Stick to the Spec:

Substituting cheaper kit is undermining the catering equipment supply chain network, warns CESA

CESA is raising the thorny issue of sticking to the specification. The Association says that several of its members have complained that projects they have worked on are having cheaper equipment substituted, after the specifications have been set, in order to save money and maintain margins. Often the changes are made with little or no consultation with the customer or specifier, let alone the equipment supplier.

“If the equipment is chosen because it’s right for the job, then that should be the end of the matter,” says Simon Frost, chair of CESA. “Operators who end up with substituted, substandard equipment will not thank the project managers.”

According to CESA, substituting cheaper kit will mean it could be less efficient, have less capacity and potentially a shorter life span than the originally specified equipment. That obviously has an impact on running and maintenance costs as well as the environment.

“Then there’s the simple matter of fairness. In many cases, the manufacturers and suppliers of the equipment that was originally specified work long hours with customers, consultants and installers to help get the project realised – only to see their sale disappear and hard work come to nothing.”

However, there is an even more fundamental problem that the substitute equipment raises – it is undermining the trust on which the supply chain works. “In recent years there has been a powerful move towards cooperation between manufacturers, distributors, installers, designers and consultants,” says Simon. “That cooperation has been a huge benefit to the whole industry – including the customers. This trend towards substituting cheaper equipment is undermining all that good work, because it is destroying the trust that has been built up between the various elements of the supply chain.”

The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA) is the authoritative voice of the catering equipment industry, representing over 170 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on CESA visit www.cesa.org.uk

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