Users will only get the best out of their warewashing equipment if they know how to operate and maintain it correctly. Fortunately, manufacturers are striving harder than ever to make the process easier by combining traditional methods with new digital techniques. FEJ reports.
Warewashing manufacturers unanimously agree on one thing: customer training in the correct usage and maintenance of a new warewasher is crucial.
Getting it right will ensure the longevity of a machine and give the operator the best possible chance of achieving optimum performance levels from their investment.
Of course, the whole issue of usability begins before you even get to the training stage as suppliers ultimately want to make it as straightforward as possible to operate their machines from the outset.
As Adam Lenton, marketing manager at Classeq, says: “All our products are engineered with simplicity in mind — being easy to select and install, simple for customers to use, and simple to maintain and clean. In fact, very little training is required to operate a Classeq glass or dishwasher.”
That said, Classeq, like its counterparts in the warewashing space, is not naive enough to overlook training altogether, no matter how easy its machines are to operate. As well as training its dealers to be able to train their customers, it conducts direct training with end-users on all aspects that influence how well they will get on with their purchase, such as cleaning and water softening.
DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems takes similar steps through its two-pronged approach to customer training. Firstly, new distributors are obliged to undergo full product and maintenance training, and secondly it always prefers to carry out its own installations so that it knows all of the vital training with the user gets done.
Director Bob Wood says: “Should the distributor or engineer installing the machine be fully trained beforehand, they can ensure the equipment is installed correctly, all services are connected properly, and the client is trained on how to use the equipment.”
The issue of installation and ownership around training is one that other manufacturers cite. Phil Coulstock, commercial channel director at Smeg, notes that all too often glass and dishwashers are installed by non-commercial catering equipment engineers and, more frequently, by electricians, plumbers or shopfitters that have potentially never seen or installed one before.
“We used to regularly find machines being left without being correctly set up for the site they were installed at and with staff left to learn how to use them on their own,” he says. “That’s why Smeg has taken steps to reduce these issues and support both the installation and user operation of the dishwasher and offer support tools like training videos, installation check sheets, user guides and several other helpful aids, along with on-site and classroom-based training courses.”
Machines may be simpler, more intuitive and easier than ever to operate, but sites still need to ensure that staff training on correct usage doesn’t become an afterthought, especially in light of potentially high kitchen staff turnover.
Allied to this, the all-day dining market has effectively ripped up the rulebook when it comes to dayparts, meaning kitchens are busier than ever, with little respite throughout the day.
As a result, manufacturer Hobart urges all sites to place a greater emphasis on staff training to ensure warewashers are properly operated and prevent potentially disruptive and costly breakdowns.
“Hobart offers completely free training for the life of its warewashing equipment, which means staff are fully briefed on the best and most effective ways to operate the machines,” comments sales director Tim Bender. “Crucially, the on-going training programme means operators can take regular advantage to help new employees get up to speed.”
At Meiko, the company’s sales force and team of 40-plus engineers are on hand to carry out customer training. UK managing director, Paul Anderson, says that training is just as important as commissioning the machine correctly, insisting kitchen staff must be happy and comfortable with the system for the customer to get the best out of it in terms of performance.
“Meiko’s contract customers are fully aware of our commitment to ongoing training and our engineers and regional sales managers frequently re-attend sites to carry out further training for new and replacement staff,” he notes. “A key issue from many operators’ point of view is reliability across their estate. They may have machines from several suppliers in use. For Meiko key account contracts, we also offer training and our usual high standard of service support on Meiko and non-Meiko machines.”
Paul Crowley, marketing development manager at Winterhalter, says the reason that training on new equipment is essential is that most machine failures come as a result of operators failing to follow manufacturer guidelines properly.
He says: “When Winterhalter installs a warewasher it is generally Winterhalter technicians who deliver the training. All Winterhalter machines have self-training software built in. If a warewasher is well-looked after, serviced regularly, cleaned properly, the manufacturer’s guidelines followed and thorough training provided for staff, the lifecycle of it should be very long indeed and it will work at optimum efficiency.”
Over at Maidaid Halycon, the brand works alongside its distributor partners to deliver onsite training on the operation of new equipment once it has been installed.
Sales director, Julian Lambert, explains: “It is easier to train the end user on-site using their machine. This enables the training to be tailored to the site’s personal requirements. One of the main training areas that is covered is good daily cleaning and housekeeping, as this will make the machine not only last longer but more importantly help to give better results especially on glassware, as a dirty machine will give poor results.”
And Wexiodisk is another advocate of the view that the most effective training is carried out at source. Fully-qualified engineers impart their wisdom when they arrive on site to commission each machine purchased.
“During this visit, the engineer will also provide product specific training, allowing staff and operators to gain a thorough understanding of the operation and capabilities of the installed machine,” says UK country manager John Shepherd.”
As far as warewashing suppliers are concerned, good training really is the bedrock of good operating practice.
Training at the touch of a button
New technology means that operators can now access training tips and techniques at the touch of a button these days.
While warewashing manufacturers emphasise the value of on-site training given the importance of a warewashing machine to a catering operation, mobile and video training tools certainly have a significant supporting role to play.
Adam Lenton, marketing manager at Classeq, says it is continuously assessing its business processes to find simpler ways of helping partners and customers. “We have found that videos are a great way of demonstrating how to use our equipment, plus imparting advice on being able to choose the right equipment and we do have short, easy-to-understand videos online readily available for all our machines,” he says.
Meiko also provides demonstration videos for cleaning and maintenance across its complete product range. “For account customers, we offer video training, including a glasswashing online tutorial and test and demonstration video on how to change water filters on Meiko GiO machines,” reveals UK managing director Paul Anderson.
Winterhalter has successfully used a training truck to educate customers, touring the UK to provide hands-on sessions to convey the features of its machines. It relies on dealer partners to assist in customer training and has strengthened the overall collateral it offers in recent years.
“We have developed some training videos that can further assist end-users with general operational queries and housekeeping. These are available online on our YouTube channel,” reveals marketing development manager Paul Crowley.
Maidaid is also in the process of adding to its library of ‘How to’ training videos, which can be viewed via its website and YouTube page. “Our extensive range of training literature is freely available for both download and request. We also include hygiene and maintenance guides to ensure the end-user has everything they need to avoid unnecessary call-outs and maintain optimum results,” explains sales director Julian Lambert.
One brand that doesn’t currently offer any training through videos or apps is Wexiodisk. However, it is due to roll out a new control panel across a number of models and this will include pre-loaded videos.
“These easy-to-follow videos will allow operators to follow operation and cleaning advice by the simple touch of a screen should they need to revisit their training,” says UK and Ireland country manager John Shepherd. “As well as this, every Wexiödisk machine is delivered with pictograms, visually demonstrating how to set up, operate, clean and maintain a Wexiödisk machine in an easy-to-follow format that can be understood by anyone no matter their skillset or native language.”
It is up to suppliers to decide which training methods work most effectively for them and their customers. Hobart sales director, Tim Bender, perhaps speaks for most brands when he suggests that the best solution is probably
a mixture of everything.
“There is definitely a place for training videos and apps — and we may well see these come into their own in the future — but we still find that the most effective way to communicate this is face-to-face as it’s imperative that we get them as ‘hands-on’ with the machines as possible.”