Business Management

5 Ways to Leverage Technology for Vending Acquisitions

September 27, 2017 | By Anant Agrawal

5 Ways to Leverage Technology for Vending Acquisitions

When we think of technology in vending, we usually imagine it to be used for the backbone of operations, financial transactions, customer communications and a plethora of other critical business needs. The one activity we don’t imagine technology being useful for in the vending industry is acquisitions. With the industry witnessing an unprecedented number of mergers and acquisitions, the right technology is essential to ensure a smooth transition for merged business operations.

We list below not one, but five pivotal areas in which technology can be a game-changer and a useful tool when you are acquiring a vending operation.

  1. Integrating Data: You now have two kinds of business operations on your hands. One is your existing vending operation and the other is the vending operations of the operator you have acquired. While the overall management of the vending operations may be similar, the processes of collecting, analyzing and reporting data could be very different. As the larger operator acquiring smaller players, one of the first tasks you should embark on is to help the acquired operators achieve operational efficiency. This task might seem daunting if you or the acquired operator does not have the necessary technology in place that enables operational visibility.
  2. Managing Scale: Once you acquire another operator, your business gets larger in size and scale. You might have new non-performing assets to deal with and/or several locations where the physical inventory does not match the system inventory. There’s only one way to manage the discrepancies. DATA. Data automatically allows you to take notes on customer requests, get responses on pending payments from your customers and plan inventory sessions for your machines. Manage your larger operations better with technology. You’ll now have to procure larger quantities, manage scheduling and inventory for a greater number of machines and report performance on many more routes. Let technology help you simplify this task.
  3. Combining/Eliminating Routes: A new acquisition sometimes results in an overlap in the territories and regions that both operators service. Or it could mean establishing a central/regional distribution center to service both the existing and new routes. If there is a significant overlap in the routes being serviced, you certainly don’t want your driver to go on two consecutive days to service machines that are just 10 miles apart. With the right technology in place, you can easily incorporate your new locations into your existing routes and create new, more efficient service routes for your drivers.
  4. Improving Customer Service: One of the unsaid reasons why a vending operator is even up for acquisition is poor customer service. Improvement in customer service involves paying attention to subtle customer requirements such as offering healthier product options if they find a spike in actual sales of healthier/sugar-free beverages. Your best bet in offering a much more tailored customer experience is technology. The right Vending Management System (VMS) will not only show you sales patterns, but also predict planograms and merchandising efforts you should undertake. It will send out alerts about potential stock outs and suggest replenishment plans that will help you plug potential stock outs. A smaller operator you have acquired could benefit immensely from such insights and could address customer needs in a much swifter manner. These initiatives could be your key to rebuilding a good reputation for the acquired operator in a short period of time and help you turn around their business quickly.
  5. Enabling Financial Transparency: Mergers and acquisitions essentially mean the bringing together of bookkeeping, accounts and financial transactions. This process needs to be as transparent as possible in order to ensure both parties can see the clear financial impact of operations, asset transfers and staff payments. If the operator you are planning to acquire does not collect good DEX data, then their revenue numbers could be unreliable. In this scenario, you could consider adding a clause to your acquisition terms that would allow you to withhold some payment until revenues are verified using DEX data and telemetry. Migrating financial data to a technological platform could ensure any financial irregularities get dealt with even before the merger. Without the technology to keep this in order, an acquisition could result in legal complications due to previous tax irregularities, mismatched cash reconciliations or incorrect staff remuneration. Tie financial data together seamlessly and avoid legal hassles by using the right technology.

Do you want to streamline your vending operations and be acquisition ready? Learn how our ePort Connect solutions can help you get the most out of your business when it is time to sell.

Author

Anant Agrawal

EVP Corporate Development

As one of the founders of Cantaloupe Systems, Anant has helped to transform technologies impact on creating efficiencies, automation and business optimization across unattended retail. He is passionate about helping business owners understand the power of implementing technology to improve profitability and strategic long-term growth.

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