Foodservice Equipment Reports
Publisher's Viewpoint

The NAFEM Show, Freight Rate Hikes And Recruiting Talent

Sometimes, there’s just too much going on in this fine industry. Let me share some of what’s happening as we start a new year, FER’s 19th in business.

First, The NAFEM Show is this month, Feb. 19-21, in Anaheim, Calif. And during the show, we stage our big biennial Industry Excellence Awards event. If you haven’t registered, you’d better get on the stick. The event will be Friday, Feb. 20, at the Anaheim Marriott. We had 472 attendees two years ago and I suspect this year’s total will exceed 500. It’s a great event and networking opportunity. 

Second, there’s a lot going on with truck freight reclassification. It’s having the effect of seriously increasing freight rates for foodservice equipment. We had a long talk with Tim Walsh of ReTrans Freight Management in late December about what’s going on. Tim, who is well-known to many dealers and manufacturers, is a logistics specialist who has been involved in our industry for more than two decades. He filled us in on what the National Motor Freight Transportation Association’s Commodity Classification Standards Board is doing. 

Simply put, the NMFTA folks are using new imaging and dimensioning technologies to revise decades-old standards on a wide range of products normally shipped “less than truckload,” (LTL), including some very significant foodservice equipment categories. The purpose is simple and straightforward: They are using the reclassifications to raise rates.

The process began with sinks two years ago, moved to refrigeration last year, and the group now has dishwashing equipment and air curtains on their first 2015 docket. The impact has been to increase freight costs by as much as 50% in some cases, depending on the density of the item. It’s arcane, but it’s clearly increasing shipping costs for everyone from manufacturers to dealers to operators. 

We have written a couple overview articles if you haven’t seen them. One on the changes for refrigeration appeared in FER Fortnightly early in December: http://bit.ly/1E7OyVR. We did one on the proposals for warewashers and air curtains last month: http://bit.ly/1yrtNCH and on page 12 of this issue. Everyone in the foodservice equipment business—supplier or buyer—needs to keep an eye on these developments.

On yet another note, just after Christmas, I had lunch with Michael and Joan Hawkins of the executive recruiting firm Michael J. Hawkins. Michael reminded me that one of the key initiatives of NAFEM Pres. Mike Whiteley of Hatco and the NAFEM board is to bring young, talented people into the foodservice equipment and supplies business, especially young people from outside the industry. This is an initiative fully supported by FEDA, MAFSI, FCSI and CFESA. In fact, both CFESA and FCSI will have meetings of their internal groups supporting younger members during their meetings before The NAFEM Show. This initiative is the future for all of us. We hope everyone in the industry will help support it and work to develop the young talent this great industry will need.

We look forward to seeing you in Anaheim. Have a great show and thank you for all of your support of Foodservice Equipment Reports.

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