In every issue, The LINK catches up with an interesting professional from one of our Member companies. This time we spoke to Peter Spencer, the UK & Ireland Managing Director for domestic appliance giant Electrolux.
Peter Spencer started his career working for Esso Petroleum in 1989, after graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While with the company, he realized that what he really enjoyed was the commercial side of the job, an insight which was to set in motion a career spanning several different industries.
Since his Esso days, Spencer has held sales and commercial director roles at companies such as Gaymer Cider Company and Coca-Cola. Most recently he worked for AkzoNobel, where he held the UK & Ireland Sales Director post for Decorative Paints. In March 2014 he shouldered new responsibilities as UK & Ireland Managing Director for Swedish domestic appliance business Electrolux. Spencer’s broad experience meant that he didn’t hesitate taking on a new industry.
“There is a huge amount of complexity in the sector and learning more about this has been both challenging and very rewarding. Ultimately, though, business is business,” Peter Spencer tells The LINK.
He sees his own role within the company to set direction, and then to enable his team to perform to their maximum potential. And the goal is to ensure Electrolux continues to strive to be the best appliance business, as judged by their customers, employees and shareholders.
“My short term goals are to cram in more than 24 hours in a day, to increase the number of days in a week and the number of weeks in a month” Spencer said laughing.
As to long term goals, there is no question. According to Spencer, the future is digital.
“If you stop and think, we’re all using the internet for everything today (around 40% of domestic appliances are purchased online, and this is only going to increase) – this means that whenever someone is on a buying journey for a domestic household appliance, whatever we do in the shop, or in the media, we also need to replicate it online in order to ensure the message to the consumer is consistent,” said Spencer.
It is also important to move forward and take on board what has been learned along the way and develop new ideas across markets.
“We have a strong heritage in professional kitchens and laundries; over 50% of Michelin Star restaurants are using Electrolux products in their kitchens and we also supply a third of the leading hotels laundry products. But what we are especially good at is taking what we have learned from the professional area and bringing it to the domestic environment.”
As an example, Spencer mentions how popular cooking shows on television means that consumers today have a much larger knowledge of cooking techniques than before.
“Today they might want to be able to cook something Sous-Vide (cooking food sealed in air-tight plastic bags in a temperature regulated water bath, Ed.) and we are the industry pioneers in being able to provide that experience, in a way created for domestic use, based on what we have learned from the professional kitchens,” Spencer said.
He told The LINK that he personally likes being successful and works actively with his team to make sure they are.
“To stay motivated, I think it is vital to work with products that you believe in and can feel excited about. When it comes to our offering, they’re used every day and are on show in the kitchen, the ‘heart’ of the house, so they’re vital and that makes it exciting. And to motivate my team, I try to be engaged with them and really do my utmost to help others to do a great job.”
With a long Swedish tradition, Electrolux values their heritage and “Brand Sweden” and according to Spencer the company is committed to maintaining this connection from all their offices, on a global scale.
“I think that our Swedish ownership is very important to the Electrolux group. Although few UK consumers might actively know that the brand is Swedish, it is what gives us our company culture and our heartbeat, so to speak,” Spencer said, “it translates in a way that we are very consultative and eager to reach consensus. But of course as non- Swedes sometimes things get lost in translation. As we are some 500 miles from Stockholm, we really appreciate our link to the SCC, as it helps us increase our understanding and to connect with the Swedish culture. Ultimately, that is the company heritage and it is very important to us,” Spencer told The LINK.
What makes you happy, work wise?
Being part of a team and seeing people do amazing things.
What makes you tick?
I do like to see things done properly. Electrolux customers should have a great service all the way through from the moment they’re in contact with us, through the product being installed in their home, right through to its everyday use. And if we’ve asked for something to be done and it has been done correctly.
How would you sum up Electrolux in three words?
Innovative, modest (as we don’t boast about our amazing achievements) and ambitious.