FINDING reliable equipment is one thing, but binding someone equally as dependable to service it can be altogether more complicated.
That`s why the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is launching its Service Accreditation Scheme at Hotelympia 2008 next week.
"Poorly serviced equipment is a huge issue that causes breakdown, raises health and safety concerns, wastes energy and costs caterers millions of pounds a year," said Keith Warren of CESA.
"Yet servicing remains the Cinderella area of the industry.
"The Service Accreditation Scheme is designed to put servicing right at the top of the agenda, and to give caterers in every sector, big and small, an easy way to find reliable, professional and cost-effective service providers."
Service companies who apply to join CESA`s scheme have to comply with agreed criteria, including their staff`s level of skills and the level of service the company is delivering.
In order to achieve accreditation companies must provide their service engineers with appropriate facilities - such as purpose-equipped vehicles, with parts and tools capable of achieving a high `first time fix` rate.
If they sub-contract some of the work, they must ensure sub-contractors comply with the CESA criteria.
They must also confirm that they provide a fully professional solution - for example, that they have suitable insurance cover including a minimum £5million for public liability.
"Simply put, CESA-accredited service providers offer you a reliable and professional service, supplied by an expert technician or engineer who knows about your equipment and can usually be relied on to fix it the first time he calls," said Keith Warren.
When it comes to selecting a service programme, CESA recommends Planned Preventive Maintenance (PPM) schemes - which means an engineer will call regularly to look after your equipment.
Keith added: "Not only does PPM help prevent breakdown, it also extends the service life of the equipment."
CESA has created a special CESA Accredited Service Provider logo that service providers in the SAS scheme will be able to display.
CESA executives will be on hand at Hotelympia to explain the benefits of the scheme, both to end users and to service providers wishing to apply to join it.
For more information on CESA visit www.cesa.org.uk.