It’s been a year since Wexiodisk launched a UK operation and the company recently flew members of the press over to its Swedish production facility to see where its kit is made and divulge its market strategy. Here are 10 things you need to know about the established commercial warewashing builder.
10. Swede success
Wexiodisk was formed in 1972 by three founders who saw an opportunity to supply dishwashers to distributors. In 2004 the company became part of the Ali Group after it acquired the Finnish Hackman Group, owner of Wexiodisk’s parent Metos. The brand’s warewashers are built at its HQ in Vaxjo, Sweden, where all but one of its 160 staff — UK country manager Simon Frost! — are based.
“We are a niche player and maintaining the quality is important to us,” says Wexiodisk’s MD, Torsten Nyberg. “We talk about 20 years for a dishwashing machine, competitors talk about three to 10 years — that is the difference.”
9. Focus on build quality
At its factory, a high level of craftsmanship is involved in making the company’s range of machines to order. “Our corporate mission is that Wexiodisk’s specialist products and services shall be recognised as being top of the line with custom value well worth paying for,” declares Fredric Moe, sales and marketing director at Wexiodisk. “We may not be the cheapest tin on the shelf, but we are proud to say that we are one of the top for quality and performance.”
8. Model subsidiary
Wexiodisk supplies to 32 countries courtesy of export agreements with more than 70 sales partners. This is backed up by alliances with 80 services partners. The opening of a wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK last year, led by ex-Manitowoc sales chief Simon Frost, marked the first time it had ever appointed someone to represent it on the ground with dealers. “What we are now trying to do is take the UK model and duplicate it in other countries in Europe. We will have somebody in Russia doing the same thing for us there,” explains Moe.
7. Service from the start
Wexiodisk’s sales activities in the UK are supported by fellow Ali Group company Serviceline, which ensures its equipment is serviced, maintained, commissioned and installed. Frost comments: “Half the battle with any item of equipment is making sure that it is set up correctly to run within the parameters that the machine is designed for. Every machine we sell in the UK is commissioned by Serviceline, which of course reduces any teething problems that you have when you turn machines on.”
6. Wonder of the web
Wexiodisk’s service capabilities have been aided by the introduction of a pioneering web diagnosis tool across much of its range. The technology allows the unit to be connected via a wireless internet link to a dedicated page on the Wexiodisk website. From there, the operator is able to monitor and download a fully compatible HACCP report detailing individual wash and rinse tank temperatures for every cycle, as well as any faults that may have occurred. It also means engineers are able to identify any faults remotely via a number of predefined error codes, before ordering the necessary spare parts prior to arriving on site.
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5. Dealer strategy
Wexiodisk’s model in the UK is based on 100% fulfilment through distributors. “The strategy for me is to build a dealer network, which is what we are doing, because for us to be able to penetrate the UK market in a significant way you have got to go through dealers,” says Frost. “As well all know, the dealer network in the UK is exceptionally strong and dealers are wired into different market sectors.” Through working with companies such as Shine, Caterware, GS Group, Denton’s, CPS and 3663, Wexiodisk has had success with operators such as TGI Friday’s and GBK, as well as other public and private sector clients.
4. Link to the factory
Before Wexiodisk launched its UK operation, business was handled by exclusive distributor BF Engineering Services in Hampshire. Frost acknowledges that the one drawback of the former model is that most distributors would prefer to work with a manufacturer directly rather than through another dealer, where they know extra mark-up is likely.
He says BFES did well with the product, especially in the area of the country where it is located, but believes the new approach will allow it to market to a wider audience of dealers throughout the UK. “Wexiodisk UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the factory, so when I am talking to dealers they now essentially have a direct relationship with the factory in Sweden,” comments Frost.
3. Solution selling
With a solid range of single-tank, rack conveyor and flight machines, as well as a patented, double-final rinse technology for hood dishwashers, Wexiodisk boasts a portfolio that it insists will help kitchens cut the labour and energy costs associated with washing. But it’s true to say that its kit commands more of a systems and solutions sale, says Frost.
“It takes some talking — it is not the sort of product where you can send someone a brochure and they will sell it, which is why the strategy has not been to even consider any kind of internet selling,” he remarks. “You are not going to click on it and say, ‘I want one of those’, because it just doesn’t work like that. You have got to sell the whole process and savings.”
2. Pre-rinse philosophy
Wexiodisk’s unique pre-rinse machines, which include the WD-PRM 60 and 90, were designed to replace the more traditional pre-wash hand shower which precedes most commercial dishwasher installations and can consume significant amounts of water, especially when left on during service. The PRM utilises the warm, chemically-enriched waste water from the adjacent warewasher to pre-rinse the plates prior to entering the dishwasher. Wexiodisk says this cuts man hours, keeps wash-up areas cleaner, and reduces fresh water and heating costs associated with hand showers.
1. Simple savings
Frost admits the pre-rinse philosophy can sometimes bamboozle people when first conveyed, but he points out that the best ideas are usually the simplest: “You are reusing water that is already heated, your client has already paid to heat it, you have already got the chemical into it, and you are washing under pump pressure. The big thing is that you are getting rid of the hand shower and the saving on 150 racks per day over a course of a year, versus a typical hand shower for a 30-second wash per basket, is about 200,000 litres of water.”