Ki-Tech Solutions-"the industry we return to will have completely new priorities and sets of rules in place"
Ki-Tech Solutions is a new FEA member. Director Richard Fordham took the time to answer a few questions for us.
1. Tell us about how your business got started.
I had been promoting an energy optimisation solution (Sicotronic) for a couple of years and recent traction meant I realised I needed a more structured organisation to deliver it. Having known Andy Fulham for a number of years I knew he had a strong project management skillset as well as having built and run a company from the ground up, so he was the obvious partner. Whilst I look after the sales aspects, Andy is responsible for the day to day running of the operation and coordinating the installation and project management. During conversations of creating a new business, we quickly realised that an agnostic connectivity solution was also needed within our industry and wanted to bring something innovative into the portfolio to support our energy optimisation solution. Having spent some months researching different connectivity options, which we now have in place, recent events have led to us adding another innovative product “thermal/fever screening” solutions to the portfolio which in-turn we can add to our connectivity solution. Adapting to the ever changing normal now, we are currently looking at the technological innovation requirements that will need to be in place when our industry re-emerges in this new landscape of living with Covid19 and hope to bring more innovation forward.
2. What do you love most about the foodservice equipment industry?
Simple. The people. Having spent over forty years in this industry, the characters I’ve met, worked for and alongside have given me some great friendships and memories to take with me.
3. What is the biggest challenge for your business right now?
Increasing education awareness of the solutions we can offer and encouraging change through challenging old thinking, and creating new habits; bringing companies together to work through problems and to see the bigger picture with mutual engagement would be beneficial for all and perhaps we can bridge client/dealer/manufacturers thinking somewhat…
It’s evident that the industry in general can benefit from the solutions we bring and perhaps our objectivity, but education/embracing change can be hard for some. I do think that the current situation will, bizarrely, help us as the need for connected solutions and energy efficient operations in environments which are primarily safe for both user and customer will become paramount in the sectors thinking.
4. What are the drawing factors for joining FEA?
As an industry body which makes its voice heard (as has been amply demonstrated these past few weeks) and supports the interests of its members, whilst also providing guidance on current trends and how to navigate them, I can’t think of an organisation I’d rather support, be associated with and be a part of….
5. Anything else you’d like to add?
It’s clear that the industry we return to will have completely new priorities and sets of rules in place. Increased use of technology and connectivity, smaller kitchens, particularly on the high street and more flexible dynamic equipment solutions will all feature as will vastly different welfare provision for staff and customer alike. We’re eager and excited to work within the FEA portfolio members to aid in some way drive the industry forward once again. Indeed, if we can help our industry in any small way to overcome the difficulties it’s going to encounter it will be a job well done.