For most operators, the best vending machine software will be one of the many vending management systems (VMS) on the market. Although there are companies that still specialise in specific areas of vending operations (such as contactless payment solutions and route planners, etc.), the trend is towards all-inclusive management suites.
These are often affordable, flexible and user-friendly, suitable for operators of any size.
This is largely due to advances in cloud and mobile technology, enabling advanced telemetry and centralised digital management.
Every VMS is different, but they usually include software that covers at least the following four areas:
- Logistics. Including route planning and delivery management.
- Strategy. For example, profit and loss information broken down by machine and area. This helps owners to make decisions about pricing and machine siting.
- Telemetry. Remote input and extraction of data, including payment processing.
- Operations. Pricing, inventory management, cash accounting, etc. Some VMS software allows end-users to place orders with their vending supplier.
Most big vending software firms will offer one or more VMS packages, and there are companies that have set up solely in the VMS niche.
Some examples that can provide VMS services to the UK market include SB Software and VendSoft. They work with telemetry providers such as Nayax, 365 Retail Markets, Vianet and Crane. This doesn’t necessarily mean we are recommending these brands, only that they are well-known industry names that may suit your needs.
Some vending machine manufacturers (e.g. Seaga) have developed proprietary VMS technology. This can be ideal if you work with just one brand. However, a generic VMS is likely to be better if you need to manage vending machines built by different manufacturers.
Look for software that is specified as VDI-Compliant. This means that the software has been tested by the NAMA VDI task force and meets their standards for integration.
Since VMS software is cloud-based, staff can log in to the system from wherever they are. The best will have mobile apps, helping staff to manage machines while working in the field, further streamlining operations. As 5G becomes more widely available, the ability for VMS users to process data while on location will only grow.
Making the right decision for your business
Another of the benefits of cloud-based VMS software, is that there is minimal capital expenditure involved. In common with other types of software-as-a-service (SaaS), you can theoretically switch between VMS providers until you find the best vending machine software for your business.
Of course, how easy it is to do this will depend on the supplier and whether they offer a free trial or no-penalty cancellation. If you are unsure about a vending management solution, it is best not to lock yourself into a long-term contract.
Looking for a tough, flexible and stylish vending surround?
One thing your chosen vending management system will be unable to do is optimise how your machines look to the customer. Nor will it determine how long your machines last or whether they will fit into a customer’s work or catering space. That’s where Nebrak comes in.
From initial concept to final build, we provide a comprehensive design and installation service suitable for any commercial vending operation.
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