In conversation with Karl Philipp Riener
On the occasion of the company's 70th anniversary, RIKA Managing Director Karl Philipp Riener gave an interview.
RIKA: Mr Riener, you grew up in the family business and joined the company in 2019 as managing director. What do you personally associate with this year’s anniversary?
K.P. Riener: Well, first and foremost I am very proud of our company and everything we have created, and I am of course delighted that I will now be able to continue running our family business in future in the third generation.
RIKA: The “future” is exactly the right keyword: Where is the journey heading, what product innovations can we look forward to?
K.P. Riener: The journey is going to be very exciting. In light of the climate crisis, wood as a fuel, sustainable heating and management are becoming increasingly important on a global scale. We will therefore clearly focus on the further development of biomass combustion in terms of ecofriendliness and efficiency. However, we will also be paying more attention to design: In particular, the ability to integrate our products, since the stove is increasingly becoming a piece of heating furniture. We are also going to look beyond our horizons and dare to do something completely new.
RIKA: That sounds promising. We are curious to see where the journey will take us. And where is strategic focus in future?
K.P. Riener: We will continue to push and expand our Premium Partner concept. With new additional Premium Partners and Premium Stores. “Premium” means that you exclusively or predominantly sell the RIKA brand. This creates a very strong bond between our dealers and us and also our importers. Support and advice at all levels play a very important role.
RIKA: The digitalisation process is already very advanced in production. Are there other business units that will also be moving in this direction?
K.P. Riener: Of course. Many business areas are benefiting from the digital transformation. In production, for example, we are already working with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies such as driverless transport systems or data analysis tools. The next step is for us to take new digital paths in the area of sales, marketing and service. We will soon launch a new online portal for our dealers, with an integrated e-commerce system.
RIKA: That sounds like another very important step in the history of RIKA, which is a real success story in general. From the 60 square metre metalworking shop to European market leader in the pellet stove segment with a vast international dealer network. Is there a recipe for success?
Yes, our success is essentially based on my father’s many innovative ideas and on our high quality standards. They were the most important factors from the very beginning and they have proven their worth to this day. The continuous development and improvement of our products also contribute to our success - we have been able to develop numerous RIKA innovations and perfect the pellet heating technology in our in-house test laboratory, which is one of the most modern in the industry.
RIKA: And what role does the factor "family business" play?
K.P. Riener: For me, a family business means above all strong cohesion within the company with the support of the family. 70 years of experience in metalworking is priceless and is a huge advantage for us. Personally, of course, I also very much appreciate the dialogue and collaboration with my father.
RIKA: You are both very involved in product development. Your interest in technology and its constant development – is that a special bond that you both share?
K.P. Riener: Absolutely. Technology combined with design is very important to both of us. This is a very exciting area of activity and is in constant development. It is always really great and thrilling to launch a new product or a new technology on the market. The response from the market and the resulting dynamics then very often give us the impetus for more ideas and developments.
Thank you very much!
The interview was recorded and broadcast as part of the RIKA Keynote. This online version has been slightly shortened.