Many vending operators are gathering data from their vending machines and payment systems manually for years and thus have collected a considerable amount of statistical data. You might think that based on this data; you can predict what will happen on your machines. Well, soon you’ll realize you are wrong
Why would I even need a telemetry solution capable of real-time information, except for gathering technical errors?
In this article, we deep dive into the advantages of working online vs. offline. What you’ll soon realize is, there are many significant improvements that the most exciting change in the Vending Industry history, the Internet of Things (IoT), has brought to us.
- Do I know which machines need a filling or other type of attention?
- Do I know when exactly do I need to visit my machine?
- Is my warehouse stocked with all needed products? Do I have enough of the products?
- Do I rely too much on my customers to call me when the machine is not working?
- Can I predict my sales by the end of the month? Tomorrow even?
If you’ve replied with no… or I don’t know, at least once, take it as a good sign that you can work on improving some things in your vending operations. Read more and learn about the 5 top benefits of using real-time data gathered with intelligent vending software.
1) Downtime Monitoring and Machine Error Detection
How would you know if your machine is working or is facing issues? You would not. In the best-case scenario, somebody would call, you would sit in your car and visit a location that you are suspecting is experiencing issues problem. The person that called, probably wasn’t the first customer that tried using the machine. There could’ve been numerous people that tried using the machine before, but were unsuccessful, resulting in loss of sales.
This is especially evident in the COVID situation when fewer people are using the machines. It can be a couple of days before you realize that your machine is down. And for long? One can never know precisely, especially if you are only using static EVA DTS data pulled from the machine.
With real-time monitoring, you can track the status of your machines in real-time. If a machine is down, you’ll know immediately. If there is an error on the machine or the cash system is not working properly, again, you get notified instantly, which helps you resolve the problem in the shortest time possible.
2) Real-Time Sales Monitoring
One of the first benefits of real-time data is the ability to know how each machine is selling at any point in time. Some locations might be more successful than others, and some seasons might be more fruitful than others. And sometimes there are unexpected situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, which messes up all of our plans, and any previously patterned behavior becomes unpredictable and useless.
Knowing which machine sells more and which products are more popular, allows you to plan better. Calculate the most profitable machines to visit tomorrow. Optimize your route schedule and lower your costs, by visiting only those machines that need a filling. By smart selection of routes, your machines will always have up-to-date stock, allowing more sales for you to be earned.
3) Alarms on Low Machine Stock
It’s important to know not only what machines sell better, but also what products go fast. In traditional vending, fillers bring all different things in their van, without knowing what needs to be filled. Sometimes the wrong drink or snack is filled because of the lack of the right product and the right quantity. For instance, you have 3 spirals dedicated to Cola, but your filler only has enough for one spiral, and the rest will be filled with Fanta, which costs the same. If the wrong product that is filled is a product that sells let’s say 40% less than the one you should be filling, the sales results will also be unmistakably lower. Especially if this mistake is repeated on multiple machines.
Alarms on low machine stock are a powerful indicator of what do people like, and what sells better. Knowing not only our sales results but also what improves sells, helps us plan tomorrow’s activities better, such as route planning or warehouse management, resulting not only in lower costs but higher revenue.
4) Better Visibility in Unexpected Situations
As we previously mentioned, there are many situations in which real-time monitoring saves you money, by reacting quickly to (unusual) trends or errors. And now when all planet is facing big health and economic crisis, companies that react quickly, are facing less loss than others. Those that adapt smoother are using smart vending solutions that provide good visibility into their business operations.
Demand for vending machines can go up or go down. We see how during the COVID-19 crisis in some areas, vending machines sales drastically reduced, but in some other areas, they increased. A system with real-time data will give you instant visibility on this unusual behavior – to catch on to the positive, but also ride out the negative trends.
By knowing this information, you can easily adjust your planning and implement savings, so much needed in a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, you would need to visit every location to inspect the situation, which only causes additional costs.
5) Dynamic and Cost-Effective Routing
Having real-time data enables you to optimize total routing workflow, regardless if you do pre-kitting in your warehouse, use live routing where your vehicle is a “moving warehouse”, or you are in hybrid mode.
By using real-time data, you are switching to dynamic planning instead of static. Static planning results in slow data flow and a lack of visibility about what is happening on your machines. Fixed planning schedules are the biggest enemy of your business, because they increase workload, allow wrong decisions, and subsequently lead to loss of sales. Live data allows you to move to dynamic planning, automate it, and collect the benefits.
If your vehicle is a moving warehouse, real-time data will enable live routing. In this mode, fillers will have live data about the stock in the vending machine they are about to visit. They can check what to bring to the machine, before entering the building, or vending machine area. This is eliminating a double visit to the machines, and hard manual entries in handheld, saving a significant amount of time to replenish the machine and put in only the of the physical effort than before.
If you are using dynamic routing and pre-kitting, you will know what routes you need to visit every day, and warehouse workers will know what to pack in advance, considering the stock they have available. With real-time data, you are enabling just in time management. It reduces the stock in your warehouse and vehicle because you know exactly at any moment in time, what is missing in the machines and what is available in the warehouse. This means you can pack lighter and fill the machine with the exact products that are missing. And on the other end, your warehouse can plan their supply better, based on the sales predictions of your machine park.
By using real-time data, you are switching to dynamic planning, instead of static. Static planning is a result of slow data flow and a lack of visibility about what is happening on your machines. Fixed planning schedules are the biggest enemy of your business, because they increase workload, are prone to errors, and subsequently lead to loss of sales. Live data allows you to move to dynamic planning, automate it, and reap the benefits.
How real-time data can help your vending?
By utilizing real-time data, you optimize your business, spend less time on operational tasks, and sell more.
- Empty vehicles during the night and the opportunity to move to the smaller fleet and smaller vehicles, meaning lower costs.
- Much less dead capital in form of eliminating slow circulating products in machines and warehouses, meaning again lower costs.
- Less time in the warehouse to prepare goods in a controlled environment.
- Less time in front of vending machines or taking trips back and from the van to prepare goods on the street.
- Responding to the demand better by visiting machines that sell better just in time, leading to more revenue.
Last but not any less important is that all these simple facts will drastically reduce the physical workload of your staff (50%) and increase their satisfaction.
Hopefully, we have explained how real-time monitoring is a necessity in modern vending. Smart vending machine software like Televend Cloud allows you to gather all this information and much more, whether you are a family-run business or a huge multinational corporation. Our client portfolio includes a wide range of companies from both ends, so do not hesitate to contact us to learn more.