Operator Confidence Index: Vending Closes Out The Year At 130.02

Jan. 30, 2015

Anyone dismissing the viability of the vending, micro market and OCS industry will be disappointed. As we closed 2014, the operator confidence index, or OCI, came in at 130.02. That is a slight drop from the quarter before, but in line with what the index levels have been for the past year.

Operators were slightly more anxious about their future in October. Worries about the effects of taxes, healthcare costs and the future of oil pushed the OCI number down more than 4 percent to 128.67.  However, November and December quickly rebounded.

Part of the recovery was due to dropping gas prices, which not only aided operators, but also helped the bottom line of locations as well as end users.

Once again, a large number of operators commented on the status of micro markets within their organizations. Some remain on the sidelines, but many veterans are adding the unattended retail stores as well as reporting locations inquiring about them. A Georgia operator who added his first micro market in December 2014 reported that not long after, a surprise call came from a location asking if he offered that very service. “As a result we will get the account,” he said. Micro market sales in many areas are growing faster than OCS and even surpassing vending sales.

What keeps the OCI relatively flat is little change in the vending area of business. An Illinois operator said it best - In vending, a new account comes in, another is removed. It’s running flat. Price is still a challenge for operators, especially with the cost of goods continuing to increase. Reports of the improving economy and new business models are reasons to be hopeful in 2015.

For VMW TV, this is Emily Refermat.