Sustainability has been another customer hot button for Coca-Cola Vending.
Recycling has proven very popular with many accounts and is part of a multi-faceted sustainability initiative the company offers to customers. “Our carbon footprint is very important,” Hemp explained.
Coca-Cola Vending offers 5-foot high containers shaped like a Coke bottle for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. “While delivering to vending machines, our drivers pick up the bagged used bottles and cans, bring them back, then they go to a recycling center,” Hemp said. “This is something the competitors do not do.”
Energy efficiency is another part of the sustainability program.
The company has been one of the more aggressive vending operations to offer VendingMiser energy saving devices from USA Technologies. Over the last seven years, Hemp estimates the company has installed up to 300 VendingMisers in cold drink machines. The VendingMiser is an effective selling tool, he noted. There is no cost to the customer.
The company has also been buying machines with LED lights, which last longer than fluorescent lights.
Hot drink machine shows promise
Hemp is also excited about the Seattle’s Best Coffee machine. “Seattle’s Best Coffee is well known in the Pacific Northwest,” he noted. They tested one machine with a card reader, and the machine did twice the sales of a typical hot beverage machine.
The Seattle’s Best machine has a price point as high as $2.75 for a 16-ounce cup. Hemp plans to order more of these machines. “I think this is going to help revive vended coffee,” he said.
On the OCS side, he has found the Tully’s and Starbucks fractional packs good additions to the Folgers, Maxwell House and Gavina fractional packs.
The resources of the bottling operation have been helpful to the vending company’s ability to invest in technology and to offer recycling. The bottling operation has over 120 employees, nearly four times as many as the vending operation.
For special events, he provides customers with postmix fountain machines for free.
Bottling arm offers synergies
The beverage bottling operation provides some key synergies to the vending operation. The companies share warehouse space, office space and repair space. They also share repair technicians and office staff.
There is also a key marketing synergy; Hemp always knows what products the bottling side is promoting.
A few years ago, he began using Powerpoint, which he finds does effective presentations for vending proposals. When pitching a new account, he takes a picture of the existing vending bank, then does a mock up of how the bank would look with his machines.
There are also better benefits and career opportunities that a vending company of similar size might not be able to offer.
Hemp is optimistic about the future. The agriculture industry has done well for the last two years.
The customers’ acceptance of cashless readers makes him more enthusiastic, and the response to the company’s healthy eating and sustainability programs has also encouraged him.
“Great employees and great leadership from our management helps us to succeed,” Hemp said. “I’m lucky to be with such a group.”