Technology Gives Vending Field Tests More Credibility

I recently received an update on a field test on using higher priced snacks in vending machines. The test was conducted by an industry consultant and sponsored by a major product manufacturer.When the consultant first told me about the test, I was skeptical, seeing that it was sponsored by a product manufacturer. How valid could a test be if an interested party is sponsoring it?I suspected the product manufacturer simply wanted to use the test for marketing purposes.This has happened in the past.But the test was different.There were a lot of products tested, and not all of them were successful.Automatic Merchandiser will be presenting the results of this test in an upcoming article. The results will challenge many operators assumptions about product price ceilings.It is natural to suspect a test that is sponsored by an interested party. But in this case, results were measured with technology-based precision, something that has not been possible until recently.The reason the test is different is that today, there are enough operators using DEX reporting that it is possible to get credible results. The DEX-based reports allow an operator to measure performance accurately.The consultant told me that DEX has revolutionized the way vending operators can do business and increase profitability by cash reconciliation, product merchandising and route efficiency. For these things to happen, the consultant told me that DEX-based line item data must be collected at the machine level.The conversation confirmed some conclusions that our magazines staff made during a recent planning meeting, when we created the theme, Vending Reinvented, for a series of feature articles this year.The premise of the Vending Reinvented series is that technology is changing the way operators do things, everything from the servicing of machines in the field to the organization of the warehouse and the designing of machine planograms.An article in the March issue, Vending Reinvented part 2: Technology based reports are vital to increasing profits, summarizes some of the key reports operators are usingVending is being reinvented. These are exciting times for our industry.