Paula Sherlock is new chair of FEA’s Light Equipment and Tableware Product Group

Decision to appoint highly experienced managing director was ‘elementary…’

Paula Sherlock is the new chair of FEA’s influential Light Equipment and Tableware (LET) Product Group. Her appointment comes as Steve Goodliff steps down from the role after 18 years. “It’s a real honour to be asked to follow in Steve’s footsteps, he’s been a brilliant leader for the LET sector,” Paula says

Paula plans to build on the success of the LET Group, which FEA regards as one of its strongest categories. In particular, she wants equal focus on both light equipment and tableware. “The two are really quite different – and, as a group, it’s important that we celebrate the differences in the category, as well as highlighting where we can be stronger as a group. This year’s LET Forum will see the introduction of the ‘plug and play’ zone – where delegates can see light equipment in action and where suppliers can showcase features and benefits in real time, alongside the very best tableware the industry has to offer.”

“FEA membership has been a huge benefit for Signature FSE, and I’m passionate about sharing that success with prospective and existing members alike” says Paula. “Events like the LET Forum have helped us promote the company and raise the profile of our brands. Membership also gives us access to very informative business support and market data, all of which helps our business. The more that we can highlight these benefits to the wider industry, the more members we can encourage to join the group and share the successes that increased membership and exposure can bring. I aim to help FEA increase the membership of the LET Product Group. The bigger we are, the stronger we are and the better able to meet our challenges.”

Paula was instrumental in setting up the FEA Light Equipment and Tableware pavilion at this year’s HRC show. Future plans include a regular LET newsletter and an annual award for best LET project, all designed to boost knowledge, insight, and performance across the industry.

“The two big challenges facing the LET sector now are supply chain concerns, and the need to develop products that can overcome the skills and staff shortage issues that our customers face,” she says.

“The issue of maintaining a reliable supply network has definitely been put in the spotlight by recent world events. Our end users are removed from this to a degree and don’t always see the connection between disruption in the Red Sea and a shortage of their favourite tableware or cookware and this can be a challenge. On the flip side, manufacturers are continually developing products that can help less skilled staff do their job, and increase productivity – so fewer staff can do more.

“That’s why making the most of the potential of events like the LET Forum and HRC are so important, as they help us educate the market, so customers can better understand these issues and see the solutions we can offer.”

Paula is forthright on the importance of sustainability – provided it’s backed by honesty. “Reducing carbon footprint, energy efficiency, minimising food waste – these are absolute priorities that we have to focus on and that our customers increasingly want to know about. However, we need to do this in as accessible a manner as possible – with all the daily challenges of running a busy kitchen, operators don’t always have time to focus on these issues. We can help lift the burden by making it simpler, and providing clear facts and figures that help meet sustainability objectives.”

Paula has spent a highly successful career in a variety of areas within the foodservice equipment
industry, in design, technology, tableware and heavy and light equipment, dealing with consultants,
dealers and manufacturers. Her very first job was at consultants GWP Associates with Ken Winch. During the 1980s she worked at FSD helping designers to integrate CAD systems and later with Bonnet, where she oversaw marketing for their export department. In 2003 Signature FSE was founded and, as managing director, she has built it into a highly successful business. Signature joined FEA in 2005 since when Paula has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Association’s LET group.

“Asking Paula to take over as chair of the Light Equipment and Tableware Product Group was a very
simple decision,” says Paul Anderson, chair of FEA. “You might say it was elementary… She has an incredible amount of expertise and her experience in different aspects of the foodservice equipment industry gives her great insight, a holistic approach with the ability to see things from different points of view. Plus, her passion for the LET sector is unrivalled.”

The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) is the independent, authoritative voice of the foodservice equipment industry, representing nearly 200 companies who supply, service and maintain all types of commercial catering equipment – from utensils to full kitchen schemes. For more information on FEA visit www.fea.org.uk

 

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