Ice machine makers allay stock shortage fears

Ice machine sales are rocketing because of the glorious weather — but leading suppliers insist there is no danger of the market running short of product.

Some manufacturers have seen unit sales rocket by as much as 30% this month, as operators either rush to buy additional machines or are forced to replace equipment that has failed in the heat.

With the weather forecast continuing to look good for the remainder of the month, suppliers claim they are well-prepared to meet any further spikes in demand.

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Hubbard Ice Systems, the UK agent for Scotsman, said it always over-stocks at this time of the year in anticipation of a hot summer and to accommodate European manufacturing schedules.

“Our stock levels are stable across the range,” said Hubbard’s commercial director Chris Davis. “Scotsman in the UK is one of the few distributors to constantly maintain a high level of stock inventory with over half a million pounds worth of stock and spares as standard. We have a good stock replacement system in place and our supply chain allows for quick replenishment.”

Hoshizaki also said it remains well-placed to meet the growth in orders, with its manufacturing facilities responding to an increase in its UK sales forecast.

“Fortunately, stock at this moment is not an issue as Hoshizaki has a manufacturing plant in the UK,” said national sales manager Mike Simmons. “Therefore we have more flexibility in responding to increased orders for products. Over 75% of the products Hoshizaki supplies in Europe are made at the Telford factory.”

Nick Burridge, sales director at Classeq, said: “We have accounted for the continued hot weather so planned our inventory accordingly. We have enough stock to cover us during this hot period, so stock for us is not an issue.”

The sustained hot weather is putting added workload onto ice machines, which typically leads to increased failure rates among older products and units designed to lower specifications.

Manufacturers say that operators are choosing to replace machines in instances where they are beyond repair or need an instant solution.

Additionally, sites have been buying extra machines or larger machines to cope with an increase in cold drink sales.

“A lot of operators have been working on a ‘make do and mend’ situation, which was sufficient when the weather was cooler as the machines were not working too hard,” says Hubbard’s Davis.

“All of a sudden the hot weather is here and the old ones are unable to cope with the extra workload. There are also those that choose small cheap machines and Far Eastern-manufactured machines, which cannot cope with the current sunny conditions in terms of volume and storage.”

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