Technology Allows California Operation To Double Size In Five Years Without More Staff

Paul Cueman3D Vending, a four-person vending operation in Riverside, Calif., has been able to double its size in the last five years without adding more staff, thanks in large measure to route pre-kitting supported by remote machine monitoring.

Paul Cueman, owner, uses Vagabond’s VMS solution and is an early adopter of Vagabond’s vīv mobile payment option that allows consumers to scroll through a menu on their smartphones, make a purchase using a chosen app and have the product delivered without ever touching the machine.

After launching the business in 2009, Cueman began using Vagabond’s VMS in 2014.

“I would not have been able to expand without a monitoring system and I wouldn’t have been able to expand as fast without the help of Vagabond,” he said.

The company was servicing no more than 40 locations when Cueman decided to invest in the Vagabond system in 2014. He became familiar with the system through another operator who was using it.

About 80 percent of the company’s machines at the time were DEX enabled, although most did not have credit card readers.

“The minute we used it, I implemented it in as many places as I could,” Cueman said.

“They have an app. That’s what really set Vagabond apart,” he said. “It’s been a blessing.” The app has made it easy to manage inventory using tablets and smartphones.

The Vagabond telemeter made it possible to monitor machines in close to real time, he said. The system polled the telemeters every six seconds, enabling Cueman to update his menus based on location needs.

The company was able to pre-kit locations more accurately due to the more timely reporting. Most locations are serviced every two weeks.

“When the monitoring is correct, you can get so much more done pre-kit than you can ‘curbsiding,’” he said. The company provides its drivers tablets that list the pre-kitted products needed for each location.

The VMS has allowed the company to pre-kit its deliveries daily in its warehouse.

Shortly after implementing the Vagabond software, the company introduced more credit card readers.

Each of the company’s four routes has a few locations that are not prekitted. The non-prekitted product is for locations with machines that do not have telemeters, which includes two of his three cold food machines.

“I still take smaller locations around my big ones,” Cueman said. The driver selects product in the truck that has not been pre-kitted for these locations.

“I just haven’t found a great solution for some of my smaller locations that we don’t feel warrant having a credit card reader,” he said.

“We don’t want to invest a bunch of money into an account that’s only going to bring me $40 a week,” he said “I like those $40 a week accounts because being in Southern California, a very saturated market, we appreciate those small ones because they’re next to our big ones.”

His goal, however, is to be pre-kitting all of his product.

Cueman does not have any hot beverage machines – all coffee is provided from his office coffee service.

Cueman runs the software’s product efficiency reports every three months to make sure there is no outdated product in the machines.

“We’re making sure the machine stays 60 percent full,” he said.

The company does around $150,000 in net yearly revenue.

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By Jeff Adair, Editor

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