Wonderfully changeable

The creators of Shuffle are as agile and adaptable as their product.
A conversation about the digital transformation, flat hierarchies and the typical “Shuffler”.

How would you describe the team behind Shuffle?

Frank Schad: Think of the competitors in a secondary school science competition (laughs). By the way, the area we’re now sitting in was actually once a teen bedroom that was part of our in-house exhibition. The Shuffle team enjoys a lot of freedom within the company. We’re allowed to be different. Of course we’re not a real start-up, but we have the same mentality. The will to make decisions within the team is extremely strong. You don’t find that everywhere. I’m always impressed by my colleagues in the company – we have all the necessary skills in-house and get an incredible amount of input for the Shuffle project.

Mareike Weimer: On the one hand we’re a very young team with an affinity for the internet, but we also have experienced colleagues who know our processes well. This starts with development and design and continues through to EDP, technology and production. It just wouldn’t work without them.

Rauch is actually a very traditional furniture manufacturer. Why jump into the online business now?

Frank Schad: There are two topics that drive us forward. First, there are our customers. They have changed. Many people now complete the so-called “customer journey” – the process from the desire to buy a cabinet to the actual purchase – entirely online. They’re inspired by blogs and websites and don’t go to the furniture store to make their purchase. Instead, they increasingly buy things online. With Shuffle we want to be exactly where people are looking for inspiration – on the internet. And secondly, the entire dealer landscape is changing significantly. The dealers are important partners for us, and the online business has been growing very strongly for years. Again, we have strong partnerships here and deliberately link to them.

Are these changes a good or bad thing?

Mareike Weimer: Definitely good. Change is what drives us. Clearly, we are encountering topics we’ve never met before and have to come to terms with them. But we all believe it’s the way to go.

Frank Schad: We have a desire to carry this new burden. Our advantage over others in the furniture industry is actually our young team. And they really want to make a difference.

„Our advantage over others in the industry is actually our young team. And they really feel like making a difference.“ – Frank Schad

Is there a mini-revolution underway at Rauch Moebel?

Frank Schad: That’s overdoing it. Not revolution, but evolution. The new Shuffle team has not replaced anybody, instead it complements the existing areas of the company. The conditions in the market have simply changed; we’re responding to this with something new.

Mareike Weimer: We all take our lead from Frank here. He says: “We want to do this and and we can do it. But we need a plan and a strategy.” We don’t simply charge in blindly.

That’s a good motto. Frank, you’re Chief Digital Officer at Rauch Furniture. It’s a nice title. What does your role involve?

Frank Schad: It’s about digital transformation across the company. We have developed a digital strategy together with the management. This includes, for example, the leadership culture, which is non-hierarchical in digital companies. It’s all about trust and the freedom of choice to promote entrepreneurial thinking. We want to live this concept more in the future. The team that deals with the new product, Shuffle, forms the core of this – it drives the implementation of our digital strategy.

Tanja Lang: We are practically the laboratory for the digital transformation at Rauch. With Shuffle, we are rapidly bringing a user-centric product to market, marketing it on social media, and using a website with online merchants as a distribution partner. We’re driving all of the most pressing issues. And we’re allowed to experiment a bit. Not only with the product, but also with fundamental processes. For example, when building a content-driven and user-oriented website.

What’s your take on the idea of sustainability?

Mareike Weimer: This is not merely an idea for us. Quality and sustainability are actually a tradition at Rauch. The wood for our products grows in regional, sustainably managed forests – so we always know exactly where it came from. We even produce chipboard at our own chipboard factory, which lets us strongly influence the quality. We manufacture exclusively in Germany and have done so for over 120 years. Because sustainable action and “made in Germany” are part of our corporate philosophy.

In your view, who is the typical “Shuffler”?

Mareike Weimer: For me, he or she is a commuter with a smaller second home in the city centre. Or someone who frequently has to move home because of their job.

Tanja Lang: Or someone furnishing their first home properly…

Frank Schad: … and it’s an apartment up in the roof!

In one sentence, why must I absolutely buy Shuffle?

Mareike Weimer: It’s entirely logical – because it’s just a great piece of furniture.

Frank Schad: You don’t have to buy it… you want to buy it.

Tanja Lang: I would just say that it’s wonderfully changeable.

„You don’t have to buy it… you want to buy it.“ – Frank Schad