Recession Has Helped Push Vendors To Invest In The Future

May 26, 2010

Its a clich to say that an industry, any industry, is at a crossroad. But Ill risk using this clich, because this describes where the vending industry is at.

The recession has caused more vending operators to consider making serious investments in their businesses than at any time in recent history.

The best news operators have had to report recently is that the loss in sales has stopped and begun to recover slightly. Some locations have begun rehiring. Consumers in general are not freaking out about losing their jobs if they havent already, and have begun spending a little more freely.

During the recession, operators realized the only way to remain profitable was to operate more efficiently. In many cases, this involved reducing payroll.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) 2010 profit report, which summarizes 2009 financial performance, indicates that operators posted a stronger bottom line in 2009 than the previous year even though sales declined even more in 2009 than 2008. This was mainly due to the fact that operators took action in 2008 to improve profitability.

The NAMA report further notes that operators return on assets, which it identifies as the most important financial indicator, was acceptable in light of the economy in 2009. It notes that firms were able to gain control of their operations in a way not solely dependent on sales growth.

Most operators realize that sales probably arent going to recover in a big way any time soon. Many also realized the only way to improve profitability is to use technology.

Our magazines research indicates more operators are installing DEX handhelds. More are also investing in remote machine monitoring.

DEX has been around for years, and line item tracking gives operators a way to make service schedules more efficient. It also gives them a way to better track individual product sales.

Open cashless vending has also been around for a while, and more operators are showing interest in it more than ever. The hardware has improved, and the providers have more field experience to use in assisting operators with open cashless. This is happening at a fortuitous time, since retail commerce in general is moving to cashless.

It sounds like a clich to say the future belongs to the leaders. But at the present time, the clich applies to the vending industry.

This is an exciting time to be in vending.