So, I am sitting having a coffee with an engineer who services the Sainsbury’s contract. Now the engineer in question has just come back from a training course in Germany, ran by Bitzer and partially funded by Sainsbury’s. Now, I have worked on Bitzer compressors for years, and never had any retailer feel the need to send any of its contractors on a training course.
However, it seems Sainsbury deserve credit were credit is due, they are prepared to work in partnership with their service provider and over the last few years and invest in training and tools to aid service engineers, who work on their contract day to day.
Sainsbury’s may not be the biggest retailer in the country, but they are making all the other retailers look like they don’t really care about what training their contractors have as long as the job is being done. A few of the engineers that work on other contracts are hoping that they can move across to the Sainsbury’s contract in order to receive more training and better themselves as an engineer.
I do appreciate that having the best tools and training does not make you a good engineer - that comes from within - but it certainly helps, and Sainsbury’s seems to have got their act together, becoming more proactive in looking for the breakdown before it happens, as with the the Asda/City partnership.
I think going forward, other retailers have to look at how they work with their own contractors and start training programmes with their own service providers. In the long term this will only benefit the retailer in less off-sales and increased profitability.
The training Sainsbury’s guys have received to date is due to the introduction of CO2, and rightly so, but I believe that all retailers should look at the bigger picture, and training should encompass all refrigeration controls and mechanical systems within their estates.
Ultimately, when engineers are looking to move companies the big draw will be not just the money and conditions, but which retailer is investing in that particular service provider, and that will determine the quality of the boots that turn up in your store to provide the level of service that you expect.
Furthermore, the service provider shouldn’t get away Scot free either. If you’re having a partnership, you also have to invest in the training of engineers and have the people from within to have the knowledge and experience to help others who do not have the natural aptitude that some have. And as I’ve raised in the past, there should be people from within companies to recognise this.
Anonymous Fridge Guy works full time as a supermarket refrigeration contractor