Investing in plastic totes with internal dividers allows drivers to transport product with damaging it as well as present a more professional appearance.
Photo credit: A dolly that can convert to a platform is ideal and can reduce workman compensation claims.
In the vending business, route trucks are the lifeline of the company. Without a good running truck, the accounts can’t be serviced and ultimately the machine goes empty, operators lose sales and may even lose an impatient account. This we all understand, but how about the inside of the truck? Is it clean, are products placed in an orderly fashion? Think about this scenario — drivers are getting ready to service an account and the inside of the truck is visible to a passersby. Do customers see order or chaos?
The truck should be carefully laid out with at least two shelves on each side for product, while saving the floor space underneath for the heaviest product, cases of soda. The driver needs to keep the truck orderly and clean throughout the day, breaking down empty boxes with a cardboard cutter and placing the trash in a box, preferably a large empty cup box. Another important item is where the collected money is kept during the day. If there is no safe on the truck, invest in one. A safe will be money well spent, keeping collections locked up and out of view from the passersby. Make sure the safe is bolted to the floor of the truck away from where product is brought in and out. For instance, when servicing out of the back of the truck, the safe should be in the front, and vise-versa.
Product transport tips
Now let’s look at how product is brought to customers. Do drivers use an old candy box, throwing in all the products they think they will need, all jumbled together? Remember they are dealing in food and even though it’s pre-packaged, they still need to treat it as food. A crumpled bag of chips or a smashed pastry becomes very unappealing when placed in the machine. Make the point that if they wouldn’t buy an item based on how it looks then neither will their customers. I would suggest that the operator make a small investment into durable, stackable plastic boxes with dividers. This will make everything easier to load and easier to pick up and place into the machine. And of course, the added benefit is how clean and organized this looks to the customer when the driver rolls in three or four stacked boxes with the product all separated and in good shape.
Notice that I said, “rolls in.” That is because I’m assuming that the driver is using a dolly to bring product into the accounts. Every truck should have a dolly assigned to it, what type is up to the operator, but I would recommend one that drivers can convert to a platform when they need to bring both snacks and soda to the account, allowing them to make one trip. Don’t let the cost of a good dolly deter the purchase, instead consider how much a workman’s comp claim for an injured back will cost in increased insurance premiums.
Vehicles are an essential tool to the vending operation. Keeping them professional looking and organized for fast efficient service is a key strategy to business success.
About the Author
Dominic Finelli is a 43-year veteran vending operator in the Washington D.C market and recognized industry professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.