Made in Germany" label are lowered in order to be able to use the positive image of the label abroad. Only a few products continue to be 100% "Made in Germany".

How much "Made in Germany" can be found in a Wunderkey?

In our opinion, a product that you have in your hand several times a day should be perfect down to the last detail. Our aspiration must therefore always be the highest product quality. Therefore, 100% Made in Germany. In total, a Wunderkey goes through six production steps until it is born - all of them in specialized companies in Germany. In addition, social responsibility and regionalism are our top priorities. We work closely with the Saarpfalz workshop for adapted work in the location of our Blieskastel headquarters. With the workshop, we have a great partner at our side who, on the one hand, realizes the assembly and commissioning of the Wunderkeys on a professional level, and on the other hand knows how to offer disabled people a productive and pleasant working environment. When we review the many impressions of this article, we as a team at Wunderkey feel confirmed in our work and in our love for the detail of our German quality product. We are confident that the "Made in Germany" label will continue to be of great importance to many customers in Germany and abroad. And to come back to the initial question, how much "Made in Germany" can be found in a Wunderkey: For us even more than 100%. Because in addition to the exclusive production in Germany, values like thoroughness, perfectionism and a large portion of orderliness create a Wunderkey - Because Quality is Key.






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