Article contributed by Mike Berman, COO, Day & Nite/All Service
Unlike the highly skilled technicians and professional staff I work with, I have less than zero mechanical capabilities.
My gross incompetence likely traced back to my father; his best bit of “advice and instruction” was to never buy a car produced on a Friday or Monday. While his concerns about automobile production quality may have been rather inflated, based on fiction, he wasn’t the only one buying in to that theory. After all, a rather popular self-help book written at the time made it even more believable. Making it even more real is the fact US auto manufacturers did suffer from quality problems back then, a function of significant disruption, economic fragility and political turmoil. It would fair to say current conditions are more chaotic than the mid-late 1970’s. Although I hadn’t thought about my father’s Monday and Friday built cars cautionary tales in decades, in recent weeks it’s not only been uppermost in mind, it’s led to research—and I’m not talking about cars.
Installing, maintaining and repairing approximately 1 million unique pieces of foodservice equipment each year, further supported by highly sophisticated technologies and advanced analytics, the Day & Nite family of companies is uniquely positioned to translate important leading indicators to help you best plan and manage your business. Consistent with overall industry results and trends, in 2020 hospitality sector (only) emergency repair business was off some 50% compared to 2019. However, foodservice warranty service volumes were off by only slightly more than 15% year-over-year. More than an astonishing gap, the data merits further consideration and context.
There’s little doubt that foodservice equipment manufacturers are world class, far more excellent in product design and finished goods quality than any other field. Even if foodservice manufacturers are vastly superior to peers in other industries they are captive to the same global forces—just as Ford, GM and others were in the 1970’s. Way back in early March 2020 the National Association of Manufacturers published an Economic and Operational Impacts of COVID-19 to Manufacturers report showing a majority expected serious changes in operations. NAM’s survey went to press before the National Basketball Association became the first major institution to suspend operations due to coronavirus. Clearly, conditions have only gotten worse since March 2020, putting unprecedented pressure on world class manufacturers to maintain production integrity. In a year new foodservice equipment sales were hardly robust, the slight decline in warranty repairs is then most telling.
Just as hospitality has every reason to be optimistic about 2021 so are manufacturers, but the road back to historical product quality will be challenging if not downright hazardous. Manufacturing anything is complex, depending on many suppliers holding up their end for essential components. Although the already large and growing global semiconductor shortage may be about the last thing any of us actively think about, we’re all well aware of the many commercial equipment advancements due to electronics. It is then not surprising that a very high percentage of (2020-21) warranty repairs are for panels and other electronic components. Regardless of type a singularly failing part reduces equipment uptime, when equipment isn’t fully functional a restaurant’s income suffers. Even the best warranty coverage can’t offset lost income resulting from equipment failure.
Ensuring maximum uptime depends on equally study legs of the industry’s essential 3-legged stool: the manufacturer making the equipment, the foodservice operator using that equipment and the professional services company installing and maintaining that equipment. Of these 3, the service provider has the closest and broadest access to overall equipment performance and, naturally, is best positioned to assure uptime. Having lived under clouds of uncertainty for far too long, at all costs one must avoid a new levels of headaches due to manufacturing problems. To learn more about this research and how to avoid a new set of unexpected, unwelcome commotion in your business, email email@example.com