Helping First Choice Group on its sustainability journey

Helping First Choice Group on its sustainability journey

Summary

First Choice Group is the UK’s leading supplier of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) catering equipment spares. Stocking thousands of different catering equipment parts means there are inevitably surplus, slow-moving and redundant items that consume warehouse space.

To optimise operational productivity, the business decided to explore ways to responsibly dispose of these items and teamed-up with Ramco in the summer of 2019.

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When a customer is told a part they need isn’t in stock, they’re likely to look elsewhere. So, First Choice Group knows that more stock means more sales. But it can also mean more surplus.

Traditionally the company sold surplus or redundant items to metal recyclers, but this meant many still serviceable spares were unavailable for secondary markets.

First Choice was also keen to adopt a more sustainable approach to its surplus and redundant spares. This was part of a wider move by the company to adopt a broad approach to sustainability that recognised the benefits that sustainable initiatives have on the bottom line, including increased productivity, improved brand reputation and reduced overheads.

So, the search began for a compliant, effective and sustainable asset management solution which could help implement a reliable and established process for the removal of unwanted goods.

“You do spares, we recycle old stock.” This was the phrase that planted the seed of a thriving new partnership between Ramco and First Choice Group when the two businesses first met at a Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) supported event. Both companies are members of the FEA the largest membership association for the foodservice equipment industry.

Ramco re-sells stock that cannot be taken back by suppliers, or parts that might otherwise be disposed of simply because they takes up too much space. Impressed by the scale of what Ramco was achieving, the two businesses teamed up.

First Choice Group is currently the only parts supplier working with Ramco, which has been handing the disposal and resale of surplus equipment from a range of markets since 1992.

While First Choice receives a financial return from the sale of their goods, for them it’s not about profit, but about doing the right thing.

This initiative extends the product lifecycle of resources, ensures that they retain their value and, above all, prevents them being unnecessarily scrapped or sent to landfill.

And the relationship has proved mutually beneficial. First Choice Group has helped with technical training for Ramco through its specialist training arm, which provides technical courses and assessments for engineers and technicians working within the commercial foodservice industry.

The result

Since the partnership began, First Choice has made a successful departure from its previous ‘end of life’ approach to surplus and redundant parts, to make a significant contribution towards reducing its environmental footprint. So far, Ramco has managed to environmentally dispose of or re-sell £234,000 worth of items covering almost 1,200 different product lines.

Combined with a considerable reduction in waste, the business has been able to minimise its storage and disposal costs, ultimately creating a more eco-friendly, productive and competitive operation.   

Julian Fisher, head of marketing at First Choice Group, said: “Never have sustainability and environmental concerns been more prominent than in today’s business world. We’re pleased to form a close working partnership with Ramco who, through the effective reuse and resale of unused materials, have provided us with a safe, sustainable and future proof solution for the removal of surplus assets.” 

Commenting on the experience of working with Ramco, John Whitehouse, managing director of First Choice Group, added: “Ramco is a company that shares our core values and dealing with the team is never a chore. They’re genuinely a pleasure to work with.”