Are you wondering whether you should manage your own vending machine or outsource the task to a vending company through a fully managed vending service? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
In this blog post, we’ll compare the benefits and drawbacks of self-filling a vending machine (often referred to as a DIY vending setup) and having a vending operator manage vending machines on your behalf. Read on to find out which approach is right for you!
The Pros of Self Filling Machines
For businesses that prefer to buy their own vending machines outright and take complete control of each element, self-filling is an attractive option. This means you have absolute flexibility over what mix of products you put into your machines, and can make changes to the pricing of the entire range. This is especially helpful for sites with lower demand and allows you to adjust the selection of products, and pricing, to match customer needs.
By taking a DIY approach to a vending machine implementation, you’re also able to react more quickly to machines becoming low on products, as often the machines are stocked by permanent on-site staff with access to a store room of products. This flexibility extends to suppliers as you can also source your own products, allowing you to be more selective with pricing and providers.
Additionally, while you are responsible for filling and managing stock for the vending machine yourself, you can often enter into a separate agreement with a vending operator to provide technical support and maintenance services for a fee.
The Cons of Self Filling
Self filling a vending machine can be a great way to save money and ensure your customers always have access to the snacks and drinks they need. However, there are also some major drawbacks to this approach. DIY vending solutions require a significant amount of human resource, as someone has to regularly order and manage stock levels, replenish, clean and manage any back office tools or administration, for the machine to work effectively.
This often means pulling a member of your team from their main duties, which may not be ideal for your business, especially during periods of peak demand. Additionally, if you’re relying on volunteers or non-experienced staff to manage stock, clean and fill the machine, it can be difficult to guarantee quality and adherence to food safety standards. Coffee vending machines are also more likely to malfunction if the internal components are not cleaned to a sufficient standard, and this could leave your business out of pocket if your internal team aren’t adequately trained.
Most vending operators have telemetry systems which constantly monitor the uptime of the machine and stock levels, and can help identify issues early on before they become an issue at the point of sale. Without the vending operator team utilising this tool and being on hand, it’s likely that the job will more manual and onerous than you’re expecting.
The Pros of a Fully Managed Vending Service
For businesses that don’t want to sacrifice internal resource or personnel to manage and stock their vending machines, having a fully managed vending service is the ideal solution. With this service, businesses can leave the management and maintenance of their vending machines to a professional operator who will handle all aspects of the job. This can be a great relief for business owners, as it reduces their burden of having to manage the vending machines themselves, and leaves them to focus on the business critical tasks on their list.
Having a vending operator manage your machines also ensures that they are always stocked with fresh and up-to-date products. As such, customers get access to the latest products without any hassle, as well as having any low performing products removed and replaced with more popular options. Additionally, a professional machine operator is trained in best practices for cleaning, replenishing and can help identify machine technical issues before they become inhibitive to the operation of the machine.
Aside from the obvious consumer side elements of a fully managed vending service, and the benefits to businesses of taking this approach, there’s a huge amount to be said for the peace of mind that if anything breaks or requires maintenance on the machines, you’ve a team of expert engineers who can be dispatched to resolve issues. Connect Vending’s clients see their machine faults resolved on the first visit in 9 out of 10 cases, reducing machine downtime and getting things back up and running to keep employees happy.
Statistics show that over 75% of UK businesses have a fully managed vending service in place to take care of their vending machines. Having an operator manage the machines ensures that businesses are always provided with the best possible service for their vending needs, without putting pressure on internal human resources.
The Cons of a Fully Managed Vending Service
Having a fully managed vending service comes at a higher cost than DIY vending setups, for obvious reasons. It is typical for vending operators to install machines with long term management and maintenance agreements, so that they can build site visits into existing operating routes and ensure that their team can plan ahead for any future new hires in the operations and engineering teams.
For smaller businesses, this can be prohibitive, as there’s no guarantee that the business will have the required stability, either from a cashflow or employees-on-site perspective, to require these services in the long term, making it a more difficult decision to justify. It may also be that a business with only 10 people on site simply does not need once or twice weekly machine refills, and may determine that bringing this task in-house is more commercially sensible.
Furthermore, since the operator is responsible for managing the machine, you may not have the freedom to adjust pricing and offerings as often as you would like. Depending on the operator, you may also need to wait for them to come and restock your vending machine if it runs low on supplies or needs repairs. This can cause delays and could mean that your customers are left without access to products during times of peak demand.
Making the right decision
We know how difficult it can be to make a decision on taking a fully managed vending service or doing it yourself, but you don’t have to make this choice on your own. Our expert team of vending professionals have been managing office coffee machine, snack vending machine, micro market and many more solutions for more than 25 years.
It’s always great to have the option to outsource your whole operation, but we know it’s sometimes not quite right for your business. Why not reach out to us on 01865 341011, or by email on email@example.com to speak to someone about your options.
We’d love to hear from you.