Everyone loves convenience. From the invention of the wheel to smartphones, it can probably be argued that life is a never-ending quest for simplicity. And who's to complain? After all, the easier things are, the more productive you'll be. That's exactly what the vending management industry strives for everyday: to make vending as simple as possible. So, what exactly is vending management?
Simply put, it's the consolidation of vending services for many locations into a single account. A vending management company (VMC) uses a network of preferred suppliers such as Coca-Cola bottlers, Pepsi bottlers, and local full-line operators to install, maintain, and service equipment for all your locations. It is your one point of contact for any vending related requests.
The Benefits Of Working With A Vending Management Company
A VMC helps you stay focused on your core business while maximizing ancillary revenue through vending machines at each property. How?
Let's say your company has dozens of locations nationwide, and you'd like to provide vending machines for your hardworking employees and/or customers. Without a VMC, you'd have to contact all the different bottlers and vending companies to set up service at each location. This is tedious work that takes a good deal of time.
Moreover, you'd have to keep up with service problems and commissions for each vendor. A VMC eliminates this hassle by managing all of that work for you and handles the entire process from start to finish by:
- Coordinating the installation of vending machines
- Providing consolidated commission checks and reports
- Providing customer service support for any service requests
The consolidation of commission payments from each location makes your vending revenue more useful: instead of small amounts of money being spread out among all your properties, you receive it all in one lump sum every quarter. Cha-Ching!
As for ongoing service, the burden is lifted off your shoulders. Is there a problem with vending at a particular location? Call your VMC. Is your company growing and acquiring new properties left and right? Let your VMC know, and it will set up vending for the new locations as needed.
What if I Only Have One Location?
That's okay. You can still benefit from working with a VMC in the same manner as a large company with multiple locations. It all comes down to having someone else manage your vending needs for you. From installation to service, one phone call to your VMC and it will handle the request by leveraging its industry knowledge and expertise.
Doesn't Coca-Cola and Pepsi Provide Consolidated Vending Services?
Actually, they don't. The Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottling systems do a remarkable job supplying and servicing vending machines, and they offer an outstanding array of the most popular beverages. But they are not designed to provide consolidated vending management services, because both bottling systems are composed of many independent bottling companies.
For example, some of the different entities for Coca-Cola include:
The list goes on--the same is true for Pepsi--and each bottler operates separately from one another.
Perhaps Coca-Cola explains it best themselves:
We are a global business that operates on a local scale, in every community where we do business. We are able to create global reach with local focus because of the strength of the Coca-Cola system, which comprises our Company and our more than 250 bottling partners worldwide.
The Coca-Cola system is not a single entity from a legal or managerial perspective, and the Company does not own or control all of our bottling partners.
While many view our Company as simply "Coca-Cola," our system operates through multiple local channels. Our Company manufactures and sells concentrates, beverage bases and syrups to bottling operations, owns the brands and is responsible for consumer brand marketing initiatives. Our bottling partners manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute the final branded beverages to our customers and vending partners, who then sell our products to consumers.
What this means for setting up vending services for multiple locations is many different phone numbers and contacts for both installation and service. With a VMC, this all gets consolidated into one phone number.
Coke and Pepsi Exclusivity
Will you have to choose Coke or Pepsi when working with a vending management company? Not necessarily, but you might want to consider it.
If you're looking for a soda-only program, exclusivity ensures consistent quality and appearance of the machines as well as service across all locations. That means when you walk into a property in Denver, CO, you'll find similar machine type, quality, and product selection as you did when you visited a location in Miami, FL. You ensure that the world's most popular brands are being offered to your employees and customers nationwide.
Additionally, exclusivity maximizes your revenue through aggressive commission rates offered by the bottlers. Even if you would like snacks to be a part of your program (snacks are provided by local vending companies), you may still opt for soda exclusivity plus the local vending company for snacks.
Still, if accommodating site-level preferences is most important to you, using local suppliers in each market that can provide a wide array of beverage and snack selections may be the best option for you.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, a lot goes into having vending machines installed for your properties, and to adequately manage a nationwide program takes time and resources. A professionally managed vending program maximizes your vending income while allowing your personnel to focus on your core business, no matter how big or small.