Vendmanager, SB Software

1) Being the “Best”.

This Vendies award is for the best ancillary product OR service.

At SB Software – with Vendmanager – we set out to deliver BOTH: the best ancillary product AND the best ancillary service. The two of them. Combined.

Yes, either is good on its own. Best product. Or best service.

Put both together, and they achieve so much more for our customers – and that fusion is essential for what we are determined to do: deliver maximum success for our clients.

For us, that is the acid test for “being the best”: how much do we help our users to realise their own objectives (initially, when joining Vendmanager, and then going forwards as those goals continue to evolve – as they will and should).

2) What is Vendmanager?

Vendmanager – specified, designed and developed in-house – is the most powerful Vending Management System (VMS) there is. And every month it continues to get better.

Our software makes everyday life easier and better for operators, at the same time as improving their commercial performance. Every day. Today, Vendmanager Mobile is accessed in the field via the mobile device of the client’s choice – giving freedom to select the standard smartphone or tablet that suits their own priorities – and budget.

For analysis, monitoring and reporting back in the office, Vendmanager Desktop provides easy access to even more powerful insights, with useful tools such as maps and Wizards (for automating recurring tasks) ever-ready at your fingertips.

Wherever possible, we are open to integrate seamlessly with any and every payment system, external hardware (including automated picking systems), or other software and devices (to drive micro-markets for example). We are 100% agnostic about where data comes from, or where it goes – once we have put it to effective use in the meantime. Our job is to harvest the best data we can (in terms of quantity/quality/relevance/frequency) and make it work as hard as possible, and as productively as possible. Always .

3) Beyond Software.

In addition to the software at the heart of Vendmanager, we design, deploy and integrate supplementary hardware peripherals – where they will add value for clients (and the options otherwise available are either non-existent or unsatisfactory). Successful examples include Vendmanager Datakey and Vendmanager Databridge.

Across SB Software, the high level benefits that we deliver for our clients span visibility, efficiency, profitability and customer service. The success of Datakey and Databridge here is measured tangibly in relative terms (“faster,” “easier,” “sooner,” “more” and so on) – throughout, our solutions are making things “simply better”.

When it comes to key field initiatives such as “single walk,” “pre-packing” or “visit-on-demand” that we are prioritising with our user-base, to deliver concrete ongoing benefits, the roles of Databridge and Datakey can be just as fundamental. We have examples where implementing these key business drivers would not be feasible at all (or at least not commercially viable, which amounts to the same thing), without these supplementary devices – devices that we have designed and put in place ourselves, from the drawing board up.

Both Datakey and Databridge (now extending coverage to span OCS and tabletop coffee too, and even more legacy freestanding vending) were not in our starting portfolio. Our heritage lies in software. But when we encounter barriers to achieving the results targeted for our clients, we always find the best ways to eliminate those barriers.

4) Service – Surpassing Product.

For our clients, we:

– reduce operating costs by 10 – 20%

– increase snack sales by over 10%

– cut stockholding by up to 20%

– decrease shrinkage to negligible levels

– fill more machines per operator (monitored per client).

To achieve returns like this – measurable in hard currency – it helps that Vendmanager is the best product in its field. But in itself, the best product is “just a good start”.

Our clients want, need and deserve more – to quote Theodore Levitt, economist and Harvard Business School professor, using a machine tool as an example product: “People don’t want a quarter inch drill bit. They want a quarter inch hole.”

With our clients, the right solution varies from client to client. Rightly so, because each client is distinct. Requirements will also evolve over time per client, progressively building on firm foundations to achieve ever more. Why wouldn’t they?

This means that service, including listening hard and understanding what we hear, is essential to success. Always. From pre-contract (where needs analysis blurs with business negotiation), through first implementation (spanning advance preparation through to go-live and ramp-up support), all the way to our ongoing client success programme (with co-ordinated scheduled site visits by our technical managers).

Our colleagues at SBS ensure that the right people, with the right knowledge, tools and systems are engaged at the right times to deliver – and exceed – the promise of the product itself. That’s what we understand by “service”.

5) Proof of the Pudding?

By definition, the SBS quest to be the best (both product and service) AND also to keep getting better can never end. We will always be asking questions. So, maybe the right way to bring this submission to a close is to hand the microphone to representatives drawn from our client base.

5.1) Mark Booth, director at Wilkes Vending who self-identifies as “a tight Yorkshireman and proud of it”: “Vendmanager is the best decision I ever made. Wilkes has long been a good healthy business. Lean. Profitable. But I realised we had already pushed efficiencies as far as we could go – without investing in technology to inform our decisions and operations. And that’s where Vendmanager came in.”

5.2) James Boyd, responsible overall for business planning at B&B Vending, who sees himself as a “report geek”: “Whether day-to-day, or for specific challenges such as monitoring/controlling the estate connected via payment systems or Databridge, B&B are deploying Vendmanager to maximise performance – both for ourselves and our clients. ‘Single walk’ is a prime example here of successfully putting data to work improving efficiency.”