Methods for Overcoming Foodservice’s Notoriously Thin Margin of Error

foodservice skilled labor margin of error
  • Day & Nite
  • Imperial Dade
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Inline Plastics
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Easy Ice
  • McKee Foods
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • RATIONAL USA
  • RAK Porcelain
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Article contributed by Mike Berman, COO, Day & Nite/All Service

Over the Columbus Day weekend, Southwest Airlines made headline news in ways nobody is accustomed to, as the highly regarded airline was forced to suddenly cancel approximately 2,200 flights at a direct cost of no less than $75 million but with reputational damages that will be hard to fully calculate.  Knowing that it happened may be of little consequence for the foodservice industry but knowing why it happened is invaluable as the underlying causes for Southwest’s severe service disruptions are very much applicable.

Although ongoing and in many respects deteriorating global supply chain issues along with stubborn inflation command most of the attention, the most precious of all resources—skilled labor—is most severely compromised.  From ground support to maintenance to flight crews, an airline most certainly depends on multi-functional skilled labor, but it is hardly alone.  Within foodservice, skilled labor required to install, maintain and repair critical equipment—along with similar supporting roles—can be considered the airlines of this industry.  Yet, where airlines have historically enjoyed an abundance of skilled labor, for more than a decade foodservice has suffered from a lack of truly qualified expertise capable of assuring sufficient equipment uptime.  Consequently, the industry’s margin of error is much smaller than Southwest’s or any passenger airlines is. Applying the lessons learned from Southwest stranding thousands of passengers over several days will prove invaluable for all foodservice professionals.

A lack of sufficient advanced planning, apparent abandonment of key performance indicators undoubtedly put Southwest on a scheduling collision course where their only option was to dramatically react by radically reducing flights.  When any business is forced into reactive mode, an already eroding situation is certain to get worse—the proverbial snowball rolling downhill.  This slide down a slippery slope is always much worse, in some instances even fatal for any business-to-business or business-to-consumer enterprise.  For most foodservice operators critical equipment installation – maintenance – repair is a primary consideration only when services are most needed.  In the current and likely to continue through until at least mid-2022 volatile business environment, foodservice’s failure to proactively plan and manage to these real factors will make that already thin margin for error slimmer than a sliced piece of dental floss.

At minimum, insisting your preferred service companies deliver their resource planning, operational guidelines and contingency management initiatives is required to avoid your version of Southwest passengers stuck for far too long with no useful answers.

Just as commercial airlines are a many-to-many business—many flights servicing many passengers—so, too, is commercial Cooking, Refrigeration, HVAC, Indoor Environmental Quality, Plumbing installation – maintenance – repair.  Like an airline, hospitality equipment service provider schedule integrity is paramount.  Once violated—even slightly—it becomes increasingly difficult to restore anything resembling schedule integrity.  Smart, proactive service companies most often make difficult short-term decisions to protect stakeholder interests, all wrapped up in the trustworthiness of its capacity to consistently service many customers with many professionally capable technicians in a rather complex service-delivery chain.  Synthesizing all direct and comparable data and trends, here’s a particularly useful example of how one service company took bold, proactive measures to guarantee uncompromising schedule integrity:

Utilizing hard data establishing clear (customer) emergency situation definitions, between Tuesday October 26th and Friday October 29th, the Day & Nite family of companies assured immediate and longer-term schedule integrity by not scheduling any new service requests for non-emergency situations, using these days to complete assignments where long-delayed parts on order finally arrived and to fulfill work orders previously postponed due to unprecedented demand levels. Utilizing sophisticated, proprietary technologies all non-emergency orders taken these days, along with scheduled preventative maintenance and other service requests, were then placed in a date-certain advanced schedule queue assuring maximum schedule integrity, certainty of execution.

  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Easy Ice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Imperial Dade
  • Inline Plastics
  • Atosa USA
  • Day & Nite
  • RAK Porcelain
  • RATIONAL USA
  • McKee Foods
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Cuisine Solutions

Simply, the very antithesis of what Southwest Airlines passengers experienced earlier this month, all oriented to assure the schedule integrity Day & Nite/All Service/Popular Plumbing/Performance Air Mechanical customers have come to rely on and expect from the industry-leading commercial Cooking, Refrigeration, HVAC, Indoor Environmental Quality, Plumbing equipment  installation – maintenance – repair service provider.

If you value schedule integrity, accompanying certainty of execution in your business, email jbf@wearetheone.com.

  • Cuisine Solutions
  • RAK Porcelain
  • Inline Plastics
  • Imperial Dade
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • McKee Foods
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Easy Ice
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Day & Nite
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Atosa USA
  • RATIONAL USA