2 Sep 2022

Forging electronic partnerships face-to-face: Karl Trautmann speaks about the fun and intensity of IFA Berlin

ElectronicPartner’s Karl Trautmann relishes the long-awaited opportunity to be back at IFA

ElectronicPartner and its three brands MEDIMAX, EP: and comTeam have made a welcome return to IFA Berlin in 2022. We spoke to executive board member Karl Trautmann and asked him how it feels to meet the industry in person again, after two years.

It feels real, it’s exciting, intense and a lot of fun. It’s nice to finally have personal conversations and intensive face-to-face dialogue. We experienced a real boost in digitalisation over the last few years and it’s fantastic how many new virtual means of communication we have gained as a result. But at the end of the day, events like IFA prove that human nature cannot be digitalised. We can’t do without personal encounters and live experiences if we want to intensify relationships and create innovation.

What is ElectronicPartner presenting this year at the show?
We have set up a VIP area at the IFA Palais for our members and partners again. They can enjoy a comfortable lounge area away from the hustle and bustle of the trade fair, where they can network, talk to our partners from the industry or simply catch their breath – either inside or outside in the IFA summer garden that is adjacent to the Palais.

Sustainability is high on the IFA agenda. But what exactly does sustainability mean for ElectronicPartner?
Our buying group endeavours to employ sustainable practices in all areas, both in our own office buildings and at our member companies, in product recommendations and in our supplier choices. In 2022, to ensure that the issue of sustainability is implemented more effectively in future, ElectronicPartner has published a report detailing activities already underway and, above all, new objectives. We have based this on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

In practice, how is sustainability reshaping the consumer and home electronics industry?
The topic of sustainability now affects just about all areas of our day-to-day life, including consumer and home electronics. We are seeing an increased demand for resource-conserving and energy-saving products among consumers. People are also paying more attention to how responsibly the business where they are shopping is positioned. Where, and under what conditions, products are manufactured is also playing an increasingly important part for many people. An important section of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, which we use for orientation, also addresses this matter.

Could you tell us more about how you are planning on promoting a sustainable future, in particular with your Go Green initiative?
With our Go Green initiative, we add an extra layer to our “green” DNA. This involves the company moving in a comprehensively economical and responsible direction. To do justice to the UN’s definition of sustainability in a broader context, we apply it not only to how we deal with nature, but also to the entire world around us. That includes other aspects such as nutrition, health, equality, education, and international co-operation. In keeping with the theme of Go Green, we are working with our national organisations in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland on a strategy for promoting sustainability in the EP: and MEDIMAX brands and actively conveying it to end consumers.

How important are major events like IFA for the industry to achieve these goals?
Live events always present a particularly effective way of getting to know new ideas, exchanging knowledge and experiencing what is possible now or in the near future – this also applies to the topic of sustainability. We hired a new employee a few months ago who deals exclusively with the topics of sustainability and Go Green at ElectronicPartner. She came along to IFA, of course, and is attending numerous meetings with industry representatives.

Decades of the Trautmann: EP partnership

Buying group ElectronicPartner has been involved in the retail of consumer and home electronics, IT and multimedia products and mobile communications for 85 years. Karl Trautmann has been working for the company since 1990. Having studied economics, he began his career in finance before he entered the retail trade at ElectronicPartner. He has been on the executive board of the buying group since 2001, with areas of responsibility including international purchasing with E-Square, press and public relations, and strategic projects.

From family business to entrepreneur network

Having formed as a family business in Dusseldorf in 1937, ElectronicPartner aims to combine the strengths of stationary trade with the opportunities offered by online business. By pursuing innovative paths in order to create positive surprises for the consumer, the company motivates their work force of 500 people and encourages them to work together to ensure the best possible support for members of the EP:specialist trade, the MEDIMAX specialist retailers, the comTeam systems traders and specialist independent trade members. Seeing change as an opportunity, and continually improving trading concepts, the company gives around 4.800 entrepreneurs across Europe the possibility to fulfil the needs of their customers on site, providing the tools – from range plan to marketing concept – to enable its members to concentrate on the essence of their business: successful trading.

Palais, Stand 100