The trials and tribulations of getting on customers’ lists and the level of paperwork and quality management processes that accompanies it will be something that many distributors will be all too familiar with.
Construction in the UK is now built on management processes to eliminate possibilities of environmental and health and safety issues on site, meaning clients are constantly approaching contractors for updated certificates covering such areas.
Even if a kitchen house has all the documentation to hand, what about its sub-contractors or their part-time engineers? And what happens if a labourer from a subcontractor that it never knew was on the site gets seriously injured? As one distributor said recently, “the ripples from the pebble in the pond are getting bigger and bigger”.
IMS Book is one company bidding to take the stress out of this challenge. It has developed technology that securely holds a contractor’s information so that clients can instantly see their details online, removing the need to submit hard copies to various clients again and again.
IMS Book also acts as a marketing tool, allowing potential clients to identify organisations, and sends email reminders to users in advance of expirations of qualifications and insurances.
Catering Insight asked John Acheson, a co-founder of the business, how it can help catering equipment distributors burdened by bureaucracy.
How did IMS Book come about?
“The founders of IMS Book all have extensive certification backgrounds, covering quality, environmental and health and safety. From our experience, it was widely recognised that many organisations are simply not meeting their legal requirements in proving company/individual competencies through a lack of understanding, time and resource. IMS Book will provide an effective tool that assists organisations to manage this, while reducing the time and resource carry it out.”
What sort of challenges do kitchen houses face in keeping certifications updated?
“As we all know, the catering supply industry is a fast-paced sector and often staff come and go. This, along with the fact that health and safety legislation is becoming more rigorous, means that the burden on smaller suppliers to maintain their systems and records is ever increasing. IMS Book has been developed as a simple-to-use tool that gives real time information to those that require it, while greatly reducing the effort on maintaining records.
Pre-qualifications are made simple and effective, through the online portal, and with the advent of smart phones, proof of qualifications and competencies are available almost anywhere and on any site.”
What is the relevance of this in terms of suppliers or main contractors needing access to such information?
“In today’s market, the chain of suppliers is often overlooked and can be multi-tiered. The big issue for main contractors in this is knowing who is actually on their sites. Through IMS Book, the main contractor can drill down through the supplier chain to the actual individual who is working on their site and view their individual qualifications and competencies instantly and in real-time.”
How does the system work in the context of commercial kitchen dealers specifically?
“It is a simple system. You register on IMS Book, update all the documents the main contractor requires, and connect. The main contractor can then see all the documents you have given permission for them to see. The clever technology here is the dashboard and built-in warning email system alerting you of any soon-to-expire certificates. This prevents oversights and ensures that all current employed individuals are qualified and certified to carry out the work they are doing.”
Can the platform do anything else?
“Further options are available within IMS Book to manage transport, plant and equipment. Again, it is about providing a platform for kitchen houses to show clients that they are in control, with further reductions in time and effort.”