Suppliers step up efforts to ensure uninterrupted service

A-Winterhalter-engineer crop
Winterhalter engineers have been given instruction on how to safely operate at customer premises.

Warewasher manufacturers have stepped up their game to ensure that the rest of the catering equipment supply chain can receive their goods as usually as possible in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

At Meiko UK, it wanted to reassuring customers, distributors, kitchen houses and consultants that the company continues to run as usual.

MD Paul Anderson said: “Meiko UK continues to run as normal, particularly with regard to the supply of spare parts and the availability of our engineers nationwide to achieve rapid first time fix to breakdown calls.”

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For distributors, he emphasised: “Thanks to Brexit, we are fortunate to have built up at least 4 months UK parts stock, on our top 150 lines, to support our dealers and end users.

“We have a large UK stock of over 400 plus undercounter and pass-through machines available, as well as a supply of Ao30 level disinfection machines available for areas where the very highest levels of hygiene are required.”

Anderson concluded: “We believe we have taken all necessary steps to ensure the continued hygiene and dishwashing capability of our customers. If this situation were to change and Meiko’s ability to deliver technical service support were to become impaired, we will issue a further statement.”

At competitor, Winterhalter, it stated its priority during the coronavirus crisis is to make sure it is supporting its customers, the industry and its staff. Alongside adhering to government advice, the company has put plans in place to ensure it can continue delivering uninterrupted service to customers. It has also made arrangements to ensure staff are safe but also to enable them to continue working, either from the company’s premises or from home.

Winterhalter’s service department will continue to operate as normal between 8am and 5pm and the company’s engineers have been given instruction on how to safely operate at customer premises. Meanwhile it is offering customers a reduced planned preventative maintenance scheme, ready for when the market is back up and running. Winterhalter’s parts provision remains open and normal delivery applies.

Similarly, Winterhalter’s chemical department remains open, with normal delivery times. For some chemicals, including hand sanitiser and certain other cleaning products, the company is working hard with suppliers to make sure they are available to users as soon as possible.

“We are doing our utmost to ensure that our customers receive the service they expect from Winterhalter,” says Stephen Kinkead, MD of Winterhalter UK. “If anyone has any issues or questions then please call or email us.”

Over at Italian-headquartered Comenda, it released a statement detailing that its main priority continues to be keeping its employees and communities as healthy and as safe as possible.

This detailed: “Like many other Italian companies, we’re facing the current critical situation with fierce determination. We are following the instructions of the relevant authorities and have introduced all the measures indicated by the Ministry of Health.

“We confirm that Comenda business functions are 100% operational and our production programme is constantly updated to ensure you receive the best service. Likewise, our spare parts supply logistics is also guaranteed as usual.

“Our best-selling machines are ready for prompt collection and we are working to provide you, as usual, the maximum collaboration and flexibility.”

Major names in the rest of the foodservice equipment sector are also aiming to help as much as possible. Lincat will be prioritising catering equipment and spare parts orders for the NHS and public sector organisations and offering them a free, direct next-day delivery service.

Marketing manager Helen Applewhite said: “The current coronavirus crisis is placing huge pressure on our frontline public health services. In a bid to help support catering operations in our hospitals, care homes, and other public sector organisations, we are prioritising the process of both product and parts orders and offering a free next-day delivery on direct delivery items.

“Should a vital piece of catering equipment fail at such a crucial time, the impact could be devastating at what is already an incredibly difficult time for our services. Our offer is an effort to keep kitchens and catering outlets running, serving staff, visitors and patients at this busy time.”

While sister company IMC has increased production of equipment in its IMClean range of cleaning and rinsing items for commercial kitchens.

The manufacturer is building stock of its Mobile Hand Wash Station and its Pot Boy Power Brush.

The hand wash station is standalone and can be placed where needed, independent of plumbing, with it holding a 10-litre supply of water and separate waste collection. It should be simple to set up with a 13A plug and provides warm running water via a foot-activated, infrared tap to remove the need for hand contact.

The hydraulic Pot Boy Power Brush is designed to effectively clean anything from pans and cookware, to sanitaryware.

Ian Washington, production director at IMC, commented: “As a result of the coronavirus, a growing number of businesses, beyond catering and hospitality, are looking to ramp up hygiene standards. Therefore, we are responding to this market demand by redirecting production lines to build stocks of our mobile hand wash stations and Pot Boy Power Brush.

“We are closely monitoring the daily landscape and are constantly adapting to respond to the needs of commercial caterers and wider businesses.”

At kitchen shelving specialist Metro, president and CEO John Nackley underlined: “We are doing our best to keep everyone healthy and safe in the workplace while also minimising disruptions to our day-to-day operations and business continuity for our entire channel.”

Therefore, the US-headquartered firm has as many employees working from home as possible at the moment, but all customer service contact information remains the same. Nackley further detailed: “All manufacturing and distribution facilities continue to operate fully and without interruption. Fortunately, all capabilities are in North America so sources of supply are uninterrupted.

“We have built a significant inventory of shelving, storage and speciality products capable of being shipped in normal lead times.”

At Chelmsford-based tableware specialist, Creative Retail Display, it updated its customer base on the status of its Chinese manufacturing facility. Director, Paul Miller, explained: “While our factory, based in Guangzhou has reopened for manufacturing, we are operating at greatly reduced capacity as strict screening procedures are in place for all staff and returning workforce in co-ordination with local health authorities.

“To ensure no further spread of the virus inside the factory premises, no access is granted to anyone exhibiting any flu like symptoms and they are instructed to self-isolate awaiting further testing. This same access restriction applies to all external parties requesting access to our premises for example transport couriers.

“The manufacturing premises is also being subjected to ongoing sanitizing cleansing of workplaces, machinery, flooring and packaging areas on a 24-hour basis. Because of the strict measures being implemented we believe we are eradicating any risks of any type of transmission of the virus further afield.”

On the firm’s lead times, he revealed: “Due to reduced operational capacity this will mean over the period of the next 8-12 weeks possibly longer, there will be delays in the delivery of our products and longer than normal manufacturing lead times which before the onset of this situation averaged 25-28 days.

“Our UK-based customer services team in close co-ordination with our sourcing department will continue to issue weekly updates on the status of pending outstanding deliveries so that our customers will know what to expect in terms of delivery. In exceptional circumstances where warranted based on commercial evaluation we will avail ourselves of the option to air freight products as opposed to our regular transportation method via sea freight.

“Please rest assured we are doing all that we can to ensure that this situation is carefully managed in the best interests of all our customers.”

Tags : Comendacoronaviruscreative retail displayIMCLincatMeikometrowinterhalter
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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