Harnessing Technology - for Commercial Returns

Harnessing Technology - for Commercial Returns

Simon Black, Managing Director

I have enormous respect for vending operators. They deserve it. Because they earn it.

Setting up, or maintaining and running a successful vending operation? That’s no straightforward task. There are so many constituencies of people to co-ordinate, including clients, site-owners, and end-users, staff and suppliers - each with their own unique sets of needs and priorities.

The time schedule is relentless, throughout the day - and across the year. And margins are tight. It’s unrelenting, with diverse facets from routes to stock to planograms and beyond - each of them critical - to be juggled, then aligned and put into sequence. Week after week.

Civilians (those outside the sector) just have no idea of what’s involved. “How hard can vending be?” They ask. “Try it.” I answer.

Here at SB Software, we are proud of our own:

• long experience in vending, hard-won across the sector
• expertise as software engineers - we sincerely believe that we are the best.

It’s the combination of the two together that underpins our informed appreciation of how vending works - and where it’s going. We know the industry well, and we are devoting our own specialist expertise to making things better. Every day we meet clients and others who are active in the sector. Every working hour we strive to fill the gap between the ideal and the commercially viable - in the way that best suits each specific client and their current priorities.

Nowadays we work across all of vending. But we started out in tobacco. Writing software to manage such high value, portable stock that is so prone to shrinkage is rigorous training. It demands focus and discipline. And we are grateful for that: it laid the foundations for the Vendmanager that you see today, since overlaid with more than a decade of focused refinement.

The objective of that focus has always been to ensure that the technology and the commercial work together. Hand in glove. I’ll use two current examples to bear witness to the tangible benefits that result - day to day, and beyond.

Vendmanager Datakey is quite unlike other attempts to harness Bluetooth to improve vending. The Datakey travels with the operator, so the overall cost per machine is exceptionally low - there’s no costly upgrade on the machine itself.

The Datakey plugs securely into a standard socket inside the machine (ex factory, or simple retro fit), then communicates cable-free via Bluetooth with Vendmanager on the handheld device of your choice. There’s no need to search and identify an individual machine from a menu - the Datakey itself takes charge of everything for you. And it’s universal - compatible with almost every machine operating in the UK.

Datakey brings the benefits of connectivity, at a price that is commercially viable.

With Vendmanager, customisation is standard. And right now that is more than paying dividends with the added demands of the CQUIN framework and the “sugar tax.”

With Vendmanager, it’s simple to meet the requirements of the legislation AND manage your machine park and product portfolio efficiently. The number and ratio of healthy brands are monitored, making it simple to keep the CQUIN information compliant — and up to date. Vendmanager makes it easy to manage both snacks and drinks — reporting against brand, litre-age or whatever.

That’s because, for us flexibility is routine. So, when CQUIN required changes in operations, our customers told us that Vendmanager made things as easy as they could be. They liked that. And so did we. 

Every day, we are harnessing technology like this. In the right way. To the benefit of practical commercial returns, measured in reduced costs or increased sales.

Vending is not easy. But it can be made simpler.

Simply better. With Vendmanager.

Published 19th July 2018

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