Cannect

Cannect is a strategic direction for Brabantia, a company which manufactures items for home like trash bins, laundry bags, food storages and other products for indoor purposes.  Brabantia is popular for the trash bins they manufacture but the other products developed by Brabantia do not enjoy the same popularity. The direction developed focuses on the other products also to help Brabantia exploit full potential of their product portfolio. A product range connected to each other and automated to help consumers have a better life by letting them concentrate on things that matter the most in life is proposed as a solution.

Brabantia is a more than 100 years old company which has a wide product portfolio of 1500 household products worldwide. The trust and the loyalty of consumers obtained during the years, through quality manufacturing, has given the Company a good brand image. Despite having a wide household product portfolio the popularity for waste management products has grown exponentially making the Company a leader in that sector. All these years Brabantia has called itself a“Solid Company” until 2014 when it revamped its design proposition to “Design for living” be-cause wants to become an inspiring interior design brand. In fact, the focus is more on:“enriching the quality of life and living for all consumers, making sure that no matter what they are doing around the home they will love doing it even more with our smart designed products” as reported on their website.

“Designed for living is an amazing opportunity to really make a difference. Enriching the quality of life and living for all our consumers, making sure that no matter what they’re doing around the home, they’ll love doing it even more with our smart designed products!”

“Do they also make appliances other than trash bins?? really??”

Brabantia focuses more on trash bins and waste management products which has overshadowed the other products. Desk research showed that consumers are not happy with the service provided by Brabantia with products other than trash bins. When the warranty period for some of the trash bins is 10 years, for  products other than trash bins the warranty period is only 6 months. Also, when people were asked about Brabantia, they replied that it is a brand for waste management products. Many of them were unaware of the other products offered by Brabantia. These people are willing to spend more on products if the quality of the products match with quality of trash bins. Consumers are willing to spend more when the price difference compared to competitors is translated into a quality margin. They see it as an investment as it is considered more convenient to make a purchase more expensive which lasts 5-6 years rather than opt for something cheaper which lasts for 1-2 years. Brabantia as a brand is meant for premium and relaxing lifestyle  but the same is not portrayed with products other than trash bins.

To start with, company’s strengths and opportunities were mapped along the axis and possible search fields were created. The search fields showed 3 main directions for development. The 3 directions were a. products for efficient lifestyle, b. turn Brabantia into a designer product-line and c. diving into other market such as workplaces or hospitals. Plotting the main 3 directions on Ansoff matrix and VRIO matrix showed that developing products for efficient lifestyle is most viable and feasible for Brabantia which is also desired by consumers.

Brabantia’s vision of designed for living is better achieved by ensuring that the user’s experience with life is pleasurable and relaxing. This can be done by decreasing the time spent on daily chores and enabling people to spend their time on things that matter to them.

The product portfolio of Brabantia shows high focus on kitchen related appliances. Efficient lifestyle also relates to giving a hassle-free experience to users when they spend time in kitchen. A future, where time is efficiency, providing efficient lifestyle translates to automating products so that they can work on their own, without the supervision of users. At the same time, along with automating kitchen, efficient lifestyle also requires providing support to user when he spends time in kitchen so that he can have a smooth and relaxing experience.

A quick mind mapping session helped to understand daily chores and for the next ideation process. The ideation process in this phase focussed on possibilities related to household chores which can reduce the time spent on the chores. Ideas selected were compared using the methods of Harris profile and Datum method. Both the methods show a clear preference for the idea of connecting kitchen appliances for making the kitchen smart, connecting it to the user thus providing the control of kitchen to user and giving them a hassle-free experience. Although automating kitchen seemed the final solution before Datum and Harris Profile, the 2 tests showed why connecting kitchen is better choice than the automating kitchen. Both the ideas rank same on first few criteria but automating next criteria show that automating is less viable for Brabantia than connecting kitchen. Considering the short timeline of Brabantia for a new concept, connecting kitchen is much more suitable option than automating kitchen and so, connecting kitchen was selected as final direction for development.

Ideas selected were compared using the methods of Harris profile and Datum method. Both the methods show a clear preference for the idea of connecting kitchen appliances for making the kitchen smart, connecting it to the user thus providing the control of kitchen to user and giving them a hassle-free experience. Although automating kitchen seemed the final solution before Datum and Harris Profile, the 2 tests showed why connecting kitchen is better choice than the automating kitchen. Both the ideas rank same on first few criteria but automating next criteria show that automating is less viable for Brabantia than connecting kitchen. Considering the short timeline of Brabantia for a new concept, connecting kitchen is much more suitable option than automating kitchen and so, connecting kitchen was selected as final direction for development.

Although automating kitchen seemed the final solution before Datum and Harris Profile, the 2 tests showed why connecting kitchen is better choice than the automating kitchen. Both the ideas rank same on first few criteria but ‘manufacturability’, ‘timeline’ and ‘cost’ criteria show that automating is less viable for Brabantia than connecting kitchen. Considering the short timeline for a new concept, connecting kitchen is much more suitable option than automating kitchen which will take more time and so, connecting kitchen was selected as final direction for development.

The Cannect product line thus proposed is a range of products which act smartly, such that, they have smart base. The smart base collects data about the ingredients in the jar using weighing sensors, motion sensors and collects the data on a cloud. Using machine learnign algorithms, an application proposes different recipes as well as sends the data to users on their smartphones and displays it on the jar. This way, Brabantia will help customers to focus on positive experiences that matter inside kitchen. By allowing users to spend less time on activities that matter less in kitchen, a better and efficient lifestyle is achieved.

The project was carried out by 4 students of strategic design course- Anirban Roy, Guilia Bachhi, Maaz Khan and Animesh Mazire with Ruud van der Heur as a coach.

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