Vending Machine Inventory Management for Increased Profits

Managing your vending machine inventory effectively can certainly boost your profits. If you are new to this business you will need to work out how much and what kind of vendible product you should buy. There is no fixed answer to this because it depends on several factors, for example:

  • What kind of vending machines you own
  • What kind of products you want to sell
  • How many vending machines you have
  • How much product the machines sell between service intervals

Let’s say you are in the soda vending machine business. This means you will only need to buy six to eight different kinds of beverages to go in the machine. Actually this business model means you will have the least number of problems managing your vending machine inventory. Sodas tend to outsell snacks from vending machines by two to one, so you should not have a problem selling all the sodas.

What about if you are in the food vending machine business? Well in that scenario it is likely you would need a minimum of four snack vending machines to ensure you sell all the snacks before their expiry dates. Candies and chips do not have as long shelf life as sodas. Non-diet soda can last for half a year but chips usually only stay fresh for a couple of months.

Something else to consider is there tends to be more product variety in a snack food vending machine, including candy bars, gum and chips. This offers the customer plenty of choices and makes your machine more appealing to them, but it also means managing the inventory can be more complicated for the operator.

Another option is the combination vending machine, which offers both soda and snack food, but these machines have a limited capacity. They usually run out of product quicker, so the operator needs to service it more frequently than another machine type. Combination machines are usually best for lower volume accounts, so if you are operation at a location with a significantly higher volume, you might want to purchase a snack food vending machine and also a soda vending machine, so you do not have to visit as often to replenish the products.

Service Intervals and Product Quantities

It is important to know how much vendible product you are selling between serving intervals, so you can work out how much product to buy from your supplier. The bigger the account and higher the foot traffic where the machine is located, the more product you will need to buy to refill the machine.

Which Products Sell Fastest?

It is useful to figure out which product is selling quicker than others at each vending machine you have, so you can purchase more of what is selling well and less of what is not. If you have a number of machines, this might not be easy to remember, although there are plenty of options you can use to track your bestsellers. Some vending machine operators will write the figures down and then upload them into a spreadsheet later. If your vending machine is fitted with MDB technology, that is also handy.

Another option is DEX and this is very helpful for improving inventory management in vending machines. Not all vending machines have this feature but you can add it to your machine after purchasing it from a specialty vendor. DEX is a nice addition to the vending machine industry, and it will help you improve your decision making about what to buy, thereby increasing future profits.

The goal ultimately is to track your sales so you can effectively manage what inventory you need to buy to fill your fending machines. You will notice patterns and trends over time in what your customers are buying, and this will also help you to offer the products which are selling the best. It is not easy to manage your inventory effectively, but by applying some of the above techniques you have more chance of minimizing the amount of inventory needed to stock your machines properly while you limit the amount of out-of-date inventory, thereby increasing your profits.

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