Revive Vending, based near Salisbury, is a successful long-established “traditional” vending company, managed by owner Tim Varney - the well-known figure in our sector. Traditional, yes - and also so much more than “just” coffee, drinks, food and water. As they explain on their website: they love their customers and their staff. They love our natural environment. And they love giving back.
One important example of such giving back is the company’s work improving the provision and quality of education in the developing world, and Tanzania in particular - see www.edukaid.com for more details.
Revive have been using Vendmanager, the vending management system, since 2011.
Dan Varney is a project manager with Revive, and as Tim’s son, vending runs in his blood. He is also a power-user of Vendmanager. Dan has devoted significant effort, knowledge and brain power to squeezing ever-more benefit out of the software for his family’s business, their customers and the end-users.
Dan (left) and Tim Varney. Vending Runs in the Blood.
Many clients of SB Software take the ready-made features of Vendmanager out-of-the-box and put them to work profitably at once, saving time and money from the get-go.
Power users like Dan also go further - working alongside the SBS developers to push the boundaries of what is possible today, harnessing technology for ever more effective vending management tomorrow. This works best through two-way interactive sessions, discussing “whatif’s” or “why-not’s.” SBS customers like Dan bring their hard-won real-life experience of the sector to the table. The developers bring their expertise in technology and the disciplines of coding. Both parties bring their aspirations to do things better.
Reviewing “Old” Ways of Working with Simon Black of Vendmanager.
In the Warehouse - Next up for Improvement at Revive.
These power-sessions benefit the participants themselves - and also future users of Vendmanager across the board. In due course, clever ideas that first see the light of day in sessions like these can make their way into the effective solutions deployed to all.
Revive have progressed from being an early adopter - harnessing the fundamentals of effective vending management - to one of the most advanced users in the UK. As Tim says: “In the old days, I could have imagined changing back to spreadsheets. Not now.”
Along the way, they have integrated Nayax payment systems with great success. They are already seeing tangible commercial benefits from pre-packing, and are now evaluating “visit-on-demand," before next assessing how best to further improve the warehouse operations in the future. Throughout, the mantra is to do more better, and quicker.
Simon Black, MD of SB Software sees this as a perfect example of the benefits of taking steps along a path of improvement - at the pace that is right for each client: “I passionately believe in Vendmanager being the best. But best means different things to different clients at different times.
For a new regional client, we deliver benefits from day one. We save time and money. We make things easier. We put useful detailed reports readily on hand. And we integrate with their accounting systems (Sage or whatever). Then when they are ready to go further, all the tools are already on hand - within Vendmanager. For larger clients, being as militant as we are about stock and cash reconciliation is usually the right place to start.”
Simon Black (SBS - Right) in the Workshop at Salisbury: being “best means different things to different clients at different times.”
For Dan Varney, going further is not a slow process - because it reaps benefits for both profitability and customer service: “Vendmanager with telemetry has allowed us greater control of our operations. Being able to pack in advance with exactly what the machines need means we have a real understanding of how our machines our performing. The way we operate now is more efficient and our operators are now filling more machines in their allotted time.”
They already have vending machines without any cash mech at all - particularly suited to academic environments (for example). Recently, on a unit that combines cash, contactless, card and Apple Pay options, they took £75 in a day on the machine, and not one penny was in cash.
He is now reviewing the opportunities that integrated robotics may (or may not) offer within the warehouse. And the growth of Vendmanager within Revive has also gone hand in hand with the company’s latest exciting development - Honest Café - which they describe as NOT a vending company.
Honest Café offers health-conscious snacks with locally sourced low calorie organic options, a selection of juices, fruit teas, flavoured popcorn, baked vegetable snacks and Fair-trade hot drinks. End-users enjoy an unattended café environment that is as far away from the traditional preconceptions of vending as possible - where natural materials, reclaimed palettes and recycled hessian prevail. It’s proven hugely popular - especially in educational, healthcare and office settings.
Mark Summerill, In-House Designer Bringing Honest Cafés to Life.
Visiting the headquarters of Revive and Honest near Salisbury, is now akin to stepping into a fusion between design studio, theatre workshop and craftsman’s atelier - because nearly all the work turning the dream of Honest into reality is done in-house. Yet the traditional skills proudly displayed there go hand in hand with the benefits of technology, with Vendmanager at the heart of Honest too. Being a prestige destination, Honest users, customers and site-operators demand and deserve prestige service too. And that means harnessing the power of data to deliver.
From Dreams to Reality - All Inside the Workshops at Honest.
Both Honest and Vendmanager come from companies who are passionate about what they do. They certainly made an impression on me personally. It was straight after a field trip to Revive and Honest together with Simon Black, MD SB Software that I asked him to consider me for a longer term position with his company - because of what I saw when they were together.
He said yes - and threw me out of the car to find my own way home from Salisbury (220 miles, or 5 hours by train as it turned out). I was pleased with both decisions. I’ll explain why here.