Meskin’s telemetry how-to

March 11, 2015

Scott Meskin, president of Black Tie Services Inc. in Baltimore, MD, believes telemetry pays for itself through improvements in product inventory, sales and scheduling. Using the sales data it provides to merchandise the vending machine provides returns over and above the investment. He shares his views on some common questions operators new to telemetry ask:  

How many days can I go between services?

  • Aim to collect $100 to $150 dollars each visit
  • Look at all machines at a location — If a snack machine needs service, check if the inventory levels of the drink machine will hold until the snack vender’s next service. If not, the drink machine may need filling even though it only has $50 inside.
  • Aim for the middle — Maximize collections without hurting customer satisfaction by balancing par levels and sellouts

How can I use data for merchandising?

  • Look at products by location — Your bottom seller should be at least 20 percent of your top seller. If sales of the top sellers are causing you to fill the machine often and the average collection is below $100, consider removing the slowest items and doubling up on the best sellers.
  • Look monthly at turns per item per location — High turners in a single machine could be sleeper items that will sell well in other locations.
  • Don’t compare healthy items to your top selling traditional items — Remember to compare them to the average selling traditional items.
  • Create variety in transient accounts — B&I accounts have set planograms so daily consumers can count on their favorite snacks. We tend to change only the slowest movers to keep things new/gain sales. In transient locations, we change offerings more often including new and higher priced items since the consumers change on a daily basis.
  • Streamline the warehouse — I look at how many machines I’m selling an item in and I make decisions monthly as to keep that item and increase the amount of machines we sell it in or cut it completely.

 Will my telemetry device and VMS work together?

  • If you’re new to telemetry, try a single provider — I started telemetry before the option of telemetry and VMS being an all-in-one system. If I made the decision today, I would prefer an all in one solution. The interfacing between multiple systems is possible, but can cause extra steps which always leads to human error.