Foodservice Equipment Reports
Publisher's Viewpoint

A Chance For Real Progress

Sometimes in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry an opportunity for real change presents itself. One such opportunity is the FEDA Data Interchange. The FDI gives all dealers, reps, manufacturers and operator customers the chance to speed up a very time-consuming, labor-intensive process: tracking down order status. The initiative is a joint project of the Foodservice Equipment Distributors Association and AutoQuotes Inc. 

As FEDA V.P. Joe Schmitt, President of Rapids Wholesale Equipment, put it in a recent issue of FEDA First Thing, “The time involved in order expediting is astounding and consumes up to 30% of our project coordinators’ and manufacturers’ reps’ time in many cases. Most importantly, this outdated mode of communicating has a significant negative impact on our end-use customers, as we drag them into the channel inefficiencies…with bad or no information.”

FEDA President Brad Pierce, President of Restaurant Equipment World, recently published a white paper that included the following: “The industry operates in an archaic and inefficient manner, relying on facsimile machines, phone calls and voicemails to conduct tasks that could be done electronically without human intervention. This inefficiency has led to increased labor costs, delays and mistakes that have unnecessarily reduced industry margins. The solution to the problem is to work with industry stakeholders to create a comprehensive data interchange system.” 

With the help of AutoQuotes Inc. and others in the industry, FEDA has a solution: The FEDA Data Interchange. The system, which runs through the existing AQ system that is on nearly every dealer’s computer desktop, links manufacturers, dealers, reps and other channel partners to data that is common to every order acknowledgement: manufacturer name, purchase order number, requested date, expected ship date, ship-to details, model number and quantity. The system works when manufacturers directly link their order-status data to the FEDA Data Dictionary, tie their system to a secure FEDA server and schedule nightly updates that can be distributed throughout the AQ network.

As we write this, 74 manufacturers have signed onto the system. Most of the major manufacturers jumped on board early. North American Food Equipment Manufacturers President Mike Whiteley, V.P. of Sales and Marketing at Hatco, is a big supporter. 

AQ CEO Kent Motes knows there’s a long way to go. “The FDI is an initiative in its infancy. To grow, it must evolve and change, and even iterate. To FEDA, to NAFEM, to MAFSI and to all the trading partners, it is a technology to add focus and health to the channel.”

Let me just say simply that anyone who doesn’t support this initiative is a…. OK, my father taught me if I couldn’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. 

Info on the FDI can be found at

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