Darren Lockley, Electrolux’s head of region for UK and Ireland, explains how Electrolux Express can play an important role in the supply chain.
Many distributors will have already been made aware of what our new initiative entails, but for those who haven’t, Electrolux Express is a service that brings together a core range of our commercial kitchen equipment with a smooth logistics operation to ensure customers are able to obtain new pieces of kitchen equipment just 24 hours after placing their order.
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 the message that we can also supply one or two products at a time as they are required.
While it wouldn’t be practical or even possible to offer this service on every single piece of equipment within our portfolio, the Electrolux Express range has been developed to provide welcome respite to a kitchen in need of an emergency replacement for the most vital pieces of equipment.
This means it features dynamic preparation, refrigeration and dishwashing equipment, including our recently-launched E-Flex glasswasher – choices which were backed up by market research.
Like a number of business to business industries, our dealer network’s 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. [[page-break]]
We don’t just want to be able to meet our customers’ expectations; we want to exceed them, and by offering such a prompt delivery service on a core range of products, our customers should feel completely assured that they can trust us to meet their needs at short notice.
We make no secret of the fact that since first launching our Electrolux Express initiative 12 months ago, the views of the market and industry trends have since shaped our offering and prompted us reduce delivery times by half, from 48 hours to just 24.
Sometimes learning from experience is the best way to meet your customers’ needs, and that has certainly been the case here. Now, we can supply a specially selected range of equipment directly targeted at the replacement market just one day after an order has been placed, provided the distributor has their order confirmed by 11am.
Prior to launching Electrolux Express, we felt it was pertinent to take a closer look at the issues driving the market and its supply chain.
As part of our in-depth market analysis, 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 over 40% of their businesses. This is something we felt we could really help to improve.
Another result of our recent market survey was the observation 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 foodservice customers that if an emergency does occur, we are on hand to provide a fast replacement and keep any disruption to an absolute minimum.
At Electrolux, we’ve developed a culture where we will only introduce a new product or initiative once we have thoroughly researched its potential in the marketplace. It is vital that we can provide our network of partners with what they want, rather than what we think they may want. [[page-break]]
Our recent survey, which showed the growth of the catering equipment replacement market, gave us the encouragement we needed to place Electrolux Express firmly at the heart of this trend.
It goes without saying that there was more to our preparation than market research, and we had to take a detailed look at our logistics operation to ensure the initiative we had in mind would be feasible. Naturally, this couldn’t happen overnight.
With a need to rely heavily on well-managed processes, 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, ensuring there are no complications at any point. The statement, ‘24 to the door’ is a big one, and we realise that we have to invest in the stock to fulfil this commitment.
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 committed and knowledgeable partner network has been key to the success of the service by providing an invaluable bridge between Electrolux and operators nationwide. Our UK network of equipment distributors is made up of 60 authorised partners and we will always ensure a customer is asked if they have a preferred distributor before they place their order.
We know from experience that the foodservice industry is extremely fast-moving, so we are constantly monitoring our service and its performance with a view to strengthening it over time.
Looking at the medium to long term, our intention is to enhance Electrolux Express even further by adding a larger portfolio of cooking equipment as and when dictated by the evolving demands of the market. The ultimate aim is for us to firmly establish ourselves as the provider of an invaluable replacement service.