Thankfully, the COVID-19 pandemic that saw us cooped up in our homes through several nationwide lockdowns, has faded into the background, and countries all over the world have returned to a state of near-normality.
This isn’t to say that the pandemic only affected our human habits – it also caused serious damage to businesses, including vending machine manufacturers and vending operators, with businesses shut down and production lines grinding to a halt.
There is still a slight hangover effect from the pandemic, but it’s important to now understand how to buy an office coffee machine that will meet the requirements of businesses with changing processes and practices, different employee working habits, and with new views of managing the transmission of viruses and bacteria in the workplace.
Understanding the impact of the pandemic on manufacturer lead times
Yes, lead times have improved massively since the height of the pandemic, but the knock-on impact of component production being limited for a couple of years and general instability of the economy post-pandemic, lead times are still beyond what we’ve seen pre-pandemic.
Why is this important when in the market to buy a coffee vending machine? Put simply, with longer lead times, your process for identifying an office coffee machine will need to include consideration of when the vending machines are needed on-site, ready to go.
It may be that you’re running a time-sensitive project to replace all your office coffee machines with great new options, and have a hard end date when services need to switch over, in which case you may want to speak to your vending operator about which machines have shortest lead times and how long the sales process might take end-to-end.
If you’re looking for advice on this, you can reach out to our team of vending experts who can help you find solutions that work within your timescales – just give us a call on 01865 341011 or contact us.
Futureproofing your coffee vending machines with hygiene-first technology
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were several technologies which were being utilised by vending machine manufacturers to reduce the transmission of viruses and bacteria between machine users.
Coffee vending machines from Crane Merchandising Systems and Coffetek take differing approaches to reducing the risk of contamination – Crane opt for their SAFETouch anti-microbial coating on machine touchpoints, and Coffetek utilise a distance-touch technology to completely remove the need for consumers to make contact with the machine interface.
These technologies are now readily available with new vending machines and provide an enhanced level of comfort to organisations who want to reduce the risk of illness spreading throughout their workforce. It is, however, important that you check exactly what is included, and what is available at extra cost, before proceeding.
Consolidation, growth and predicting staff usage
Arguably the most important factor to consider in the post-COVID world is the numbers of staff, visitors or customers that will be accessing the machine, particularly for businesses who have previously had commercial coffee machines in their office kitchen and have updated their working policies now the pandemic has ended.
Many businesses have seen a reduction in machine footfall since the pandemic, as a result of hybrid or fully remote working. In most cases, this can be offset by consolidation of existing coffee vending machines and upgrading old equipment to offer more, with less.
If your business is looking at consolidation, you will also need to consider whether working policies are due to be changed again soon, and whether the business will be expecting high growth in staff numbers, over the course of a new vending contract. These changes may not have an obvious impact on your decision right now, but could cause some pain early or mid-contract with your new coffee machines.
Taking the first steps to buying a coffee vending machine
We’ve been working with businesses across the UK for more than 25 years, and have helped our clients deliver great quality cups of coffee to their workforce in office, manufacturing, logistics and other work environments.
If you’re looking for some help in getting the ball rolling, or would like some advice on which machines might be suitable for your business, reach out to our sales experts on 01865 341011 or contact us.