Meiko UK Ltd, a leading European manufacturer of warewashing technology for the catering industry, has been an Asolvi customer since 2012. Nigel Walters, technical services controller for Meiko, explains why the relationship has endured and why Asolvi’s field service management software is a good fit for the industry.
Originally established ninety years ago in the Black Forest, Germany, Meiko is now a global brand with production facilities in Germany, China and the US. Meiko manufactures, installs and maintains dish and glass washers, washer-disinfectors and food waste disposal systems for professional kitchens in bars, hotels, pubs, restaurants, cafes and staff canteens. Its client base includes JD Wetherspoon, Marston’s Brewery and DHL.
35,000 calls a year
In the UK, Meiko’s service & maintenance operation consists of approximately 35,000 preventative and reactive calls a year, which today are all managed using Asolvi’s Tesseract solution. In 2012, Tesseract was selected to replace a piece of service management software that wasn’t fit for purpose anymore. Nigel explains: "There were a lot of things the old system couldn’t do, mainly because it wasn’t a fully functioning system. It didn’t provide engineers with the information they needed in the field, and the information they could get wasn’t live. There was no quotation system, no stock control. Engineers could only use it on PDAs. It got to the point where we needed something a lot more advanced."
It was word of mouth that brought Meiko to Asolvi and, specifically, to Tesseract. "A number of us had heard of Tesseract," says Nigel. "So we did some research and visited a number of Asolvi customers to see the Tesseract system in action. We were able to visualise how the system would work for us."
The power of automation
In addition to giving engineers more flexibility in the field, Tesseract has enabled Meiko to automate a number of routine and/or time-intensive processes in the office. This includes stock replenishment, previously an entirely manual and unintegrated process, and invoicing, which used to be done in a separate system. But what’s really changed is how Meiko undertakes preventative maintenance. Now, all preventative maintenance appointments are generated automatically according to contract and asset requirements.
This saves Meiko’s planners from having to manually check spreadsheets and paper contracts to find out when maintenance is due before going into the system to manually log the call. It also lets them schedule field engineers up to three months in advance so that they can more easily maintain service levels. "With Tesseract, everything is simpler and more streamlined," says Nigel. "Parts are attached to calls—and stay attached to calls—without engineers having to manually input quantities and parts numbers. We have complete visibility of all stock at all times. Costings for invoices are calculated automatically, reducing scope for error. We can complete the invoicing process in the Tesseract system, too. Before Tesseract, we had to export the data to a different system."
10-15 minutes saved per quote
Another big change for Meiko has been in the way it creates and logs quotes for new works. The fact that Tesseract’s quoting tool is integrated with the rest of the system makes it easy to convert a quote into a call or a call into a quote. "We never had this level of linking in the system before," says Nigel. "We had to quote using an entirely different system."
What’s even better is the fact that when a quote is raised, most of the information required is already there. Nigel explains: "We used to have to input all the information about the customer and the asset manually each time a new quote was raised. With Tesseract, 70% of the data is already there, saving our salespeople 10-15 minutes per quote. This is having a huge and welcome impact on our productivity, particularly given how many quotes we have to do."
Nigel admits that reporting was poor on the old system. Meiko had to use an external system and it took a lot of time to compile and process the data. "Tesseract comes with a lot of really good reports," says Nigel. "These are standard reports that we’re able to tweak easily to fit our needs. Now everyone has access to the reports they need on a regular basis. The fact that our data is centralised means that reports are compiled with a minimum of effort.”
Catering equipment and Tesseract: a match made in the kitchen
"Tesseract is a good fit for the catering industry for the same reasons it is a good fit for any kind of repair industry," Nigel says. "Asolvi has worked hard to make sure the fundamental elements such as service contract management, preventative maintenance management, mobility, invoicing and reporting, are really strong. Our engineers and our office staff have everything they need to make sure our customers’ machines are properly maintained."
Nigel goes on to explain that it’s Asolvi’s approach to helping customers that makes its software an even better fit for Meiko’s industry. “The way Asolvi listen to their customers is one of the big reasons our relationship with them has endured," he says. "They’re constantly investing in their software, trying to improve what it does for us and for our industry. They listen to recommendations and if we have a problem or a need, they never just say ‘no’. They want to solve our problems, not just for us, but for them. They want to progress with us.”