Press Release

Press Release: Parlevel Announces Integration with VendScreen

San Antonio, TX, January 22, 2016  Parlevel Systems, the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions (VMS) for vending operators and office coffee services (OCS) providers,  announced an integration with VendScreen – a network of touchscreen devices designed for vending machines. The integration enhances VendScreen functionality with Parlevel’s suite of vending management solutions to give vending operators increased insight into their vending operations.

VendScreen devices retrofit on existing vending machines and enhance point of sale capabilities. These devices employ cloud-based and DEX technologies to accept cashless payments, display product nutrition information, and increase customer engagement and service.  The integration with Parlevel allows for vending operators to seamlessly transfer data captured by VendScreen for use in Parlevel’s vending management platform. Parlevel’s VMS utilizes features like remote monitoring, optimized product merchandising, consolidated financial reports, and other optimization tools to give vending operators firmer control over their companies.

“Our recent integration with VendScreen adds to Parlevel’s growing portfolio of telemetry hardware partnerships and makes our VMS available to more operators seeking its benefits,” said Rafa Barroso, chief information officer for Parlevel. “VendScreen devices integrate cashless and telemetry capabilities that can be monitored in an easy and effective way using Parlevel’s VMS. This integration helps VendScreen users make informed decisions that will positively impact their business in the long term.”

About Parlevel

Based in San Antonio, Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions for the food and beverage industries, including vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with enhanced control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime, and from any device. Parlevel also utilizes a dedicated customer and technical support team to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment.

 

Press Release

Press Release – Parlevel Driver App Delivers Efficiency For Vending Operators

San Antonio, TX, December 22, 2015 — Parlevel Systems, the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions (VMS) for vending operators and office coffee services (OCS) providers, announced the availability of the Parlevel Driver App, the latest addition to its Vending Management System (VMS) product set. The free app operates on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch Apple devices, and is available for download from the App Store.

The Parlevel app enables drivers to perform daily tasks more efficiently while out on the road. Drivers can view their route, adjust inventory, change product mix, submit refunds, record cash meters, and capture notes. The mobile app enhances the ability to reduce reliance on paper printouts by presenting route information in an easy-to-access format right on the mobile device. In addition, the driver app delivers machine alerts that notify a driver to machine breakdowns, coin jams, or other alerts that require immediate attention. The added mobile convenience improves efficiency and expedites operations, all while saving vending operations valuable time and money.

“Extending the power of the VMS from the warehouse to the field, the app adds efficiency to the day-to-day operations simply by putting everything a driver needs in an easy-to-use app right in the palm of their hand,” said Rafa Barroso, chief information officer for Parlevel. “As a result, operators can count on their drivers to better manage inventory, consult pre-kits, and handle cash accountability on the fly. This app has been extensively evaluated in field trials, and we expect that the Parlevel VMS and Driver App will enhance profitability for vending operators.”

Parlevel’s VMS is a flexible vending and office coffee operations platform that provides operators with real-time information about their business and is accessible on any mobile device or computer. Key elements of the platform include dynamic route management, pre-kitting, merchandising and forecasting, an OCS module, and inventory monitoring systems.

About Parlevel

Based in San Antonio, Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions for a number of vending industries, including vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated customer and technical support team to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment.

Business Management

Top 5 Questions to Ask a VMS Company before Implementing Vending Software

Vending management software (VMS) has countless benefits for a vending company. From better control to increased efficiency, effective vending software has the tools to help any vending operation run more efficiently. However, getting the vending software up and running doesn’t happen overnight.  Machines need to be integrated into the system, inventory has to be accounted for, and drivers should be trained to use the system effectively. Understandably, this transition might seem overwhelming to some vending operators. That is why adopting vending software needs to be as easy and painless as possible.

Here are the top 5 questions to ask a VMS company before implementing vending software:

1) Is the implementation process customized for my business?

Parlevel Systems ImplementationBefore transitioning to a new system, the implementation team should work closely with vendors to decide how they will best use the vending software. Getting vending software up and running is not a one size fits all approach – instead, it should be based on the unique needs of a business. Instead of changing an operation to fit their processes, a VMS company should alter their processes to best fit an operation. This custom-made method allows for an easy transition into the system.

Scott Brennan, owner of Brennan Vending, – a four route business consisting of both vending and micromarkets in the northeast – experienced a smooth transition to new vending software with a personalized approach. “The team identified all of the upgrades I needed,” said Scott. “They came in, picked up the keys, and away they went.”

2) What is the timeline for implementation?

When it comes to setting up new vending technology, faster isn’t necessarily better. An operator should be able to ease into new software to avoid being overwhelmed.  Whether a business decides to implement all at once or one route at a time, they should be able to choose a pace they are comfortable with. “I wanted to start with just one route to get my feet wet and learn the system really well,” said Scott. “My parents founded this company 26 years ago, and I’d been upgrading my business steadily, but it wasn’t enough. I adopted vending software to move my business forward.”

Like others in the industry, Scott didn’t want to lose out on profits while he employed new technology.  By initially integrating simply one route, Scott made sure his business was never put on pause to account for new technology. “My operation was disrupted very, very little,” said Scott.

What little disruption was experienced, the implementation team immediately tackled head-on. “We had a few service calls here and there,” said Scott. “However, there was never any hesitation from the team to go and solve it.”

3) Will my team be sufficiently trained to use the software?

After a business is successfully put into the system, operators should not have to figure how to use the software on their own. An effective vending software provider will offer personalized, one-on-one training that enables vendors to use the system cleverly, effectively, and with confidence.

“Initially, I was a little overwhelmed,” said Scott. “After all, there were a lot of machines to put in the system.” Ample training quickly put those concerns to rest. As the training process progressed, Scott became more familiar and more comfortable using the system. “Now that I know what to expect, I’m very prepared to use it in the future.”

4) Do I have access to customer support?

Parlevel SupportOnce a vending business is successfully integrated and effectively trained with the software, a VMS company should continue to provide easy access to customer support, so operators are never left to solve a problem on their own. Whether it is through instant messaging, email, or phone support, a dedicated support team should be prepared to assist with any and all questions a user may have.

Scott utilizes customer support with great success. “Support is awesome, especially with someone new that has questions,” said Scott. “The guys are always on top of it and always answer my questions within a few minutes. Even if you are not tech savvy, support is a very accessible and useful tool.”

5) How long until I start to see positive results?

Once the implementation process ends, an operation should expect to see trans-formative results from the vending software almost immediately. “With the way things have been going so far, I think the system will be incredibly beneficial to my business,” said Scott. An effective vending software provider will enable any vending business to reap the benefits provided by the system quickly, easily, and with as minimal disruption as possible.

Many vending owners dread transitioning their business to use new vending software.  However, Parlevel Systems operates with these five questions in mind, and vendors can expect implementation to be an interesting and enjoyable experience. “I really liked the guys that came out,” said Scott. “We had them over and my family made a big dinner for everyone. We even enjoyed a couple of beers on Friday – it was really nice.”

*Feature image courtesy of <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-vector/speech-bubbles-with-question-marks_785259.htm”>Designed by Freepik</a>

Case Study

Case Study – Managing Growth with Powerful Vending Technology

Accelerating Growth with Cashless Payments and VMS

Like countless other vending businesses around the country, Royal Vending faced a challenge in managing rapid growth while maintaining its high level of operations. A vending, office coffee, and micro-market provider serving the Portland, Oregon area, Royal recognized that technology was necessary to help keep a firm grasp on their operation. By implementing a Vending Management System (VMS), Royal was able to manage their company more effectively and significantly grow their profits. Just three months after adopting a VMS, Royal had found that sales were booming – one of Royal’s best performing machines had an average pull of over $500 almost every time it was serviced.

Royal’s founder and co-chief executive officer, Ryan Harrington, built his business alongside his wife and co-chief executive officer, Michelle, through hard work and hands-on management. Initially starting with just two machines, Royal now operates some 350 machines and 20 micromarkets across the Portland area. As the company grew, it became increasingly difficult and time consuming to keep the operation running smoothly. Eventually, Ryan and his team came to the conclusion that a comprehensive Vending Management System was necessary to keep Royal on a positive path.

Choosing the Right VMS

Having made the decision to integrate VMS technology into their operations, Royal’s management gathered information on various VMS solutions. After considerable analysis and study, they selected Parlevel’s VMS as the best option for his business.

“We recognized that implementing a VMS would have a long-reaching impact on our business, so we took a cautious approach,” said Ryan. “It was quickly apparent that the Parlevel VMS offered everything we needed.”

Royal was looking for several key features in a VMS. According to Ryan, he wanted a system that was easy to use, a support team that was helpful, and the flexibility of a platform to match the needs of his operation.

“We had been using our home-grown system, and had a pretty good feel for technology, but the VMS is so easy that even somebody who is not tech-savvy can be comfortable with it”, noted Ryan. “The knowledge and responsiveness of the support team made a difference as well. They really understand the ins and outs of running a vending business, and this experience gives our team a great deal of confidence in the system.”

Deployment

After choosing the right VMS for his company, Ryan and his team were initially concerned with getting the new system up and running, however, the implementation process only took three weeks and disruption to Royal’s every day operations was minimal. Royal began to increase their operational efficiency without undergoing a major overhaul of their operations.

“The Parlevel implementation team really understood what was required, and worked tirelessly to get everything done without any significant disruption to our customers or to our business,” commented Ryan.

Impact to Business Every Day

Royal noticed a positive improvement to their business almost immediately. They had access to route optimization features and real-time access to machine status that let them manage their business more effectively than ever.

“We have a live view of every machine,” noted Ryan. “We can address breakdowns immediately, see what products are selling, and plan a site visit just before a product sells out.”

Life with a VMS – Revitalizing Stubborn Machines

Instituting a VMS brought Royal’s revenue growth to new heights. Not only did some of Royal’s best machines boost sales, but poor performing machines were revitalized.

“Two machines increased revenue by almost 40 percent,” said Ryan. “The system enabled us to monitor and tweak the product mix to make sure that we could optimize the performance even more.”

This increase in revenue carried over to Royal’s entire operation. A gross sales increase of 12 to 15 percent was seen in most machines. The high level of increased revenue validated Royal’s decision to invest in a VMS and Parlevel in particular.

“Net revenue was up in every machine,” said Ryan. “Another big contributor to the bottom line was the virtual elimination of breakdowns and machine downtime. We can immediately see when a machine is in trouble and can get it back in service quickly so we don’t lose sales.”

Looking Forward

Ryan and his team have saved time, increased efficiency and gained control of their rapidly growing operation as a result of adopting Parlevel’s VMS. Royal spends less time planning out routes, services more machines faster than ever before, and experiences high levels of sales in the majority of their machines.

“The Parlevel VMS has really changed the way we do vending,” Ryan concluded. “We are very excited to see where our partnership takes us. I have every expectation that we can continue to maintain a tremendous partnership down the road.”

About Parlevel VMS

Parlevel’s cloud-based VMS and provides vending operators with real-time reporting and visibility into vending machine inventory, performance, and route management without the need to purchase or install any dedicated computer or network equipment. The system captures actual sales data and stocking needs, which allows for robust pre-kitting and merchandising functions. The VMS also includes an Office Coffee Service (OCS) module to facilitate the management and tracking of coffee products and equipment.

Headquartered out of historic San Antonio, Texas, Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of Vending Management Solutions (VMS) for vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by a team of successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated team of customer and technical support to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment.

Business Management

Common Vending Mistakes that Are Hurting Your Company’s Value

There is a great deal of churn in the vending industry. Operators routinely sell routes — or their entire vending business — to buyers. Whether the seller is downsizing or looking to retire, or whether buyers are expanding into new areas, both share a common goal – a fair deal. Sellers want top dollar for the routes they have worked so hard to establish, and buyers want to know the true value of the businesses they are looking to purchase.

At the center point between each party’s best interests lays the key to making both sides satisfied: objective data. This hard data can provide a fair and equitable price for the business. Historically, quantifying these figures has been a problem in vending, which is commonly a cash-centric business. Calculating and defending an appropriate sale price is often an issue whenever there is little hard data to go on.

According to Michael Kelner, managing partner of Vending Biz Broker, a consulting firm that facilitates the sale of vending operations, the lack of objective data has plagued vending business sales for years.  “Sellers that cannot provide reliable information on cash sales and inventory turns have a far inferior negotiating stance. Buyers are not spending top dollar for business operations that cannot be quantified, and the end result we usually see is a sale price that is significantly lower than what a fair market value would dictate.”

Kelner says that, in contrast, operators who use vending management systems (VMS) can definitively quantify value and thereby negotiate more favorable deals. A VMS, like the one offered by Parlevel, provides hard data across almost every aspect of a vending operation. Armed with these concrete statistics, sellers can get a fair price for their operation, and buyers will know exactly what type of operation they’re acquiring. In fact, companies that have deployed a VMS have been known to successfully drive their selling price up by as much as 20%.

Buying or Selling — Vending Technology Makes Good Vending Business Sense

Not only does vending technology provide negotiating leverage by keeping track of concrete data, but it offers tools and insights that will grow a vending business altogether. A VMS delivers a wealth of knowledge and unparalleled control over an operation. Parlevel’s VMS offers unique features like machine break-down alerts, product recommendations, and route suggestions that can help operators increase the efficiency and profitability –and thus the value – of their vending business. If it comes time to sell, concrete data and a higher company value will keep the company from being undervalued, and ensure it sells at a fair and competitive price.

Vending management with Parlevel Systems

The Price Is Right

Perhaps an operator has spent decades creating and expanding their vending business. Maybe it’s been in the family for a number of generations. It could be that an operator just doesn’t have the time to run it like they used to. Regardless of the situation, sellers want to feel like they get a fair price for the business they’ve invested so much time and money in. To achieve this, operators need to know two things: What is my vending business realistically worth? And how can I persuasively present this figure to a potential buyer? Guessing your operations value off of spreadsheets done by hand will not yield an accurate number. Furthermore, old spreadsheets will do nothing to persuade a potential buyer. Smart buyers will poke, prod, and challenge any data presented that cannot be objectively proven. The best way to get an accurate valuation from your business that cannot be challenged by a potential buyer is through the concrete numbers provided by a VMS.

A vending management system will have, at its core, a database that is fed information directly from the vending machines themselves via two-way telemetric data exchange — or DEX. All the data is date-, time- and location-stamped, which mitigates any tampering.  This raw information can then be parsed in any number of ways, creating enlightening reports that give a 360° evaluation — and valuation — of your business. From how often the machines are refilled to how long they are down for service, from how much money a machine makes to its best-selling products, a VMS reflects the objective reality of a business. In contrast, most other vending business valuation techniques are subjective and open to interpretation.

This technology gives the seller solid negotiating leverage when potential buyers attempt to undermine an asking price. Furthermore, a route that has been upgraded to DEX and is already running VMS technology makes for a much more appealing purchase to the buyer, since it saves them the cost of having to upgrade and integrate later. Again, according to Kelner, VMS deployments can successfully drive selling price up by as much as 20%. “Through technology-driven business improvements such as optimized route schedules, reductions in drivers, and improved sales by offering merchandise customers truly want,” says Kelner, “gross sales go up, expenses go down, and profit margins widen. These bottom line changes add value to the business and increase sale price.”

Top Data Yields Top Dollar

As Kelner asserts: “Buyers are willing to pay more for a vending business that is current and well run.” The visibility and insights vending operators will gain from VMS will help them operate more productively and profitability today. And, when the time comes to sell that vending business tomorrow, they’ll be able to negotiate with confidence – armed with a rock-solid valuation that will land them a fair and sweet deal.

About Parlevel

Headquartered out of historic San Antonio, Texas; Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of Vending Management Solutions (VMS) for vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by a team of successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated team of customer and technical support to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment. For additional information, please visit: www.parlevelsystems.com.

Press Release

Press Release – Parlevel Celebrates Third Anniversary this Month

San Antonio, TX, October 29, 2015 — Parlevel Systems, the fastest growing provider of solutions to the food and beverage industry, is celebrating its third anniversary this month. Three years of experience has taken Parlevel from 4 founders with a big idea to an industry leader, all while more than tripling its workforce.

CEO Luis Pablo (Pilo) Gonzalez founded Parlevel Systems in 2013 after overhearing a vending operator complain about the limitations of vending technology. Gonzalez soon realized the food and beverage industry was undergoing an incredible transformation. Retailers, operators, and manufacturers found themselves unprepared for this radical change. Operational efficiency, product procurement, and effective marketing proved to be more difficult than ever. Through Parlevel, Gonzalez strived to utilize real-time data and analytics to provide the industry with a comprehensive solution.

Originally conceived as remote monitoring tool exclusively for vending operators, Parlevel’s VMS has evolved to a cloud-based platform that optimizes efficient practices for an array of food and beverage operations. Armed with this innovative solution, Parlevel signed its first customer in 2013. Since then, Parlevel has experienced rapid growth. Today, Parlevel provides comprehensive vending solutions to customers in over 25 states and 4 countries.

Parlevel’s CIO Rafa Barroso spoke on the company’s significant growth: “In three years Parlevel has come from a simple remote monitoring system to a complete suite of tools that improves food and beverage operations. We are very proud of bringing easy, affordable and powerful technology to an industry that was in transition. During this time, we have expanded from Texas to more than 25 states, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. We couldn’t have done it without our customer’s guidance and an exceptional team that cares about people above all.”

Moving forward, Parlevel plans to continually increase the efficiencies provided by its solution with new feature rollouts and a sustained pledge to providing unmatched customer support. “New tools and big changes are on the horizon for Parlevel,” continued Barroso. “We’ll keep developing friendly but robust tools and focusing on product excellence, all while providing the best support in the industry.”

About Parlevel

Headquartered out of historic San Antonio, Texas; Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of Vending Management Solutions (VMS) for vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by a team of successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated team of customer and technical support to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment. For additional information, please visit: www.parlevelsystems.com.

Press Release

Press Release: Parlevel Systems Announces Agreements with Several Midwest Vending Operators to Deploy Cloud-Based VMS

San Antonio, TX, October 20, 2015 — Parlevel Systems (www.parlevelsystems.com), the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions (VMS) for vending operators and office coffee service (OCS) providers, announced it has reached agreements with Premier Vending of Skokie, Illinois, Capitol Vending, of Oxford, Iowa, and Snack Master of Ottawa, Kansas, to deploy its cloud-based VMS technology.

“Tight competition has forced vending and coffee service operators to find new ways to add efficiency and profitability to their operations,” said Luis Gonzalez, chief executive officer at Parlevel. “Our dynamic route management and forecasting prove to quickly deliver results for operators of any size. We look forward to working with Premier, Capitol, and Snack Master to help them strengthen their businesses, build their profitability, and stay competitive.”

According to Jenn Sundine at Capitol Vending, the Parlevel VMS is immediately delivering positive results. “From the outset, the daily forecasting over DEX capability has helped us reduce our routes nearly every day,” said Sundine. “The information provided through the Parlevel VMS is easy to interpret, and it is an invaluable tool to streamline our operations and improve the overall efficiency of the business.”

Parlevel’s VMS is a cloud-based vending and office coffee management solution that does not require the purchase or installation of specialized computer servers or extensive IT work. Operators can use a computer, tablet, or their smartphone to access and control the system from anywhere and at any time.

About Parlevel

Based in San Antonio, Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions for a number of vending industries, including vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated customer and technical support team to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment. For additional information, please visit: www.parlevelsystems.com.

Business Management, Inventory Management, Technology

Get the Most out of Your Vending Machine Products with Product Merchandising

The essence of any business comes down to what it is they sell. Vending is no different. The heart of most vending businesses lies in their products. Putting the right products in the right place is key to maximizing sales and more importantly; keeping the customer happy. However, how is it possible to know precisely what the right products are?

Keeping track of product performance can be tough, and finding high-selling vending machine products for a machine isn’t easy.  Using pen and paper to track machines sales can be difficult due to the sheer number of machines and the amount of products inside. As a result, vending operators can find themselves stocking products that aren’t selling which often lead to losing money thru spoilage. However, if product sales could be accurately tracked, it’d be obvious which products were worth stocking. When the right products are in the right machines, product sales can increase, product costs can decrease, and a vending operation can capture success far into the future.

Minimize Hefty Costs of Vending Machine Products

Finding the best products for customers is imperative for success in any operation. However, product costs can be very expensive. In fact, as reported by IBISWorld’s 2015 Industry Report, 52% of a vending operator’s revenue is spent on vending machine products.[1]

For a 3 route operator with $1 million in revenue, this can account for over $500,000 in costs annually. Often seen in the business world, high product expenditure is passed onto the customer through increased product prices, which can hurt overall sales and inhibit a company from success.

Best Selling Vending Machine Products

Vending Management System (VMS) can help decrease inventory costs instead of passing them onto the customer. A VMS tracks sales figures for every product in every machine and presents them in an easy-to-read format. Products shown at the machine level plan-o-gram are color-coded by sales performance, so it is easy to tell which products sell well and which products sell poorly.

A VMS also provides the insights to reduce or completely remove low selling products and replace them with higher sellers. The resulting product optimization can decrease product spoilage up to 30%. When this 30% reduction is applied to a 3 route operator with a 5% spoilage rate, it can account to over $75,000 in savings a year. Instead of wasting money on vending machine products that sell poorly or eventually spoil, money is smartly invested on products that fly out of the machine.

Drive Sales with Valuable Insights

Even if an operator invests in the right products, it can be difficult to know which machine will sell them the best. It can be incredibly frustrating to visit a machine and see rows and rows of products that are not selling. Products can be swapped in and out of the machine in an effort to jump start sales. However, which product would be the best substitute? With such a large variety of products in hundreds of machines, it is almost impossible to know for certain.

A VMS tracks product performance of every machine in real-time, so it is easy to keep track of sales. Even more, a VMS can actually recommend products to increase, decrease, or remove entirely. In addition, a list of the top 10 best and top 10 worst selling products is readily available, so it is easy to find a good substitute for a struggling product. With these helpful tools, product optimization easier than ever. When product merchandising is optimized, sales can jump as high as 15%. For a 3 route operator, that can amount to over $100,000 in extra sales per year.

Best Selling Vending Products

Successfully Prepare for the Future

We’ve covered how a VMS can optimize machines for current demand, but what about demand down the road? The right vending machine products today might not be the right ones tomorrow. Furthermore, customer preferences are changing more than ever – fresh food products are projected to generate more than 10% of industry revenue in the next year, and customer dietary habits project to move toward healthier foods.[1] That 10% isn’t a drop in the bucket either – fresh food will amount for $750 million of revenue next year alone. If a vending company wants to stay competitive, it is important to stay on top of evolving trends in the industry. However, how can operators stay ahead of the curve and achieve success in the future?

Testing new products is a great way to stay on top of evolving customer trends. Statistics show that the most successful vending operations provide a diverse offering of products to their customers.[1] The more diverse the offering, the better chance a customer has of finding something they want to buy. However, most of the time only large operations can afford to offer a variety of products to customers. After all, larger operations have more money to invest in a variety of vending machine products. Smaller operations, on the other hand, may not have enough capital to invest in many different products. However, there is a tool out there that levels the playing field.

A VMS can be instrumental when diversifying vending machine products. It can let an operator try out different products in different locations without large investment costs. Operators can access product sales data anytime, so there is little cost in trying out new products. The product is selling well after a week? Keep offering it. The product isn’t selling? Pull it. It is that simple. Now, anyone can reap the benefits of diversifying products and staying on top of changing customer preferences. With more products to choose from, customers’ satisfaction can skyrocket, and sales can boom. Because at the end of the day, a happy customer makes a happy vending operator.

[1] “Vending Machine Operators in the US: Market Research Report” IBISWorld, http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1113 , (February, 2015)

 

Business Management, Inventory Management, Technology

Powerful Vending Solutions that Can Help You Cut Costs and Increase Profits

A major challenge for any business owner is figuring out how to increase profits without increasing the current workload. A common solution is to grow revenue through expanding an operation, yet expansion can only go so far before it becomes unmanageable. A commonly used tactic is increasing prices to expand profit margin, yet the vending industry is notorious for only allowing incremental price increases before scaring prospective customers away from purchasing products. In vending there are limits to profit expansion with both of these commonly used methods, so vending operators need to seek out creative alternatives to increase profits each month.

Want to Maximize Profit? Try Minimizing Costs

Luckily, there are a variety of ways to help establish a mean & lean operation to increase revenue. Rather than stretching an operation too thin trying to expand a business, a simpler way to increase profit is to minimize unnecessary costs. Now which unnecessary cost can be cut and how will it affect day to day operations? Labor costs are a good place to start. According to the IBISWorld 2015 Industry Report, labor cost can account for 20% of total operational costs. For the average vending operation this can account for almost $60,000 per year in expenses, which almost equals the average cost spent per route per year according to Vending Market Watch’s 2015 Industry Report. A great starting point would be to enhance the efficiency of the time drivers spend servicing machines. According to Vending Market Watch, drivers spend an average of 30 mins servicing each machine with an average of 20 machines serviced in a single business day. If we were able to cut the time spent at each machine in half, drivers would only spend 15 minutes servicing a machine. This would allow for an additional 20 machines to be serviced every single work day. If more machines are serviced per day, fewer routes are needed to service the entire operation, which will also reduce the amount of drivers & trucks needed on staff. So how exactly are you able to service up to twice as many machines per day? Welcome to the world of Pre-kitting & Dynamic Routing.

Pre-kitting & Dynamic Routing are major cost-cutting vending solutions that can decrease pesky labor costs by giving drivers detailed reports. These reports help them deliver the right amount of product to the right machine at the right time.

Put Drivers in the Right Place with Dynamic Routing

How does a vending operator make sure the right products get into the right machines at the right time? Many operators utilize static routing, which puts route drivers on a pre-determined route that does not vary from week to week. With static routing, it is near impossible to see what machines are empty or need servicing without that dreaded call from an unhappy customer. Hitting a machine for servicing on a frequent, predictable basis is the best way to operate statically.  However, what if there was a way to see exactly how much inventory was left in a machine before you left the warehouse? What if an operator could factor in the weather, what time or days a location is closed, or the amount of cash to collect on a route? These features construct the basis of a Dynamic Routing  operation. With this information readily available through a Vending Management System, its easy to hit only the machines that needed servicing, while avoiding unnecessary stops at machines that are fully stocked or locations closed for holidays. But how exactly does a a VMS make this option available to operators?

Vending route VMS

An effective Vending Management System (VMS) uses current inventory levels as well as breakdown alerts to best determine the most cost effective route. In an easy-to-view screen, an operator has the ability to choose exactly what machines they want a driver to hit on his route based on real-time data. After selecting the desired machines to service, a VMS will actually recommend a route to take. Utilizing an easy to read Google Maps overlay, a VMS will show the most efficient route to take.

Dynamic routing can save a vending operator precious time on every route. Eventually, as more machines are serviced per route, unnecessary routes can be cut completely. Less routes means less money spent on trucks, driver salaries, wear and tear expenses, maintenance, and even insurance costs. Vending Market Watch projects that a route has an average yearly cost of $60,000. If dynamic routing leads to the consolidation of even one route, the cost-saving implications can be massive.

Efficiently Service Machines with Pre-Kitting

So drivers can get to each location more efficiently, yet is there a way to speed up the way they actually fill machines? With the commonly used static route procedure, route drivers take an initial ‘counting trip’ to each machine to see how much inventory is needed. Then, they walk back to the truck, grab the estimated needed inventory, and walk back up to the machine to fill it – 3 total trips for each machine. Pre-kitting, on the other hand, cuts this down to just one.

Pre-kitting vending solutions

So what exactly is pre-kitting? Simply put, pre-kitting is the process of preparing product in totes packed specifically for each vending machine ahead of time. Instead having a driver physically visit a machine to see how much inventory to stock, a VMS monitors exact inventory levels inside a machine in real-time. Inventory levels inside every machine across an entire operation can be viewed anytime from anywhere. Simply select which machines you want a driver to service on which route, and the VMS will provide a detailed list of products each machine on the route needs. No more guessing and no more leftover products, just the right amount of inventory every time.

Just how beneficial is pre-kitting? According to Vending Market Watch, companies that utilize pre-kitting can service up to 20% more machines per route. In turn, this lets operators consolidate 1 out of every 3 routes. For a 12-route operator, this can account for almost $240,000 in savings every single year. Pre-kitting can even decrease troublesome product spoilage by 25-30%. Overall, pre-kitting can save vending operators precious time and money, all while boosting their overall profits.

Powerful Vending Solutions at Work

Vending is an increasingly precise business that requires precise information. IBISWorld projects that the average operator only takes home 4.4% of their revenue as profit. When margins are thin, guesswork isn’t the best way to run an operation. With the insights from an effective VMS like Parlevel’s, it can be easy to decrease labor costs by visiting machines faster and servicing them more efficiently. An operator can have more time on their hands, more insight into their business, and ultimately more money in their pocket.

Press Release

Press Release: Parlevel to Attend NAVA Annual Meeting

Parlevel Systems (www.parlevelsystems.com), the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions (VMS) for vending operators and office coffee services (OCS) providers, will attend the Northwest Automatic Vending Association (NAVA) Annual Meeting from August 20 – August 21. 2015. The Annual Meeting will take place in the scenic Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. NAVA is an independent regional trade association of vending machine operators, suppliers, distributers, brokers, and manufacturers that promotes common interests, legislative oversight, and vending education to the vending and coffee service industries in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.

During the event, operators from various vending business will have the chance to network with fellow vending operators. NAVA also provide educational sessions that are designed to inform participants of the latest developments in technology, social media, and merchandising as they relate to the vending industry. Furthermore, legislative overviews for effected states will be presented and discussed amongst participants.

About Parlevel

Based in San Antonio, Parlevel Systems is the fastest growing provider of vending management solutions for a number of vending industries, including vending operators and coffee, tea, and water service providers. Founded by successful vending and technology professionals, Parlevel is dedicated to delivering powerful yet easy to use technology that provides operators with complete control and accountability of their business anywhere, anytime. In addition, Parlevel has a dedicated customer and technical support team to ensure seamless implementation and a transformative return on investment. For additional information, please visit: www.parlevelsystems.com.