How It All Started
Unic and JURA first crossed paths in the year 2000. Do you remember that first meeting? How did it come about?
M. Wegmüller: Essentially, the collaboration was the result of a chance encounter. We weren’t actively looking for a partner, but also weren’t making any progress internally with the “Knowledge Builder” project.
What was the first joint project, what was the result and how did the collaboration go?
M. Wegmüller: We wanted to create a training instrument that was to be made available to the sales team before the actual coffee machine. It was supposed to simulate the features of the machine. Internally, we had created some attempts with PowerPoint and HTML without producing any compelling results. Together with Unic, we developed a Flash-based tool which, back then, was still distributed on CD-ROM, even to our customers.
The collaboration was creatively chaotic, in the best possible sense, but produced results, not least because of the many late nights and hard work of everyone involved.
The first web project for the IMPRESSA F90 followed in 2001. What was Unic’s role for JURA then? What was the approach to the world wide web?
M. Wegmüller: The project was to create a flash-based microsite for the IMPRESSA F90. We were able to rely on Unic’s technical expertise for this endeavour. But it was the following project that proved to be ground-breaking: In 2002, we started to build a worldwide corporate website for JURA, based on a CMS. Unic was more than a technical partner in this, as they understood the potential for international growth for JURA and the role the internet could play. That is when we laid the foundation for a partnership that has continued to this day. Even though we are using a new CMS now and JURA operates e-stores, the basic principle of a unified worldwide website has remained the same.
On the IMPRESSA F90:
This was the first “web-enabled” fully automatic coffee machine. The internet, for one thing, allowed for remote diagnostics: Data could be read in this way and JURA customer services could use it to advise the customer. But also, customers could download additional coffee recipes online and transmit them to the IMPRESSA F90.
From the Digitisation of Sales Channels
Multi-channel management was always crucial to JURA. They wanted to do justice to all sales channels. How has the significance of digital sales channels and their interaction changed over all these years?
X. Hadorn: Together with Unic, we implemented a unified global website, which still flexibly adapts to the product portfolio of the respective markets. Over recent years, we have also covered a lot of ground for the physical points of sale. Until the early 2010s, the web was purely a presentation and information platform for us. In 2013, we launched the e-store in Switzerland, and now all JURA sales organisations have one. Of course, our industry is also seeing a trend towards the digital, which was accelerated by the pandemic. Still, finding the right coffee machine for you requires a lot of professional advice. That is why we now have personal sales assistants online, in “JURA LIVE”. Connecting the digital world with the physical points of sale, this sales assistant is not only available on your computer, but also at JURA points of sale. These two worlds are not separate, but blended.
How long did it take from the first thought of e-commerce (online direct sales) to implementation and what were the challenges you encountered?
M. Maurer: The physical points of sale are still important for products that require a lot of explanation. You cannot try speciality coffees online, and selling that gourmet moment of bliss is one of the biggest challenges for the online sales channel. Consequently, it took us a little longer to offer products online. The first serious meetings about that took place in 2011, and we went live in 2013.
How did the digital teams at JURA evolve over time?
X. Hadorn: We established the e-business department at JURA during the original CMS project in 2002. From then on, we have had a specialised team focusing on web projects. New topics such as an extranet, intranet and newsletter soon popped up, and later also JURA LIVE and a 24/7 customer service function, for instance. Today, digital projects have a completely different relevance, which is also reflected in the organisation. We have a whole department dedicated to digital innovation, a team for data management and collaboration, and e-business focuses essentially on digital communication including sales via the e-store.
Sparring Partner on an Equal Footing
Together, we discovered the digital realm and helped JURA seize opportunities offered by the world wide web. How did Unic support JURA?
M. Wegmüller: Especially in the early phase of our collaboration, Unic not only provided technical expertise and project management skills, but also a big-picture view and long-term perspective. This allowed us to implement a global website at a time when projects with such an international dimension were still unusual.
How would you describe the collaboration? What is it you appreciate about one another?
M. Maurer: The continuity generates mutual trust. For us at JURA, it is an advantage that Unic knows our company and our needs. Both companies still have employees who have been around since 2000. Unic has also grown, offering a certain security.
What are the technical, social and methodological skills characterising this relationship?
M. Maurer: Unic employs highly skilled experts for all fields. Also, as we said earlier, Unic knows JURA and our needs. So everyone quickly understands what is important in joint projects.
Was your relationship ever put to the test?
M. Maurer: Unic has grown significantly over the past 25 years. That is important and comes with certain advantages, of course. However, this also caused some staff turnover. Especially with our now rather complex web platform, however, we do rely on a certain continuity and knowledge transfer. This has led to occasional friction – but only very rarely, looking at our 21-year shared history.
Looking Back: Anecdotes and Highlights
What shared moments, anecdotes and highlights do you particularly remember?
All three: We could tell quite a few stories, especially from the early days. But we will spare the readers the tales that you had to be there for. Above all, what remains is many good memories of late nights in the office and meetings that even ran until 10 pm. Of course, we also remember the flooded offices in the Matte quarter in Berne, even though we only heard about it from a distance. And we remember how a former Unic employee broke into quite a sweat in a JURA meeting, because the latte macchiato we served was not exactly compatible with his lactose intolerance – which we simply did not know about.
Are there any experts that you remember particularly well, and why?
All three: We can remember so many names and stories. But it wouldn’t be fair to single out individuals. We look forward to making new memories!
A pioneer in the field of espresso and fully automated coffee machines, JURA has been building knowledge since the mid-eighties and plays a key role in the household appliances industry. This expertise also feeds into the development of professional devices for office and food service use.
In recent years, the traditional Swiss brand has evolved into a global player. The company is headquartered in Niederbuchsiten, Switzerland. With its sales organisations, joint ventures and distributors, JURA has a footprint in over 50 countries worldwide.