Calling for back-up: Q&A with Electrolux’s service chief

Thermaline cooking suite

With the right service, operators can make their catering equipment last for years and avoid the sort of costly breakdowns that bring a kitchen to its knees. FEJ caught up with Neil Washbourne, service development manager at Electrolux, to find out how the world of after-sales support is changing.

Where does planned preventative maintenance (PPM) fit into the service equation today?

For all outlets on the foodservice spectrum, the after-sales support offered by manufacturers is becoming increasingly important. Not only do operators want to be able to make one call and have someone come out to fix equipment in the event that something does go wrong but, with PPM contracts, some of these issues can be tackled even before this occurs.

Neil Washbourne

Neil Washbourne suggests operators need to consider what support they most require from a PPM contract and ensure this can be delivered.

What factors should multi-site operators bear in mind when arranging a planned preventative maintenance contract?

One of the most important aspects to consider will be the timing and frequency of checks. By ensuring that any work will be carried out as quickly as possible during quieter times, operators will minimise disruption. Of course, not all pieces of equipment will see the same amount of usage, so be sure that checks are scheduled as often as necessary to meet the requirements of each individual site. Similarly, investors should look for contracts which include the general cleaning of equipment, as this can go a long way to maintaining performance and reliability and will try to reduce the severity and regularity of any work which is undertaken.

What advice would you give to operators that are in the process of evaluating their PPM options?

As with any product investment, it is vital to look beyond just the cost of the PPM for additional features which will extend the life of equipment and make an operator’s life easier. Some PPM contracts, such as those offered by Electrolux Professional, are included in extended warranties — which are already good indicators of a manufacturer’s faith in their equipment.

Do you see many changes in the way that PPM contracts are structured or delivered?

The main change we’ve seen is the need for manufacturers to accommodate the various needs of the operator. With multi-use sites often unable to cope without kit for even a day, the latest PPM contracts on offer will see work carried out of hours or even overnight to minimise disruption and make sure that downtime is minimised as much as possible. We’ve designed a comprehensive spares and repairs service around a strict business model that can deliver spares the next day. This customer-centric approach ensures spares orders or repairs are completed first, and the administration for that task is processed after the repair has been actioned.

The best services will include thorough analysis and even photographs of what was wrong, allowing operators to change site behaviour if necessary”

What are the do’s and don’ts that operators should heed when deciding on a PPM contract or comparing different PPM offerings?

Not all PPMs are the same, so the main thing for operators to consider is what support they think they will need and make sure that this can be included within the contract. Also, not to be forgotten is the importance of feedback offered following any checks which are made. Yes, operators want their equipment fixed, but the best services will include thorough analysis and even photographs of what was wrong, and how to eradicate this so that operators can change site behaviours if needed.

Does training have a part to play in the PPM process?

Yes, training packages should not be overlooked as these will ensure the best practice is followed at all times. From the point of installation our engineers will provide training on how to use, maintain and clean the equipment, with regular training for end-users either at our Innovation Centre in Luton, or at the site where the kit is installed.

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