FilterFresh of Hudson Valley (FFHV), a FilterFresh Office Coffee Services franchisee and a major supplier of coffee and beverage-dispensing equipment and services in New York and Northern New Jersey, was finding that frequent service calls due to lime scale problems in many of their coffee systems was becoming a drain on their company resources.  While the machines produced excellent coffee when functioning properly, lime scale buildup from the hard water conditions found in this area was causing equipment downtime and requiring service calls for the sole purpose of cleaning out the scale.  Naturally, this not only incurred costs for labor, travel, and parts replacement, but it also cost the company revenue and goodwill, since a machine that is down cannot dispense coffee.  And when you need your morning coffee, well . . . the problem is clear.

Robert Bross, president of FFHV, felt that it was important to the value of the business to find a solution to this situation, to ensure optimal operating conditions for the equipment in the field and to maintain the high level of customer satisfaction his company has successfully achieved for the past 12 years.   He researched and installed in his machines a number of different technologies to treat lime scale and hard water, including magnets and different types of filters, finding that none worked to his satisfaction.  

Then he was told about Triangular Wave Technologies' patented deposit control systems, designed to prevent, reduce, and/or eliminate fluid deposits and bio-film.  After reviewing the technology and TWT's customer success studies, Robert was impressed by the concept, and chose several of his locations as test sites, installing systems in May, 2000.  "I wanted to start with sites that suffered from some of the worst deposit control problems, to see the extent to which the TWT systems would work.  I specifically chose some sites that not only had difficult water conditions, but also had multiple machines.  In this way I could compare the results side-by-side, treated and untreated, from the same location."

Given the nature of the process in question, coffee brewing and vending, Robert knew that it was imperative to avoid treatment that would alter the taste of the water and therefore the coffee.  "My customers expect the best cup of coffee around, and our equipment and quality coffee can certainly deliver it.  Altering the taste with chemical treatment or water softeners was just not an option - I didn't want the cure to be worse than the disease.  The fact that the TWT systems were completely non-chemical was one of the biggest factors in my consideration."  

TWT chemical-free deposit control technology is used by many large corporations and government agencies, including NASA, and the Centers for Disease Control.  Its ability to not only attack scale problems, but prevent bio-film buildup as well, was a big plus in Robert's mind.  "While my primary goal was to maintain and enhance machine performance and minimize service calls, the added benefit of bio-film and bacteria control was very attractive.  It offers a very positive perception of service and 'brand' differentiation in comparison to my competitors.  Not only do we achieve a reduction in service calls and downtime and an increase in coffee sales, we are now recognized as a technologically aware, environmentally responsible, and customer health-conscious company to  do business with.  It's win-win all around."

According to Robert, the benefits  to his company of using TWT deposit control systems are very broad-based.  "Our service costs are reduced and controlled.  Our replacement parts costs are reduced, since valves, switches, seals, and heating elements don't wear out as quickly, which, by the way, also extends the life of the coffee equipment - it can work as designed to, rather than working harder to produce the same result.  We can service more accounts with the same staffing levels.  Where service and route people were previously working on machines during visits, they can now concentrate on introducing new products and increasing sales.  Our customers are very pleased, as well.  They don't suffer the results of leaks on their floors and rugs when valves clog and seals break from scale and corrosion, which might have been expected in places with hard water in the past.  Their machines have performed with greatly reduced downtime, which means beverages are available almost all the time, and also means that we are selling more coffee and supplies.  The person in charge of the coffee machine at the site, usually the office manager, is pleased with not having to 'bother' with problems or make telephone calls.  Since recommendations are our biggest and best source of new customers, this is very important to us.  Our reputation is enhanced by every satisfied customer we gain."

A cost-effective solution was also of great importance to FFHV.  According to Robert, "the return on investment has been tremendous.  The TWT systems that have been installed over the last year and a half have generally paid for themselves in about 15 months, and in some cases, under one year.  Wherever we have installed them in the past year, we have not had to make a single lime or scale-related service call, as was often necessary in the past - some 50% of our service calls had been solely because of lime-related problems.  This allows us to concentrate on sales and expansion, making our company more profitable, and enhancing the value of our franchise.

Since FFHV has experienced a 50% reduction in service calls and has increased revenue at the same time, Robert is expanding the use of TWT deposit control systems throughout his territory.  "Quite frankly, I never expected the payback to be as quick or as substantial as it has been.  We're in a very competitive business, and controlling costs to keep margins where they need to be can make or break a company.  And as in any industry, customer relationships are the foundation of continued success.   Using TWT technology has helped give us a competitive edge and maintain a positive profile and excellent reputation in our area.  We've been very pleased, and so have our customers."

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