Servicing experts dispute first time fix as accurate performance metric

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Peter Baulch, Derek Maher and Kirstin Hatherley debated the real value of first time fix rates.

The assembled panel of experts at Commercial Kitchen’s Maintenance, Service & Repair 2019 seminar session tackled the thorny topic of first time fixes.

Chaired by Catering Insight editor, Clare Nicholls, the discussion saw Kirstin Hatherley, director, Hatherley Commercial Services; Derek Maher, MD, Crystaltech Services UK; and Peter Baulch, service director, C&C Catering Engineers give their experienced opinions on a range of pertinent maintenance issues.

Chief among these was first time fix rates, with Maher commenting: “Some companies will go out and just fix the fault to keep their first time fix rates high.

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“But the quality of the machine is actually depleting, if you do not return to bring the machine up to a full operation condition. That’s what will extend the life, but then that may make your first time fix figures look bad.”

On how to maintain good first time fix rates, Baulch said: “We focus on geographic areas, ensuring our engineers are carrying stocks that are specific to those areas – in some cases just the clients that we’re working for.

“Bigger clients are moving towards the recognition of stockholding on site, so that you haven’t got to carry stock around because they are prepared to keep it in their building for you to use.”

Nevertheless, he emphasised: “A lot of things today are about engineers’ knowledge, experience and training. Lots of things can be repaired because it isn’t actually a component that’s failed, it’s the knowledge and understanding that the problem is something within the function of the actual appliance. It could be to do with software or programming.”

While Hatherley underlined: “We try to carry as many generic spares as we can. It’s very difficult for us because we are dealing with hundreds of different types of manufacturers and different types of machines, so we can’t possibly carry everything.

“We are lucky in the fact that supply chains are good, we can get spares fairly quickly but as far as first time fixes go, when you are dealing with so many different types of equipment, it can be extremely difficult to get that done and right every time.”

She further pointed out: “Another really important thing is for your office staff to get the right information from the person who is calling it in. Because very often you get very vague details of what might be the issue, and if you do a bit more digging and delving, you can very often then be a bit more prepared and get the right spare on the van to potentially solve the problem.”

Look out for the August issue of Catering Insight to read the full panel discussion.

Tags : commercial kitcheneventmaintenancepanel debatesrepairservicingtrade show
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

1 Comment

  1. I don’t think either me or my clients have ever received a “first time fix” unless it’s been something obvious such as pressing the wrong button.
    It seems to me that no matter how big the van is even the simple parts are’nt there. They’ll come, they’ll charge, they’ll order the part., they’ll return (and charge),realise they need another part, they’ll order and return and charge.

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