Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the power of outsourcing, as felt by a vending machine operator

Standing in the break room warming up my lunch, I noticed a mid-aged man was replenishing the vending machine. To break the ice, I said something like, "I heard operating vending machines is a pretty profitable business." He smiled, nodded, then shook his head. Here is what he said,
  • He has operated vending machines for over twenty years here in Atlanta, GA
  • His business hires four employees and runs over 100 vending machines all over town.
  • Blue-collar workers are 'good customers', in that they eat anything everything you put in the machine, w/o complaints. nice & courteous. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the ladies in the offices, who complains about anything everything. To put the consumption rate quantitatively, thirty blue-collar workers consume the same a week as one hundred office workers for a month.
  • Due to all the outsourcing of blue-collar works and white-collar work, the need for vending machine had stayed the same if not shrunk.
  • Competition to operate them in office buildings are intense. Too many operators. It takes a good sales person with good pricing/service/incentives/suave talking to win new accounts, after a lot of cold calls. These accounts most likely are converts instead of brand-new accounts.
  • It doesn't take much to lose an existing account, once the facility manager or other self-elected vending machine manager changes. Your good service/good will instilled to the leaving management is all gone. It is a victimless victory for the latter to make a mark, to say services has been improved for the better.

1 comment:

Silver Streak said...

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More vending machine information