Forecasting has allowed Riemann to take control of, and automate, a number of key data points that previously were controlled by route drivers – namely item level tracking. Since removing driver control of the data, D&R has achieved a .008 over/short percentage. "I brought our drivers in and showed them how we were using the software, said Riemann. "After that, we never really had issues with overs/shorts. The drivers understood that we were tracking the data closely and could account for every sale from every machine."
The system also helps with preventive maintenance. Riemann runs a report each morning that tells him the last time someone inserted a dollar bill into each machine. If a machine hasn't collected any bills the previous day, he arranges for that machine to be serviced as soon as possible, preventing downtime, lost sales and frustrated consumers.
"Our machines are always full and almost always working properly, so they are capable of making the sale whenever consumers want to purchase snacks," he said. In fact, although the U.S. average is 17 percent sold down (from last visit) at time of replenishment service, D&R now approaches 50 percent sold down at time of replenishment.
By using telemetry, D&R is hoping to achieve the same level of service for its remaining machines, which are in more transient locations, such as airports, military bases, etc. Those machines are more difficult to manage due to their unpredictable usage patterns.
"Having remote access to real-time data will take our operation to the next level," said Riemann. "Telemetry technology has the potential to help us cut more routes, find more ways to be efficient and continue increasing our profitability. I really don't see how a vending operator will survive in the future if they don't do some level of advanced forecasting and pre-kitting."