- 112 chemin du Moulin Carron, CS 90229 69134 ECULLY Cedex
- Start date : janvier 2008
“Don't bin it, repair it” is the idea behind the ground-breaking repairability policy being pioneered by the SEB group. As repairing a product benefits both the consumer (by saving money) and the environment (by decreasing resource consumption and waste), SEB did not wait for new legislation on obsolescence before taking action to extend its products’ service lives. After conducting trials with two brands in 2015, the SEB group announced at the start of September 2016 that it would be rolling out its 10-year repairability policy across all countries and all brands: Seb®, Rowenta®, Moulinex®, Calor®, Krups® and Tefal® (for domestic appliances and pressure cookers).
For the consumer: A product is only considered repairable by the SEB group if none of its replacement parts cost more than half the cost of a new product. As a result, there is always a financial justification for repairing a product rather than buying a new one.
For the SEB group: SEB’s commitment to its products’ repairability gives the company a competitive advantage over its rivals. It is a vector for brand preference and encourages consumer loyalty. “Every product repaired is a sale that hasn’t gone to our competitors” was how Alain Pautrot, SEB’s Customer Satisfaction Director, explained it to the Figaro newspaper (see article). For society: As explained in the “Social benefits” section, the repair industry is a significant source of non-offshorable jobs. Furthermore, according to a study on “Repurposing, repair and reuse” published by the French environment and energy management agency (ADEME) in 2015, the repair sector in France comprises around 85,000 businesses with combined revenue approaching €45 billion.
Enabling a product to be repaired for 10 years helps to:
- Cut waste volumes: French people dispose of an average of 16 - 20 kg of electrical and electronic equipment waste (EEEW) each year (source: ADEME 2010 report on “Saving the planet’s natural resources”)
- Enable an appliance to be used for longer, thereby optimising the natural resources used to produce it.
Repairability is one of the key loops in the circular economy, extending the service life of products (see the “corrective maintenance” loop in the diagram opposite). ADEME has initiated a study of six product categories, to assess the impact of a repair/repurposing/reuse on greenhouse gas emissions and/or other major impacts. The study results will be published in July 2017.
The Faucogney-et-la-Mer site in Franche-Comté is the nerve centre of SEB’s repairability policy, with more than a hundred employees devoted to storing 5.7 million spare parts and dispatching nearly 1,500 packages per day to 60 different countries. This facility is the hub of a network of 6,500 approved professional repair technicians that provides thousands of non-offshorable jobs all over the world. In France, according to a study published by France Stratégie in April 2016, there were almost 215,000 repair-related jobs in 2014, compared with slightly under 276,000 in 2008. Through its repairability policy, the SEB group is combating job losses by supporting small domestic appliance repairers. SEB also takes part in initiatives to promote repairs, including the “appliance repair Tour de France” organised by the ENVIE integration association. Eight designated beacon cities are hosting a raft of initiatives to meet and inform the public and provide free practical guidance on repair-related topics: basic maintenance tuition, events relating to the repair of SEB group products and large electrical appliances, tips on everyday energy savings, etc. Furthermore, empowering consumers to repair their products for 10 years enables them to save money by not buying new products before they are needed.
Stages of the initiative
2008 Presentation to the Executive Committee of the “SEB REPARE !” (“SEB can fix it!”) plan, which aims to make all products genuinely repairable, and to actively encourage users to repair rather than replace them. Three goals In the short term, decrease the number of products without genuine defects that are exchanged under warranty, by returning such products to their users after inspecting them and performing a simple repair, rather than issuing a refund. In the medium term, improve the quality of all our products by enhancing our understanding of existing defects; this cannot be achieved simply by exchanging products, only by thoroughly studying components while repairing them. In the long term, enhance the image of our brands and build loyalty among consumers, who will have been able to use their products for longer, and in some cases will have had products successfully repaired at minimal cost and inconvenience. A former manufacturing plant located in Faucogney-et-la-Mer (in Franche-Comté) was converted into a nerve centre for the repairability policy. This 15,000 sq. m central storage facility carries a stock of 6 million parts representing 40,000 part numbers. Half of these parts are intended for the future, as “10-year stocks” are built up when production of a product is discontinued.
2010 The repairer network was enhanced (6,500 partners worldwide) and direct interfaces established with SEB’s logistics division, to shorten replacement part procurement times (30 h on average, in France).
2011 “Repairability criteria” were introduced. All products leaving R&D are analysed using these criteria and a report presented to the Executive Committee.
2012 Spare part prices were slashed by around 30% to encourage consumers to repair products.
2015 “Product repairable for 10 years” marketing strategy trialled with the Rowenta and Seb brands in France.
September 2016 “Product repairable for 10 years” marketing strategy rolled out to all SEB group brands in France and internationally. The first packaging bearing the “Product repairable for 10 years” hit the shelves. SEB began performing repairs using 3D-printed replacement parts, to ensure continued availability of parts no longer conventionally procurable, particularly for older products.
In late 2016, SEB performed its first repairs using 3D-printed replacement parts, to ensure continued availability of parts that would no longer be conventionally procurable, particularly for older products. The medium-term goal is to run down stocks of certain spares.
Furthermore, SEB group products will increasingly bear the “Product repairable for 10 years” logo. The aim is to fix the repairability message in consumers’ minds. In several countries in which the SEB group operates, it is looking into ways to assist consumers who want to repair their products themselves. In France, for example, SEB opened its first three repair-it-yourself centres (similar to Repair Cafés®) in June 2015, with support from the industry association, GIFAM, and the French environment and energy management agency, ADEME. These centres are hosted by SEB-approved repairers in Limoges, Périgueux and Tours. Consumers can come to the workshop with or without an appointment, and repair their appliance themselves in a dedicated area with all the necessary technical documentation, spare parts and professional advice conveniently available. The group is gradually rolling out this innovative service across its network of 220 French repair partners. Three new cities will be covered this year (Lyon, Grenoble and Le Mans). Lastly, taking this approach a step further, a range of assembly and disassembly instruction documents will soon be published, accompanied by software tutorials to help people safely repair their domestic appliances themselves.
Areas of activity
- Material efficiency
Pillar(s) of the circular economy
- Extending useful service life
- Responsible consumption
Technical resourcesThe repairability campaign is backed by a network of approved repair centres, which are crucial partners for the SEB group’s repairability policy. This web of independent repairs ensures that consumers will indeed be able to have their products repaired locally. SEB’s network currently features more than 6,500 approved repair centres worldwide.
The SEB group has also put the necessary human resources in place to implement its “product repairable for 10 years” policy.
- Service departments in all countries have been reorganised to enable them to work closely with repairers.
- Customer contact centres have been set up and developed with the aim of “finding a solution to every request”.
- Improvement plans have been introduced at R&D centres, for example to optimise disassembly or to adapt the design of products deemed insufficiently repairable.
- A team of five has been set up to develop the 3D printing project.