Getting hold of new equipment quickly isn’t always as straightforward as it might sound, but Electrolux Professional has unveiled an exclusive delivery offering geared towards allowing operators to obtain commercial kitchen equipment just 24 hours after placing their order. Is it really that simple? FEJ caught up with Darren Lockley, head of region for UK & Ireland at Electrolux Professional, to find out.
How would you sum up your 24-hour delivery service to those that aren’t familiar with it?
Put simply, Electrolux Express is a service that brings together a core range of our commercial kitchen equipment with an extremely smooth logistics operation to ensure our customers are able to obtain new pieces of kitchen equipment just 24 hours after placing their order. Our pledge is to minimise the potential for kitchen downtime, which we recognise can be a huge problem for staff and operators alike. As part of the in-depth market analysis we conducted prior to launching Electrolux Express, we surveyed a number of kitchen staff across various different sectors and found that the wait for kitchen equipment had had a damaging effect on more than 40% of their businesses. This is something we felt we could really help to improve.
You originally launched a 48-hour ‘Express’ delivery service last year. Why the move to a 24-hour service now?
Having assessed the views of the market, industry trends, and the potential for us to build on our experiences of the last 12 months, we managed to reduce delivery times by half from 48 hours to just 24. This means we can now supply a specially selected range of equipment directly targeted at the replacement market to customers just one day after an order has been placed via our national network of distributors, provided their order is confirmed by 11am. As with a number of business-to-business industries, our customers’ expectations are increasingly being influenced by their experiences in the consumer world. Next-day delivery has become so commonplace in other industries and markets that we felt it was time for the foodservice industry, and the Electrolux brand specifically, to follow suit.
Next-day delivery has become so commonplace in other industries that we felt it was time to follow suit”
What sort of customers have made use of the Express service so far? Are you finding it is more suited to certain types of foodservice operators?
Although it is still relatively early days for Electrolux Express, we are encouraged by the sheer variety of customers taking advantage of what is on offer to them. From educational establishments to restaurants, hotels, and contract caterers, we’ve despatched deliveries to customers from every sector. To some extent, this shows that our aim of making the offering appealing to as broad a spectrum as possible is being achieved. Of course, our hugely committed and knowledgeable partner network has been key to the success of the service by providing an invaluable bridge between Electrolux and operators nationwide.
What kind of equipment is available to order through the 24-hour service?
The Electrolux Express range features dynamic preparation, refrigeration and dishwashing equipment, including our recently-launched E-Flex glass washer, all of which can provide welcome respite to a kitchen in need of an emergency replacement. Another one of the findings resulting from our recent market survey was that dynamic preparation, refrigeration and dishwashing equipment were amongst the most commonly replaced equipment over the last 12 months. As such we took the decision to focus our ‘24 to the door’ initiative around these key equipment areas in order to reassure our customers that if an emergency does occur, we are on hand to provide a fast replacement and keep any disruption to an absolute minimum.
We realise we have made a big statement with the phrase ‘24 to the door’ and we have to invest in the stock to fulfil this commitment”
What sort of investment has Electrolux had to make to offer this service? Presumably it has required a considerable increase in UK stockholding?
Our ability to offer a service which relies so heavily on well-managed logistics hasn’t happened overnight and we have made significant investments in facilities including a dedicated ‘Electrolux Express’ stock holding. This allows us to manage the stock purely allocated to the Electrolux Express service in isolation, which ensures there are no complications at any point from the customer order to the delivery. We realise that we have made a big statement with the phrase ‘24 to the door’ and we have to invest in the stock to fulfil this commitment.
To qualify for 24-hour delivery, customers must place their orders through one of your authorised distributor partners. How many of these distributors are there in the UK?
Our UK network of equipment distributors comprises 60 authorised partners and we will always ensure a customer is asked if they have a preferred distributor before they place their order. To keep things simple for those who may not have used an Electrolux-approved distributor before, a full list is available on our website at www.electrolux.co.uk/professional.
What happens if a customer needs to get kit to more than one site, in different locations? Can the order be placed through one partner, or would separate orders have to be made?
For those customers wishing to order two or more pieces of equipment within the same transaction, we do stipulate that the delivery must be to the same location. By ordering via one of our approved distributors however, customers have the advantage of allowing their supplier to take their delivery before splitting it prior to delivery. Orders for separate locations should be made using the online ordering system for each individual address.
When do you see the service acting most effectively? Is it when customers need a quick replacement of individual items?
The idea behind the service is very much to offer a bespoke solution when a customer needs to replace an individual piece of equipment quickly. The Electrolux brand has traditionally been known for being a complete kitchen provider, which is a reputation and USP we remain proud of. Having established the brand in the foodservice industry however, we saw an opportunity to diversify and reinforce to the market that we can also supply just one or two products at a time as they are required.
What is the cost of using the 24-hour delivery service for customers?
Having taken the decision to introduce Electrolux Express to meet our customers’ expectations, it was extremely important to us that we could offer the service without adding a cost premium. There is therefore no additional charge associated with this service compared to normal.