Chief Iceologist, Mark Hangen, continues his discussion about ice machines and who’s accountable for keeping them running.

Accountability and Commercial Ice Machines:  The Conversation Continues

Part 1 ended with the question “why aren’t manufacturers building longer-lasting, more reliable ice machines?”.  Let’s dive in a little deeper.

You could argue that a manufacturer that builds a more reliable, durable, easy to fix machine could charge a premium and capture more market share. The problem is that the ice machine industry makes little effort to market based on the total cost of ownership. Visit the manufacturer websites and try to find relevant cost of ownership information. Visit them at a trade show and ask them specifically to provide this information. They can’t. There is simply no information on how long an ice machine should last or how much it should cost to own and operate. Why not? is anyone’s guess but consider:

  • Ice machine companies don’t employ service techs so they don’t have the data
  • Customers might react badly to learn that Total Cost of Owner ship is 5-8 times the purchase price
  • Setting expectations for expected life and cost of a machine might create a liability if not realized 
  • Distributors, dealers and service companies might defect to other brands if it means less sales/work

The bottom line is that owning an ice machine means managing multiple organizations that profit when your machine has something wrong and needs service. These companies aren’t necessarily unethical or trying to take advantage of you. It is simply that the transactional nature of this industry is such that maximizing the profit of each transaction is how they make money.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll tell you how Easy Ice is taking full accountability for our customer’s ice machine needs.