Setting the gold standard for service

Adande Refrigeration’s Service & Operations Manager, Tom Whittington, is an experienced hand when it comes to looking after the customer. Having been with the company 19 years and spending time working on both the production and development of Adande units, this deep product knowledge provided a solid grounding for a later role in Customer Service. Now, as Service and Operations Manager for the company, Tom explains Adande’s commitment to aftersales’ support and shares an insight into initiatives designed to improve the customer experience for end-users, service companies, technicians and catering equipment engineers.

Hi Tom, tell us a little bit about your role at Adande?

Sure, so, my role involves responsibility for aftersales’ activity, including co-ordinating service issues, managing spare parts inventories, scheduling despatches and deliveries of new units and generally overseeing the customer experience. I oversee a small team of customer service and service personnel who help ensure everything runs to plan.

Can you tell us about the Adande service team?

Our Service Supervisor, Kevin Sanderson, has been with the company for 14 years and Zaren Templeton has worked here for 18 years. Conor Parsons joined us recently in a service and support role. The team also includes Lee Cade who joined Adande in 2019 as our London based Service Engineer. Our USA Service operation is headed-up by Leo Gonzalez. We are a small, tight knit group with a wealth of product knowledge, but that is only half of the story. There is a culture of service, which runs throughout all departments of the company, with all employees committed to ensuring that our customers enjoy the very best experience when dealing with Adande and our products.

What are the key targets you set for service calls?

As a market leading brand, we appreciate the importance of supporting our products with the very highest levels of aftersales’ back-up. We want our customers to benefit from maximum availability of their Adande fridge, reducing potentially costly downtime to an absolute minimum. Our key performance indicator for service response is 48 hours, but we attend the majority of call outs within 24 hours. We are proud of our record of achieving a high first-time fix rate.

What is the importance of service in the current economic climate?

The hospitality industry has been facing a raft of unprecedented challenges, which have squeezed profit margins. Higher energy tariffs, increased costs and an uncertain supply chain have forced some businesses to review their operations. As a result, companies are seeking to extend the life cycle of their existing equipment to avoid investment in new equipment. Inevitably the increased demand for aftersales’ support has meant that service and spare parts have become increasingly important aspects of our business.

What measures have you taken to meet the increased demand for aftersales’ support?

The hospitality industry has been a victim of supply chain issues which have impacted on their ability to acquire new equipment and to secure prompt servicing and component support. Recognising the need to provide Adande users with timely spare parts and technical information, we entered into a Master Distribution Partnership with First Choice Group, the UK’s largest supplier of OEM spare parts, accessories and consumables. Under the agreement First Choice Group holds a comprehensive range of genuine components for our full product portfolio. First Choice Group has made a significant investment in its Adande stock inventory, providing customers, technicians and catering equipment engineers with access to genuine spares from a single source, despatched for next day delivery. First Choice Group also offers service support in terms dedicated product knowledge, identification of parts and a complete library of user manuals, technical drawings and installation guides.

We asked First Choice Group’s Head of Manufacturer Partnerships, Steven McLaren, how the agreement was panning out and he told us:

Adande is one of the most prominent brands in the UK refrigeration equipment sector and as such, we were delighted to develop an OEM partnership with the company. With over 41,000 Adande units in the field we knew that the agreement would create new opportunities for us and we have responded accordingly. We hold 183 different Adande components in stock and the value of our inventory is nearly £400,000. In the last year we have processed 3,196 orders for Adande parts, 82% of which have been fulfilled with a first time pick from stock held. 87% of shipments have been delivered the next day as a result of the many delivery methods we use, from click and collect to courier services. Industry response has been very positive and we are meeting our objective of providing operators with spares for their preventative maintenance regimes and emergency repairs, keeping kitchen equipment in peak operating condition and reducing downtime.

Back to Tom. What resources do you have at your disposal for UK service operations?

We provide comprehensive service coverage throughout the UK. We have a strategic partnership with a national catering equipment service company and we also work with twelve other regional service providers. We provide all our service partners with extensive training on Adande products and they are all approved by our blue-chip clients. Each of the service providers carries an inventory of Adande spare parts to ensure a high first-time fix rate.

What about service support for the export market?

In North America sales and service support is run by our sister company, Adande Refrigeration USA. Aftersales’ business is headed-up by Leo Gonzalez, who has a wealth of refrigeration and service expertise. In the rest of the world, including Europe, MENA, Asia/Pacific and Australia service business is handled by our strategic global partners responsible for the sales of Adande products. Just like our UK service operations all of these partners have received extensive training on Adande products, are approved by our blue-chip clients and carry an inventory of Adande spare parts. First Choice Group is currently rolling out a programme which will give our European partners access to its vast stock inventory.

In Terms of service requirements, what sets Adande apart from other refrigerated equipment?

Kitchen equipment can take a fair amount of stick during service, and it is not unknown for chefs to slam doors and drawers, sometimes with their feet. Adande drawer units are inherently robust and built to withstand the harshest and busiest kitchen environments. I don’t recommend it, but I have seen our Managing Director, Ian Wood, stand in the drawer of an Adande unit to demonstrate how well built it is.

Adande fridges have been designed and engineered for minimum maintenance, low cost of ownership and a long life cycle. There is less wear on the horizontal seals than on the doors of conventional refrigerators, meaning that seals need replacing infrequently. We are the only manufacturer to offer a two-year warranty on seals. The durable metal drawer runners are designed to protect against the moisture and freezing issues associated with conventional fridges and freezers. Our drawer runners have been tested to achieve over 500,000 openings.

Another advantage of our design is the positioning of the condenser inside the unit, rather than the exterior positioning on traditional upright refrigerators. This ensures that Adande’s self-cleaning condenser is isolated from the dust, debris and food particles, which frequently cause condenser failure on conventional equipment.

We have had Adande units installed in QSRs operating 24/7, which are still going strong after more than eight years, whereas you would expect to replace a conventional upright fridge after five years or so. The proven statistical failure rate for Adande fridges is about 1% compared with an industry standard of approximately 3%. In the unlikely event that an Adande drawer should fail, independent control of the other drawer allows it to be set to the required temperature, eliminating complete redundancy of unit. Refrigeration reliability is a major issue in hospitality as downtime may result in food waste or lost sales. The fact that we offer a UK five-year warranty on all major components and two years on seals is testament to our faith in the Adande brand.

What advice do you offer regarding maintenance of Adande units?

It is a bit of a cliché but my motto is ‘look after your Adande and your Adande will look after you’. I recommend basic routine preventative maintenance like replacing seals when required, but otherwise regular cleaning is the most important factor for keeping your fridge in good working order. Hygiene and food safety are fundamental issues for the hospitality industry, which can be labour intensive and time consuming. The fact that Adande drawers are fully removable means that cleaning is quick and simple. The stainless-steel exterior is also easy to wipe down as part of a regular housekeeping regime. Castor mounted units may be moved, so that areas behind the fridge can be cleaned regularly and thoroughly.

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