Blending tradition with innovation in the next-gen vending landscape
The future of retail is evolving at a rapid pace, and the same is apparent in the vending industry. Vendingland, a leading European vending machine operation and service company, has been at the forefront of this transformation, leveraging data and technology to offer exceptional customer experiences. We spoke with Niels van Noort, CTO of Vendingland, to gain insights into how they've tapped into Selfly Store's intelligent vending machines and cloud data to supercharge their business.
Vendingland’s journey into intelligent vending
Vendingland started out 17 years ago as a family-owned business within the traditional vending and coffee machine sector. In 2019, the company expanded its offerings to include intelligent vending machines, smart fridges, from Selfly Store. The intelligent machines opened new avenues for Vendingland to supply a broader range of products like fresh food and juices not previously possible with the traditional machines. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this shift, as businesses increasingly sought 24/7 flexible food services, a need traditional catering couldn't fulfill as readily.
Today the company comprises around 60 employees and has grown significantly over the years. Data has always been at the core of the operations and has ensured Vendingland can optimize their business and drive efficiencies. Despite doubling their business over the last few years, they haven't had to add any new employees. "We analyze data to manage more machines with as few people as possible," says Niels.
Becoming a data-driven company
One example of how Vendingland works with data is related to the discovery of issues and problems. As one of the pioneers at that time, Vendingland started using QR codes on their machines to manage malfunctions more efficiently about 12 years ago. Previously, when a machine malfunctioned, the technical team had to manually verify each machine in a building, wasting precious time and resources. Vendingland's implementation of QR codes was a game-changer. Each machine was assigned a unique QR code. Whenever a machine faced a malfunction, consumers or building personnel could quickly scan the QR code, which instantly sent a notification to Vendingland's central system, detailing the exact machine location and its issue. This data allowed technicians to address the problem without delay, improving machine uptime and customer satisfaction. Today QR codes have become a best practice amongst many vending companies. And today, when Vendingland is operating on increasingly intelligent technology, they get automated reporting and alerts as soon as machines themselves discover any issues, for example with a rejected payment.
Another example of how Vendingland has pushed the boundaries in becoming data-driven is how they have evolved their replenishment process with help of data. “Initially, we worked with static picklists. For instance, if we aimed to restock 10 cans of cola for a machine, we'd prepare 10 cans on the picking day. But often, a few days later, by the restock day, a few slots would already be empty due to interim sales. Recognizing this, we began analyzing sales data and adjusted our replenishments. If we're picking the products on a Monday, but doing the replenishment on Wednesday, we now account for sales during those days. This ensures that when we arrive for replenishment, the machine is optimally restocked. By embracing this approach, our machines remain consistently full, and we've been able to cut back on replenishment trips, sometimes halving them from four to just twice a week”, Niels explains.
Read the other blogs in the series here: