Weber’s aftersales service pleases customers
Hans-Jürgen Herr selects his company’s own “grill oasis” for the photo. It might also be called the company’s test lab. This terrace on the eighth floor of a building in the center of Berlin has a number of smoking charcoal grills. It also looks out over the capital city with a splendid view of the television tower on Alexanderplatz. There are surely other labs with less enticing locations. And with less sophisticated fare for their employees. Herr lifts a tomahawk steak with a pair of tongs. The meat and bone weigh a good 1,500 grams, and would easily make a meal for three people. The beef steak gets its name from the impressive-looking rib.
Barbecue aficionados might already guess that we are paying a visit to Weber, the world’s most famous manufacturer of grills. Anyone who values the practice will have a Weber in their yard. Or on their balcony. Today we are trying out the Summit charcoal grill. Hans-Jürgen Herr is Weber’s president of the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Like so many other top executives, he is facing a transformation. He has a clear idea of what digitalization has in store for him and his company. For example, smokers that immediately upload measurement data to a cloud storage service and promptly notify owners when they should order replacement parts, or when a gas canister is just about empty. Which will be delivered, of course—in this case, in-house. Farewell to the frontier mentality of smoke and soot. And welcome to the new programmed world of grilling.
“Just like with cars, there’s no limit to what technology can offer to Weber grills,” says Herr. “I’m sure we’ll also be seeing fuel systems that go beyond gas and charcoal. Even more so than they do today. The only question is when.” As Weber’s president of the EMEA region, it is Herr’s job not to miss this point in time—like the perfect point at which to remove a steak from the grill. And he won’t miss it. Because to judge from past experience, he has a sense for the right products at the right time.