Maximizing Vending Route Efficiency

Maximizing vending route efficiency is key to a successful vending machine business. Consider these quotes:

  • “Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
  • “Work smarter, not harder.”

All vending operators should live by these mantras, particularly when it comes to minimizing the cost to service the accounts of your vending machine business. The benefits of successfully implementing these efficiencies will not only save you time and effort but will help reduce the number of months you’ll need to recoup the initial investment in your vending machines.

Think about it: Increasing your vending route efficiency can improve your bottom line by up to 5%.

Questions to Consider

As a vending machine operator, you’ll have various factors to think about. How much product do your vending machines hold? How many vending machines do you own? How large (or small) are your accounts? What type of product are you selling in your machines? Are you finding that your accounts have run out of a product before you service them? Where are your vending machines located?

These are all questions we’ll attempt to answer in the post below.

Vending route efficiency is important no matter how small (or large) your vending machine business is.

Chances are, if you’re starting out, you probably won’t have to worry as much about developing a vending machine route that optimizes your cost to service. After all, you’ll probably start with 1 or 2 machines that can be easily managed without much effort and cost. However, you want to grow your vending machine business, you’ll want to begin thinking about minimizing your cost to service by maximizing your vending machine route.

Consider Your Vending Machines

What type of vending machines do you own? It’s an important question that can have long-lasting implications for your vending machine business. Combination machines (machines that sell both snacks and drinks) will oftentimes drag down your vending route efficiency and increase your cost to service because they can only hold half as much soda or food as a machine that is fully dedicated to one product type. As a result, they’re likely to run out of food or drinks twice as fast, requiring you to service the machines more often.

If you haven’t purchased a machine yet, avoid the rookie mistake and purchase vending machines dedicated to a product group. Also, if you intend to break into selling soda first, be sure to purchase a vending machine that has the ability to sell both canned and bottled drinks. This will give your vending machine business flexibility.

What Vending Products Are You Selling?

Your vendible products will also dictate how often you’ll have to service your vending machines. If you sell canned soda, you’ll have more flexibility because they stay fresh up to 10 months (3 months maximum for canned diet drinks). Bottled drinks, on the other hand, stay fresh up to 3 months. Certain food items are even more susceptible to spoilage, although some are better than others. For example, chips have a shelf life of 30 to 45 days whereas candy bars and candy are more forgiving and can last 5 to 6 months. Regardless of what you intend to stock, whether its chips, soda or something else, ensure your locations can sell through the majority of inventory in your vending machines at least once per month.

Mo’ Products, Mo’ Service

When you have more product options to sell in your vending machines, you’re likely to have to service it more often, yet another drag on vending route efficiency. For example, snack machines have a larger assortment mix of vendible products but can’t carry as much as other machine types. Most have 30 different types of items but only carry 10-12 of each snack when fully stocked. On the other hand, soda machines typically hold 8 different types of beverages but are capable of holding 50-60 cans of each. This is not to say that snack machines aren’t a solid choice. Rather, they may require additional consideration when developing the most efficient vending machine route.

Vending Machine Placement is Key

Another factor that plays an important role in determining the cost to service your vending machine route is how far apart your locations are from one another. Obviously, the farther apart they are, the higher the cost to service and vice versa. Consider, for example, that if you’re generating less than $200 in revenue per week from either a soda or snack machine, you may want to relocate it to an area that is closer to your other accounts. Even if the revenue generated at the new location is roughly the same, your vending machine business will benefit from improved vending route efficiency.

However, before you pull a location, be sure to have another one waiting in the wings.

Good Vending Service is Good Vending Business

Although the cost to service and vending route efficiency can maximize the earning potential of your vending machine business, keeping your locations stocked is priority number one. Without a full product lineup, you run the risk of losing sales and potentially the account due to poor service. If you find that your vending machine business is consistently running out of a product, move up the service period so that it’s more frequent. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change, but shortening the service interval can eliminate this problem. Then build this into your vending route to maximize efficiency and lower your cost of service.

There’s no right way to do the wrong thing.

Keep your cost to service minimized and your vending route efficiency maximized by only servicing the machines when they need to be serviced. For those starting out in the vending machine business, you’ll get the urge to check your machines often to see what you’ve made. It’s like Christmas morning when you were a kid. Curiosity and anticipation drove you to find where your parents stashed the presents. However, when operating a vending machine business, it’s different. Each time you check your vending locations, it effectively reduces the amount of money you make. More visits equal higher costs to service and drag down your vending route efficiency. Find the right balance of service and savings.

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