Choosing the Right Service Partner
There has never been a better time than the New Year to reflect on business aims and objectives. After what is traditionally the busiest time of the year for caterers, it pays to take advantage of the January slowdown to look at what areas of your business can be improved. Your service arrangements are no exception.
A critical area for any business is that of reliability. No matter what your sector and how large or small your operation, the importance of ensuring that essential equipment performs its job properly and doesn’t fail should never be overlooked. Investing in a proactive approach may well save you considerable expenses and hassle in the long term. Commercial catering is no exception.
Whether you are responsible for maintaining an office premises with ventilation and air-conditioning installations or operating a commercial kitchen with specialist refrigeration requirements, the law requires a multitude of checks to be carried out on a regular basis by individuals who are sufficiently qualified. As the commercial sector becomes ever more safety conscious and environmentally aware, it is inevitable that pressure on businesses to obtain certifications for equipment and installations will increase.
For the commercial catering sector, few things occupy a higher priority than gas safety. With gas continuing to be the power of choice for many pieces of equipment as well as cooking hobs, there is no scope for cutting corners. Not only are there legal requirements to consider – your equipment warranty will be void if installation is not carried out by a fully qualified gas engineer.
Some of the accreditations you should look for in any service partner include:
This is the fundamental accreditation that is legally required for any service engineer working with gas, whether in the domestic or commercial environment. Gas Safe engineers are required to operate to strict safety regulations and best practice standards, meaning that your premises, employees and cashflow are fully protected.
Whilst not essential to work in the commercial environment, it is highly recommended that you choose a service partner with the Safecontractor status. Safecontractor is a fast growing UK health and safety assessment scheme, whose members have demonstrated excellence in health and safety compliance.
Especially relevant to larger organisations and workplaces, especially those with high value tenders and multiple sites. The Constructionline scheme has been in place for over 30 years, and assesses companies on their health and safety policy statement, their organisation and how it deals with health and safety and their specific health and safety arrangements. This means that you can be assured that everyone will work at or above an acceptable standard.
Whilst not a legal requirement, commercial premises are advised to look for a service partner who is certified to British Standard OHSAS 18001. To achieve certification, a company must put in place the policies, procedures and controls needed for the organization to achieve the best possible working conditions, aligned to internationally recognized best practice. In fact, the standard has become so well recognised that work is underway to replace it with a new ISO standard. Holders of this valuable accreditation have demonstrated significant improvements in the field of safety above and beyond the basic legal requirements.
An OHSAS 18001 service partner offers you the peace of mind of knowing that your work will be conducted in the safest possible manner.
Any commercial catering premises will no doubt operate several refrigerated devices, not to mention air conditioning installations. With strict new rules on refrigeration gasses, it is essential to make sure that your engineers hold the F-Gas 2079 accreditation as a minimum, to ensure that they handle and dispose of refrigeration gasses in accordance with EU legislation. Ideally, engineers should have a least a City & Guilds NVQ2 in Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.
Quality & Reliability
Whilst from an administrative perspective, legal compliance scores very highly on the list of requirements for a service partner, there is more to running a business than just this. As a commercial premises, it is essential that you can rely on your service partner to deliver top quality service that you can can really rely on. You also want to be sure that emergency cover is available in the unfortunate event that there is a breakdown. So what exactly should you look for?
ISO 9001 certification represents the international benchmark in quality management and specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products or service that meet and exceed
With such a strong emphasis on environmental aspects of business, it is also worth looking for ISO 14001:2004. By choosing an ISO 14001:2004 certified partner, you can be sure that all of your work is carried out to the very latest environmental standards – which can be of tremendous impact in terms of both ROI and reputation.
Availability of Cover
In practice, few businesses ever need to take advantage of 24 hour service availability. However, the commercial sector is not limited to a typical 9-5 working day and it is essential that your service engineers have the flexibility to work around your business needs. For maximum peace of mind, make sure that your provider can cover the hours that are most critical to your business.
Whether you are keen to employ local based suppliers and contractors as part of your organisation’s social commitment, or simply want to be sure you are not in for a long wait whilst an engineer travels from elsewhere in the country, make sure that your chosen provider really does have the local service that they claim to offer. If you have a number of premises over a larger geographical area, think about whether all your locations can be covered by a single company.
With all of the accreditations described above and more, along with an impressive 35 years history, Carlton Services stands out as a leader in the commercial sector for Swindon and the surrounding area. In fact, with branches in Swindon, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset and Wiltshire, we now cover a huge section of the Southwest of England.
We are committed to continuous development of our staff and work hard to ensure our engineers stay fully up to date with the latest training and accreditations. We endeavour to go above and beyond the minimum standards, in order to deliver exceptional service first time, everytime.
With specialist engineers covering refrigeration, air conditioning, catering and ventilation, we offer a complex service solution covering all the needs of any commercial premises.