Hobart has claimed that service level agreements (SLAs) between customers and third-party service providers can often drive the wrong outcomes within the industry when it comes to equipment maintenance, with the company raising questions around whether it is now time to review and rethink this option.
Following the challenges of the pandemic and the changes resulting from it, alongside the ever-growing issue of supply chain disruptions and parts availability, in a number of cases metrics that have been previously used to judge services provided by a third party have become “completely irrelevant”, the company said.
Hobart continued: “As a market leading commercial catering equipment and service provider, we understand the importance of mitigating any downtime. We believe that when a piece of equipment breaks down, the critical factor is the time it takes to fix the equipment, not the time it takes for a technician to arrive on site.
“However, other providers promise quick-reaction SLAs, and meet them, yet are not always in a position once they arrive on site to provide a fix. This can result in equipment standing dormant for days while parts are ordered or waiting for a more qualified technician, bringing operations to an abrupt halt.”
Hobart Service advise any businesses who are currently under a time-based call out SLA, yet experiencing issues such as first time fixes or parts availability, to revisit the contract and SLA regularly, whilst discussing and exploring what is critical for their business.
In a recent meeting with Hobart, Armend Aljo, Procurement Manager at Oakman Inns and Restaurants group in England, said: “Downtime would be a huge issue for our businesses as it immediately affects service delivery to our customers.
“A four-hour reaction time literally only works on paper in my opinion. Because you can have somebody jump in a van and go to site and look at a problem, agree a part is needed which will take three or four days and then they leave… you pay a premium for the four-hour reaction time and get nothing in return.
“When it comes to a four-hour reaction time which some companies require, it is all blown out of proportion as to what really matters – which is the fix. Something that Hobart Service have always achieved for us due to being the service delivery team for the manufacturer.”
Response times only usually state how quickly the service provider must respond to a report of a problem, even if just to confirm receipt of your request, with repair times also tending to be stated as non-binding targets, or on some occasions, are missed out entirely, Hobart added.
With customers needing an approximate deadline for solving problems, the company noted that vendors may explain that repair times are omitted on purpose because they cannot estimate repair times until they know the root cause of the problem.
As a possible solution, the company highlighted the need for customers to ask service providers for a repair deadline, or a remedy if the deadline is missed.