The UK division of warewashing manufacturer Meiko has much to celebrate in its 25th year in business. According to MD Paul Anderson: “Meiko UK has without a doubt, grown to be one of the most highly regarded warewashing suppliers in the UK catering industry.
“While sales and support of our large-scale flight systems – for airline and transport caterers, hospitals and the largest hotels – have necessarily remained in-house due to their complexity, Meiko UK’s business via its distributor partners has grown hugely since we launched.”
Looking back at the history of the firm, Anderson analysed: “From the first day of trading in 1994, Meiko UK was driven by the passion of its first MD, Bill Downie. Bill’s dedication to providing the very best in customer service is legendary in the industry and in establishing Meiko UK, he put in place a close-knit team of like-minded professionals.
“Meiko has never sold ‘boxes’. We have always provided our customers with what we consider to be the best total package, backed by focused service and support and a sincere and genuine concern to secure the very best warewashing solution for the environment, as well as the customer.
“Meiko’s distributor partners are equally committed to providing the best in customer service and they are key to our future development. Meiko UK will continue to set the industry benchmark in the support that we provide them.”
In terms of day to day communications and in providing support materials, product literature, manuals and technical information, the firm feels it has already upped its game by focusing more resources on serving distributors.
“We have also upped our training support, revamping our Slough HQ showroom but increasingly working with distributor partners in the field, training their engineers on site in real-time environments,” said Anderson.
“Our project management – as our partners know – is second to none. The attention to detail that we bring to our projects has been Meiko UK’s second nature since the company was founded.
“But it is also no coincidence that nearly half our staff have more than 10 years’ experience, many of these are our engineers who enjoy the benefit of only working on warewashing equipment and, consequently, I believe they are among the best trained and most expert in the industry.
“That experience and depth of support is also a major reason why Meiko UK has won ‘Supplier of the Year’ and ‘Service & Support’ awards more than anybody else in UK warewashing.”
But that’s the past, so what is Meiko doing for its partner distributors in the future? According to Anderson: “First and foremost: training. We are expert at providing training and, sad to say, not enough distributors take advantage of the incredible knowledge and expertise that we offer.
“That must change, because our goals for the future are changing; the planet is demanding we do something to stop causing environmental harm and we, in the business of providing warewashing, must do something to help.”
The manufacturer’s direction with its distributors will increase the focus on environmental issues. “The fundamental concern is still to provide our customers with clean plates and dishes. But we and our distributor partners must do our very best to ensure that the customer gets the right information to make an informed decision about environmental issues,” underlined Anderson.
“On the technical front, Meiko UK is at the forefront of developments such as BIM project modelling. Better sharing of information is the way forward and, in terms of working on projects, BIM is already proving advantageous. The level of detail provided by BIM models is extremely useful and, from the distributors’ point of view, it provides quick access to vital information including environmental performance data across software platforms and disciplines.
“It is up to us to provide a robust and consistent argument in favour of better environmental factors. The benefits from saving water, chemicals and energy need better explanation and we are working hard to provide better tools to illustrate this.”
Revealing that Meiko UK welcomes the opportunity for prospective customers to visit sites with Meiko equipment, to talk to current customers about the savings and efficiencies they are making and then compare them with its competitors, Anderson added: “It is not just about cost. Sometimes, customers are surprised as to what comes as standard on some models or indeed, how little extra they must spend to get a lot in return.
“It is inevitable that some people will still look short term, but that can be down as much to budget as much as lack of interest. In many cases, I am sure we can help by presenting a better designed package of information that illustrates the bigger picture and provides more than a drawing and technical brochures.”
Reiterating the firm’s green focus, he emphasised: “One thing is for sure, we must do something to help the planet and when it comes to dishwashing, we can make a difference.
“From our side we can support distributors with designs, layouts and relevant support material. Face to face briefings by our regional sales managers will explain the environmental benefits of buying Meiko’s heat recovery and GiO reverse osmosis.
“Our expertise and depth of knowledge can also help distributors improve the environmental impact of their projects. Efficiency comes from the machinery but also in the planning and layout of the dishwash itself, and that is where a company with knowledge and passion for dishwashing makes a great partner for the distributor. Something as simple as a good old fashioned ‘soak sink’ for cutlery, as an example, eliminates the need for secondary washing, creating big energy savings.
“Heat recovery can eliminate the need for overhead canopies; certainly, it will reduce the ventilation requirement and it is up to us to show the customer how our technology can bring them savings which they may not have expected, but no doubt will be positively welcomed.
“We can also provide comparative figures showing the environmental savings of new systems and even arrange site visits so that the prospective customer can see that the solutions work and provide the payback that they and their boss especially is looking for.”
Anderson concluded: “Meiko dealers understand that ‘value, not just price’ is the driving force behind our joint success. We will try and keep things simple, so the benefit is focused towards the customer every time. As always, features are great, but benefits pay back.”