Putting the confidence back into school catering buyers

The results of the first annual National School Procurement Survey (NSPS13) revealed that more than 60% of those in charge of school purchasing admitted they don’t have complete confidence in their buying decisions.

The poll exposed procurement professionals’ desire for detailed, objective information on prospective suppliers, such as those providing kitchen equipment, so they can be more confident about their buying decisions.

Here, CEDA’s chairman Jack Sharkey, CEDA chairman, and managing director of Vision Commercial Kitchens, responds to the survey from the distribution trade body’s perspective.

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“I read with great interest the piece titled Schools ‘lacking confidence’ in suppliers. It was revealing to note that from the 100 schools surveyed in the first annual National School Procurement Survey (NSPS13), 60% did not have complete confidence in their buying decisions for services and products including catering equipment.

“It would be great if Peter Melville, schools business director at William Edwards School and founder of the survey’s provider incensu.co.uk, could help put the Catering Equipment Distributors Association (CEDA) in touch with those who don’t have complete confidence in buying catering equipment. I’m sure our member companies are able and willing to solve this dilemma.

“All our members operate to the highest professional standards in the selection, procurement, planning, installation, training and maintenance of catering equipment and we can provide introductions to the most suitable ones local to a particular school. Many of our members already have excellent track records with individual schools and their local education authorities.

“Our members are used to delivering contracts at short notice and have the skill to advise, project manage and deliver work in school holidays on time and within budget. A good example of this is Chillerbox planning and installing kitchen ventilation systems for several schools in Bedford during the summer.

“CEDA members have proven track records working closely with schools, colleges and universities, and as an association we work closely with the Local Authorities Caterers Association (LACA) on areas such as nutrition, effective kitchen layouts and training for kitchen staff. CEDA members are often recommended from school to school, as was the case with Chillerbox in Bedford.

“We invite any school personnel involved in the procurement of catering equipment to contact CEDA directly for free, impartial advice on finding the catering equipment company and solution they need, from refurbishment through to complete kitchen installations.”

Jack Sharkey is the current serving chairman of CEDA and managing director of Vision Commercial Kitchens.

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