Case Study
Cambridge Vending

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“Data is powerful and you have to use it to your advantage, it’s the biggest topic in vending” – Peter Wilson, Managing Director, Cambridge Vending.

Cambridge Vending are leading innovators in premium coffee and vending services throughout East Anglia and the Midlands. Operating on twin pillars of premium quality and dedicated support, Cambridge Vending have grown their reputation as a fully supported, operated vending service, successfully creating bespoke vending solutions for their clients.

By 2013, it had become clear that a fully integrated computerised system was required at Cambridge Vending in order to maintain first class service levels, at the same time as expanding their customer base. Following an intensive industry consultation, comparing and investigating all the major vending management systems, Cambridge Vending chose SB Software.

“It was obvious there was only one way to go” says Peter Wilson, Managing Director at Cambridge Vending. “The people from SB Software were honest about the strengths of their system. They were people we could work with”. It was not a decision taken lightly. Changing to a fully integrated vending management system is a “major undertaking, it must be right for the business, there must be a benefit”.

Those benefits were quick to appear.

Sb Soft Help Cambridge Vending

Left to right: Peter Wilson, Managing Director, Cambridge Vending, Phil McGhee, Account Manager, SB Software.


“Data is Power - And You Have to Use It”

The “biggest topic in vending is data," and it must be used to create advantage for the customer. Understanding the significance of data - fully understanding it - creates an unsurmountable advantage over the competition. Being able to react to changing conditions, not just in terms of consumer tastes, culinary trends and seasonal variation, but also the weather forecast, school holidays or even local events allows vending machines to maximise their potential profit. Alternatively, sales data can be fed directly into replenishment orders, meaning that stock levels take care of themselves. The potential of the data produced is limited only by the analysis, interpretation and response of those in charge.

The data provided by Vendmanager has allowed Cambridge Vending to manage their estate more efficiently, resulting in a 25% increase in takings per visit - without any sacrifice in product availability or customer service. Clear visibility of performance - at site and machine level - empowers informed decision making. The servicing schedule can be designed, monitored and maintained to ensure that ancillary costs are efficiently controlled, allowing maximum return from the revenue that has been generated. Cambridge are now looking to increase the takings per visit still further - by an additional 20%, facilitated by the powerful reporting capabilities of SB Software.

Driving Efficiencies, Opening Opportunities

Vendmanager also empowered Cambridge Vending to identify opportunities to improve efficiency within their own operations. Initially, the main gains were within office admin: “invoices went out much more quickly, allowing us to bill at a regular, set, time each month”. Data was now accessible on demand - readily available for client and internal analysis and control via easy-to-run reports. This facilitated great savings in-house, and each employee was able to do more in the time available, opening opportunities for improved efficiency.

Vendmanager has really tightened up the internal accounts, with full control of cash balances, and rapid, accurate invoicing. Cashless payments, which now account for some 20% of revenue at Cambridge Vending, and foreign currency income can all be incorporated via SB Software. The system permits Cambridge Vending to accept US dollar payments, which are then seamlessly incorporated into their systems, meeting accountancy requirements fully, and feeding statistical analysis.

Once Vendmanager was bedded in, it was time for a major efficiency initiative; something that would have been effectively impossible without the reporting now available. “We ran a huge drive on operator efficiency,” Peter explains. “Prior to moving to Vendmanager, all our planogramming was standardised. Now, we could give each site operator more freedom for merchandising depending on specific demand. We could look at individual call patterns, costings and margins in site-specific detail. It has allowed the product range, and profits, to grow, and we have had great success in adding guest products, such as Japanese rice snacks and other premium healthy eating products.”

Serving the Customer – Bespoke Care

Customer service is the cornerstone of the operation at Cambridge Vending. “We never lose a client through poor service” says Peter. “Customer retention is our key indicator”.

Vendmanager invites customer service to rise to a whole new level. The operator can now reflect back to an individual client their own business - analysed in minute detail via the Vendmanager dashboard.

To ensure that trends are understood and opportunities taken without delay, call patterns, revenues versus visits and a whole raft of measures can be monitored, analysed or printed at intervals and at a granularity of detail to support individual requirements. As Peter says; “The biggest benefit is having access to all our data, and being able to create reports quickly”.

Alongside profitability measures, technical scheduling, machine maintenance and service calls are all monitored and scheduled via SB’s software too.

With Vendmanager, there is now a single access point for immediate visibility across the entire Cambridge Vending estate.