Everyone loves convenience. From the invention of the wheel to smartphones, it can probably be argued that life is a never-ending quest to make things easy. 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 into one contact. 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 and maintain equipment for your location(s), so you're relying on their expertise to manage your vending needs.
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 you run a business that has dozens of locations across the country. You'd like to provide vending machines for your hardworking employees, but that means you'd have to call a bunch different companies to service each location. Coordinating with suppliers to install vending machines takes a good deal of time. On top of that, you'd have to keep up with service problems and commissions for each vendor. What a hassle, right? A VMC is a single point of contact for each location and alleviates those headaches by:
- Coordinating the installation of vending machines
- Providing consolidated commission checks and reports
- Providing customer service support for any service requests
In short, a VMC takes the burden of handling all vending needs out of your hands. Have 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. They 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 alleviating the hassle that vending can become so you can focus on your own business. From installation to service, one phone call to your VMC and they will handle the request using their industry knowledge.
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.
The Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottling systems are comprised of many independent bottling companies, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, and Pepsi Bottling Ventures, who operate separately from Coca-Cola Refreshments (the largest Coca-Cola bottler) and Pepsi Beverages Company (the largest Pepsi bottler). You're already getting a headache, aren't you?
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.
All bottling partners work closely with customers -- grocery stores, restaurants, street vendors, convenience stores, movie theaters and amusement parks, among many others -- to execute localized strategies developed in partnership with our Company.
What this means for your business is different phone numbers for each location just to install equipment, then all new numbers for service requests for each property. But when you use a VMC, they handle all of those calls for you, leaving you with only one number to call.
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, choosing an exclusive program ensures consistent quality and appearance of the machines as well as service across all locations. That means when you walk into your property in Denver, CO, you'll find similar machine type, quality, and product selection as you did when you visited your property 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 route that best suits your needs. By working with a vending management company, you let them do the legwork to select the best suppliers for each location.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, a lot goes into having vending machines installed for your properties. They can quickly become a hassle and take up time you don't have. A managed vending program maximizes your vending income while allowing your personnel to focus on your core business, no matter how big or small.