Make Technology Work Hard for You. Now: It’s as Easy as 1 - 2 - 3.
Simon Black, MD of SB Software.
For me personally, as a lifelong software engineer both by calling and by trade, data itself has its own intrinsic value. Data is useful in and of itself. So “of course” it should be made to work hard. Simple.
Now that I am also a business owner and manager myself though, I appreciate far more the importance of bringing such value to life in ways that help everyone, not just specialists like myself, to appreciate the opportunities that data opens up - especially in our very own vending sector.
I will always enjoy discussing bits and bytes with my fellow software engineers, or reviewing code and evaluating system architecture with my peers and colleagues. But that is like preaching to the converted. And that’s not what I want to do here. Instead I will keep things extremely simple. And direct, with business peers within vending in mind. I want to distil right down to the essence - the vital facts about data and technology today regarding vending for a commercial audience. And I’ll do it in just three steps.
1) We have never had it so good!
For a long time there was very little (or no) data available in our sector at all. That was akin to driving a car blindfold.
Then data started to come on stream, but the tools on hand for putting it to work were non-existent, or slow and inadequate, and too often clumsy or unreliable. There was data, but it was like a smog swirling around us: impossible to harness effectively.
2) Today things are completely different.
Everywhere you look, in every aspect of business and everyday life, data is now hard at work. And vending should be no exception. Take profitability for example; at Vendmanager we are already addressing both sides of the equation successfully:
- Reducing costs by doing things faster and streamlining stock.
- Increasing sales with improved planograms and better analysis.
Or efficiency, where successes include:
- Improving route planning, reducing vans and introducing “single walk”.
- Achieving more per person and per machine.
And the list goes on:
- Legal compliance (think CQUIN) is much simpler (and cheaper) with all the pertinent data onstream and efficiently managed.
- Delivering customer satisfaction is far easier when you have full visibility to inform your decision-making.
Data makes all this (and more) do-able at acceptable costs, so the investment is worthwhile. And today’s technology, especially Vendmanager Datakey puts all the information on tap easily - cutting out the hassle, removing the barriers.
This is where we are today: looking at the science of the possible - it’s all around us. And both the data and the technology tools are here, ready to deploy.
3) Now is the time!
In Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian,” John Cleese’s character asks “What have the Romans ever done for us?” And soon it’s very clear that he has asked the wrong question.
When it comes to data, the right question is not “What could data do for us?” The right question is: “What should data be doing for me already? Right now? Then next?”
This is the first time ever that we have been able to do what we can today - thanks to technology.
And data. Never before was this both possible and economical. And by tomorrow it will be commonplace. So today is your opportunity to make a difference for your company, and your clients. What you do now will determine what you will be next.
Remember, if you don’t do it, you are missing out. And others won’t be so shy.
First Published in Vending International magazine April 2019.