Product Education ROI
Among all the ways manufacturers of foodservice equipment are responding to the challenges posed by the current marketplace, offering FCSI-approved product education sessions to specifying consultants stands out as particularly beneficial. Over the past few years, growing numbers of equipment makers have initiated these programs, which allow FCSI consultants to gain the continuing education credits they require to maintain their certifications. But that’s just one of the benefits of building relationships between equipment manufacturers and specifiers.
To offer full disclosure, TSR’s parent company, Axis M Inc., develops and presents generic product education programs for consultants in conjunction with multiple equipment companies. What we’ve learned from facilitating dozens of these sessions is that consultants and manufacturer executives gain more understanding of each other’s goals, processes and concerns during the one or two days they spend together than they might have up to that point in their entire careers. For professionals who share a parallel interest – providing foodservice operators with the most productive and efficient equipment line-ups -- specifiers and manufacturers too often have only a partial grasp of one another’s resources and needs. When consultants attend education sessions at factories and test kitchens, they become directly aware of how equipment is put together, the source of its components and its performance capabilities. At the same time, manufacturers have the chance to find out which of their products are most applicable to foodservice design projects in different market sectors, the sorts of services consultants value most from factories and which issues (such as the onset of Revit) they are currently confronting.
The generic product education sessions that consultants attend help them refresh their knowledge of the range of equipment technologies and applications now on the market. When specifiers “kick the tires” and operate manufacturers’ equipment in between sessions, they gain comparative information about controls’ ease of use, performance speed and energy consumption. Manufacturers receive valuable feedback about the value of their products’ features, design and pricing. When factories reach out to educate design consultants, both groups stand to benefit.