Wal-Mart - Service Channel
Anyone else service Wal-Marts through service channel? We do a large amount of work for them in Illinois and I was wanting to pick some brains about how people are handling it.
For the most part we see the following equipment:
Custom Deli Holding Cabinets*
Douglas Dish machines
Frymaster Fryers* (although they just lost the contract to Giles)
Hardt Holding Cabinets
Oliver Bread slicers*
Marco Donut Cases
*Probably make up about 80% of the work.
We cover a very large geographic area (almost all of Illinois) so it is hard for us to do kit boxes for each piece of equipment. Cant keep everything on the trucks either due to cost and space availability.
Frymaster fryers in Wal-marts? I'd be curious to see what Frymaster sold them to replace those big-ole' Giles units.
My boss let me know I would be the first in our company to use the Service Channel procedures in a Wal-Mart when they inducted that system a year and a half ago or so.
I despised the 3rd party system (FM was another), simply for the notion that I'm standing there with the staff or management who can SEE what I did or what needs done, yet I gotta get-approval-through some broken-English-speaking phone jockey in a cubicle on the other side of the world who probably wouldn't recognize a fryer if it fell on them. The check in/out procedures - listening to voice commands and typing in responses on my itsy-bitsy Blackberry - as simple as it seems, tried my patience when I had much bigger work ahead of me but standing there fiddling with that instead.
...I know..., it's a fact of service life now, so I got over it. The best way to deal with them is experience and knowledge of their procedures, much like the unique requirements that Wal-Mart had when doing service work for them. They're very particular.
The "kits" you mentioned - is that something Wal-Mart wants now? I understand their purpose - specialized mini-warehouses in a tote. Our company did that years ago and I hated to see them go away. They were instrumental for 1st call completions. We used to swing through our main warehouse and pick up the one we needed en route to a call. However, I understand your predicament if you're covering a large geographical area with response time being a factor as well.
The Frymaster's are the FPC128/236S Large Capacity fryers. My company has a very good relationship with Frymaster so I hate to see them leave but I have had good conversations with Giles so I am not to worried about it. Just not sure how Manitowoc didn't make sure they won that contract.
I know Giles had the contract before for the southern states. Is that what you mostly see? What are the other main brands you are seeing in your area? How many different locations are you servicing? We have 40-50 locations throughout the state of Illinois.
We had some major issues with the whole process at first but it has got much better. Still would like them to go back to the way it was before. Much easier to administrate.
Our company serviced regions around Nashville and Memphis. I don't know about our Memphis techs, but those of us in Nashville consistently served around twenty Wal-marts. Ten so years ago, a few stores had Keating units, but most switched to Giles during their renovations. I'm not a service company tech any longer, so I'm not up to date on their latest.
I liked Giles, but they had some issues with their expensive electronic control. I never saw their fryers anywhere but Walmart, so they likely took a big hit in sales if they lost their Wal-Mart contract.
You had said:
...and I was in a rush and misread that on my smartphone, so I said:
Originally Posted by jeichenauer
Sorry about that. So Giles is moving INTO your market.
Originally Posted by ECtofix
That's not a bad thing, really. Everything in their fryers is logically located and layed out, so they're fairly easy to work on. Their tech support is pretty darned good too. Like Frymaster, they're not rushed and are very patient. They will walk you through root programming instructions and such INSTEAD of imploring you to get a fax number to send you written instructions like some manufacturers do. On certain occasions, I've had one their guys on the phone for twenty minutes or so. Just like Frymaster does with McDonald's, Giles' tech support knows all of the Wal-Mart deli products, cook times and temps. So, if necessary, they will tell you to tell the deli manager that they're doing it wrong.
Giles has a very comprehensive "start-up" inspection, which REQUIRES that the tech doing the start-up to also give a class to the deli staff on all aspects of operation. Then, the tech hands over a well-laid-out, laminated operators manual to the manager - which he/she signs for. Names of those in attendance for the training are recorded and sent in with the start-up paperwork. "WE" know the real reason they require all of that, but still...I think a little operational lesson is best for ANY restaurant equipment.
ALL Giles units I saw were electric. I presume Wal-Mart doesn't employ gas fryers. Some were 480/3 input, therefore having a large step-down transformer to feed the basket lift motors/controls/filter system power. Electrically, MY biggest issues weren't with Giles' design, but with the installation done by the electrical contractors. I'm no "licensed " electrician, but I know what SHOULDN"T have been done. As I recall, all of those I worked on were hardwired to source. I encountered some scary and cheesy flex conduit installs where the conduit connectors at the wall or into the unit's input box had come loose - thus exposing the energized 480vac input cables to sharp edges or the possibility of being pulled out of the wall when the units are rolled out at night during cleaning.
Giles' weakest aspect in their design is, unfortunately, their control panel. The control panel indicator lights and rocker switches frequently get scraped off or damaged by deli staff with their roll around carts. Their control panels are too "vulnerable" to complacent employees.
Another is the oil return hoses. Although high temp, they're retained by hose clamps that loosen and start leaking. Still ANOTHER common problem is the filter pan that often needs attention due to broken welds at miter joints of the filter paper hold-down rings, lost hardware or cracks in the pan's corner seam welds. OH...oil return QUICK DISCONNECTS will start dripping too - often due to improperly installed filter paper that will pass some crumbs through the oil return lines and get stuck at the quick disconnect and keep them from sealing properly.
ANYWAY...so a tech may get called there merely because "it's not pumping the oil back" and he finds this gauntlet of other stuff needing repaired. THAT occasion is when dealing with estimate preparation and approval through...AHEM...SERVICE CHANNEL - will be a pain. The tech will end up spending MUCH more time preparing/seeking approval for an estimate which easily exceeds a thousand dollars for all the OTHER problems - than it took him to show them once AGAIN that " they gotta properly assemble the filter pan 'this-a-way' to get the oil to pump back!" Of course, THEIR general response to THAT will be that THEY don't do that - it's the night-shift's fault!
We see both gas and electric which can be a pain in stocking parts because you have to have the parts for both types of units. For the most part they are the same.....well except for the parts that always break. Keating is AWFUL!!! We have I think one of those units in a store and they are no fun to deal with at all. I have been working on getting a good stocking list from the service manager at Giles for their walmart units so I should have those parts in soon. We aren't seeing a ton of those units yet but that should change soon. They are all under warranty too so they don't go through service channel so we don't have to deal with the ridiculous "all jobs must be done in 3 days" measurement. If you have a good list of common parts that go down in the Giles units and wouldn't mind sharing I would really appreciate it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I can ever do anything to help you out with the other units let me know. I buy direct and stock a decent amount of Belshaw, Custom Deli, Hardt, and Frijado if you ever get in a jam for parts. I shouldn't be more then 2-day ground from you and would ship anything out same day up to 4 CST M-F. Most of those don't have authorized distributors (Belshaw is the only I think that does but most of them double their cost then give you a discount) and most factories are awful with shipping and can take a couple days before they even ship the part.
We installed just about every Revent bakery oven in a Walmart in the Mid-Atlantic region in the past three years including turnkey replacements for aging Baxter/Hobart or Bakers Aids. We were also picking up some of the other service work also until the Service Channel thing took hold. We still haven't figured it out here yet as we are a Walmart approved vendor and have had a Service Channel relationship for over ten years yet we seem to be on the outside looking in. Good thing though we got over 100 Walmart Rack oven P/M's coming in a bout a month. Gotta get the Costco's done quickly.
I do a lot of work for a sandwich company the uses service channel.....it's easy and they don't set the time or prices you charge.....it more of a resource for them. Now on the other hand I do some work with FM and they are hard to work with, they don't pay for parts pick up and you have to provide a parts invoice on purchase over $400.