Unox ponders takeover of service business

An acquisition could be on the cards for Unox’s UK operation this year as it bids to develop its services infrastructure, the company has revealed.

Gary Nunn, managing director of the commercial oven brand, wants the company to have its own services organisation and he admits the process of doing this is already underway as he attempts to achieve that goal within the next 12 months.

“We are close to possibly buying a service company and bringing them into house,” he says. “We have been talking for about six months although there is nothing confirmed yet. I would like to have something in place by the end of the year, but we are not going to rush into it. It needs to be done properly.”

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Nunn believes a service organisation would benefit Unox on a number of fronts, including allowing it to explore areas such as extended warranties, part exchange and rental.

“Somebody can buy a car today for £7,000 and three years down the road they are going to get some money back for it. If I buy a combi oven at £7,000 then three years down the road I get nothing for it. That is not right and that has to change. Maybe there should be a partnership between the dealer and the manufacturer to give a part exchange after that three years, or at least an extended warranty.

“Again, I can get an extended warranty on an iron for £20, but I can’t get a reasonable extended warranty on an oven. We seem to have got away for a long time in the catering world with not offering all these little fringe benefits. I don’t think it’s right to keep sticking more and more discount on and say, ‘well, it’s cheaper and cheaper to buy so we are not giving you anything else for it’.”

Nunn says the addition of a services business would allow it to tighten up its existing offering and take on maintenance and service contracts that it currently doesn’t have the resources to do. It would also enable it to provide greater support to dealer partners.

“At the moment we don’t do any installations, but a lot of the dealers are now moving away from the installation side of it because they see it as a hassle. We have had enquiries in the past six months asking, ‘can you do the install?’ We are not talking here about having a national operation with 40 or 50 engineers, but if we had our own service company we could then use our own people.”

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