A History of Quality

Hobart Food Equipment

Companies that have been around for over one hundred years are rare, but Hobart Food Equipment is one of them. With its history in the US stretching back to 1897 and its 75th anniversary in Australia fast approaching, this enduring company knows a thing or two about staying on top of its field.

General Manager Geoff Hunter spoke about the company’s rich history, new innovations and why this brand is here to stay.

Today, Hobart leads the world market in commercial warewashing technology. The company serves customers such as hotels, restaurants and caterers, bakeries and butcheries as well as supermarkets, airlines and cruise ships across the world. Hobart develops, produces and sells warewash, cooking, food preparation and waste treatment appliances and systems, and employs around 6,900 staff members across the world, 981 of them in Germany.

Hobart is a subsidiary of the US Illinois Tool Works (ITW) Group, which manufactures and sells a variety of products; the group has a staff of 60,000 employees in 800 autonomous companies in 50 countries.

The company’s first Australian office was set up in 1938. “Aside from the coffee grinder, we also started with one of our divisions – Dayton Scales – which were manufactured by Hobart in the UK. They were everywhere because everything in those days was weighed for a determination of price,” explains Geoff. The bakery mixer was the next big step forward for Hobart; the Hobart mixer was so well known, in fact, that it equalled the Hoover vacuum cleaner for global brand recognition.

“We used to be known for our mixers, but now we are the global leader in terms of the latest technology in commercial warewashing. Dishwashing is the domestic term, and warewashing is a commercial dishwasher,” says Geoff.

The commercial dishwasher is presently Hobart Australia’s primary product and focus and there is a reason behind it. The country experienced a nationwide ten year drought that ended around 2009. This started a massive environmental push by politicians and consumers to conserve water. Hobart’s technology centre in Germany for dishwashers had already been secretly reengineering the concept of how a dishwasher worked: the team’s mission, reduce water consumption by 50 per cent, chemical consumption by 30 per cent, and energy reduction on all commercial dishwashers. This was necessary because the greatest user of water in a commercial kitchen is the dishwasher.

In old styles of commercial dishwashing, rapid wash cycles required a large pump and huge volumes of water to do the job. So, Hobart reengineered the process of how things are washed in a commercial dishwasher. That evolution in technology has now taken Hobart Australia through to new heights with regard to brand recognition in the country.

Every commercial kitchen, from restaurants and hotels to government owned institutions, operates to a budget. They all can have significant positive impact on our environment through the adoption of Hobart’s new technology. The benefits are “primarily with regard to reducing the water consumption, the chemical consumption and the power consumption for anybody that buys a Hobart warewasher and, of course, that has environmental benefits,” shares Geoff.

To be sure, the differences between consumer and commercial grade equipment are substantial. “The two principal differences in the dishwasher are speed and temperature and the need to provide a higher degree of cleanliness and wash quality than what a domestic dishwasher would,” explains Geoff. Commercial equipment is governed by Australian code requirements in terms of minimum performance. There must be a rinse cycle above eighty-two degrees, for example, to create a very hot chamber that kills bacteria and germs.

Familiar with such requirements, Hobart is able to keep ahead of its clients’ needs as those needs change. Its latest warewashing product has a steam rinse, for instance. The benefit of a steam rinse is that it uses less than one litre of water, converted into steam. Due to the incredible heat of the steam, the machine has an increased ability to dissolve the chemicals being used whilst sanitising the dishes. “When you have steam in your wash cycle it does two things; the efficiency and effectiveness of the water and chemical used is multiplied phenomenally.”

The need for Hobart washers is obvious when one examines the different markets to which the company caters. Every commercial kitchen must be operable at all times; if a commercial dishwasher goes down in a hospital, nursing home, prison, major hotel, restaurant, or mining camp, the kitchen simply cannot operate. “It is, of course, critical that owners are still able to operate their businesses or their institutions. The machines need to be fixed very quickly.” This raises another crucial facet of Hobart’s operations which is the after sales service.

This service “represents sixty-five per cent of our personnel, and it really is the differentiation of Hobart Australia versus all of our competitors in terms of our primary product promise. Twenty-four hours, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.” Hobart service technicians are available with the necessary parts and expertise, ready to fix Hobart products. “Our service response time and ability to fix the machinery quickly is what sets us apart.”

As quality and reliability are so crucial for many clients, all of the machines imported to Australia are out of Hobart Germany and nowhere else. “Made in Germany” has been synonymous with quality and reliability in the premium segment for a long time and still is today. A company can only maintain its hold on the market by keeping its promise to continually deliver high quality.

Hobart is a byword in innovative technologies for ever increasingly economically and ecologically products; numerous awards have borne witness to the company’s many success stories from recent years. Now, the seventy-fifth anniversary of Hobart Australia is fast approaching. In August of 2014 the company is holding an exhibition in Melbourne and is inviting all its closest consultants, suppliers and customers. “It is not so much to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary, but to show them the new product range for 2014/15,” says Geoff.

“We have raised the bar in terms of performance of our product range. That’s going to lower the cost of ownership with lowered water consumption, chemical consumption and detergent consumption – a smaller footprint with faster machines.”

Ultimately, the company is committed to developing high quality, innovative equipment and a host of industry awards attest to this. With such a wealth of history behind it, Hobart Australia is a household name with a sterling reputation. As the company continues to evolve alongside its market, it seems poised to meet with ongoing success in the years to come.

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Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

June 21, 2018, 1:03 AM AEST