Companies in virtually every industry are investing in sophisticated software and other technology tools with the intent to drive profitable growth. Many companies, however, continue to struggle to manage processes and costs effectively due to the array of disconnected systems employed to manage various functions, thus causing process bottlenecks and compromising employee productivity. An integrated business software solution — one designed to effectively manage multiple business functions using the same solution interface — can enable these companies to overcome the barriers that previously were holding them back from taking their business to the next level of profitable growth.
From a full line vending perspective, in the quest to drive top and bottom line revenue, many operators have increasingly focused on office coffee service opportunities due to the low barrier of entry along with the potential to leverage existing clients and resources. Upwards of 50 percent of full line vending operators today earn up to 10 percent more of their revenue from invoiced sales such as those provided by OCS. And, as testament to the growing importance of OCS to a FLVO's balance sheet, Automatic Merchandiser reports in this year’s “State of the Coffee Service Industry Report” that OCS sales have increased a full 5 percentage points to $4.33 billion, a record high in the last 10 years. Oftentimes, however, the full measure of financial benefit provided by these sales is compromised due to the use of disparate software systems like Quickbooks and even spreadsheets to manage the opportunities, inventory, pricing, order management and fulfillment, accounts receivables and customer support associated with this increasingly important revenue stream.
Operators utilizing disconnected or poorly developed vending and OCS business management systems can find themselves limited when handling daily requirements effectively and that may hold them back from scaling efficiently over the long term. This lack of integration inhibits flexibility and productivity and ultimately slows down the company's ability to grow profitably.
The advantages of an integrated system can yield significant cost savings and enhanced productivity, such as:
•Process efficiency across the business: multiple key processes typically encountered in daily operations, such as order management, fulfillment, inventory and warehouse management, invoicing and cash management, and financial consolidation can be streamlined and simplified using an integrated solution.
•Improved business intelligence and decision making: when information can be accessed in a unified fashion almost instantly across a range of revenue streams, timely and better informed decisions are possible.
•Reduced IT time and cost savings: with IT no longer having to procure, install, and maintain multiple systems as well as the various integrations between them, a significant reduction in operational costs can be realized.
•Accelerated growth: with an integrated software system, expansion to multiple locations and additional sales channels can be accomplished a lot faster. Companies can also up-sell and cross-sell more efficiently to existing clients because of the improved visibility they obtain.
When planning future growth opportunities and strategies, it has become increasingly necessary to consider the capability of the technology tools and partners to manage not only current but potential future needs in that strategic evaluation of performance objectives.