The Supplier of the Year for Service & Support acknowledges that selling a piece of equipment is only the first part of a supplier’s relationship with its customers, which is why so many operators place huge value on the support that a brand can offer them.
This distinction will go to the supplier judged to provide stand-out support for their product in terms of areas such as warranty provision, after-sales service, spare parts and customer assistance.
We are delighted to announce that the 2019 shortlist includes the following companies:
Two more additions to Jestic’s dedicated engineer team in the past 12 months means it now has 45 factory-trained technical specialists covering the UK, while a further two apprentices engineers have also been recruited. They have helped to deliver an outstanding first-time fix of above 90% and one of the most comprehensive service packages in the market. An Equipment Support Specialist function has also been created, whose sole job is to provide onsite training to chain and group operators. A further key development has been the move to bring third party ‘out of hours’ telephone support to a dedicated in-house team. This now means a seven-day service is offered by Jestic’s own resources, giving the service team greater control when supporting customers.
With operators increasingly requiring product and stock information on-demand these days, Lincat launched a new website to improve the catering equipment purchase process for end-users. An extensive 18-month development project led to the British manufacturer creating a site that now allows users to directly compare up to four pieces of equipment side by side, including dimensions, power and performance, as well as access more detailed product information and even buy spare parts online. Operators can now see pictures of more than 3,000 spare parts, check stock availability and delivery options, and place orders on a 24/7 basis. An online product configurator for its Panther and FriFri ranges, meanwhile, simplifies what used to be a complex specification process for bespoke products.
Meiko UK’s after-sales support offer starts with its HQ-based Technical Services Support Desk. Manned seven days a week, 363 days a year, the desk has a dedicated team answering technical queries. Direct support is available from Meiko UK’s team of 47 in-house engineers, who have achieved a 94% first-time fix rate in the past year. All Meiko UK Technical Service vehicles now carry the top 200 parts for front-loading and hood machines and the top 50 parts for the larger rack and flights. Spares can also be delivered before 10.00 the next day if ordered before 15.00. As sales via its partners have increased, Meiko has expanded the level of training given to both its own engineers and partner distributors.
In addition to enhancing technical training for third party engineers and live technical support, Unox has added end-user chef support to its service proposition so that operators can maximise their culinary potential when using its ovens. The employment of an in-house development chef means it now has dedicated resource available at all stages of the sales cycle to advise and assist clients cost-free. The investment has led to customers gaining a better understanding of the benefits they can get from their equipment, particularly given the launch of innovative appliances such as the Evereo combi oven. The additional in-house support has allowed clients to develop more efficient ways of preparing and holding food through assistance with menu and recipe structure.
Welbilt has made a number of investments within the service and support areas of its business, including the introduction of a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system so that smaller customers can spread the cost of their purchases in manageable monthly payments to aid cash flow. Customers can alternatively pay for their units in a one-off BACS, cheque or card payment. A partnership with First Choice Group means it can now offer a premium spares supply service containing specialist customer service support, while the company has expanded its masterclass provision so that more UK customers can receive hands-on equipment training and culinary assistance. The launch of its latest masterclass site in Edinburgh takes the total number of facilities up to eight.
In the past 12 months Winterhalter has restructured its service department to improve its installation procedures, build closer relationships with customers and exploit new technologies. It now has more than 90 engineers on the road, with install teams divided into regions and supported by an enhanced customer support team. The adoption of advanced logistics software has helped speed up installation times, bringing it down to within two days of order and less. Engineers visiting a site will also carry out a more comprehensive assessment beyond just servicing the equipment so that any issues can be addressed early. This is augmented by its ConnectedWash technology, which warns when components are failing or when a machine is not operating at optimal performance.
The 2019 FEJ Awards ceremony and gala dinner takes place on Tuesday 4 June, the first evening of the Commercial Kitchen show, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.