No time for Plane Spotting at Manchester Vending

At Manchester Vending, they tell a rather unkind story about John Broderick Senior. Apparently, when the company was relocating to its smart Head Office near Manchester airport, he ‘pulled rank’. There was never going to be a sweepstake to decide which member of the team would get to sit at the desk that commanded the best view of low-flying air traffic…

Put this to him and you’ll get a wry smile, which betrays the possibility that there may be more than just a crumb of truth in the story. The irony, though, is that, these days, John Snr. spends so much time in the control room that he hardly ever gets to enjoy the fruits of his seniority.

Wait a minute: ‘The Control Room’, what’s that all about?

‘Control Room’ may conjure images of the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, but it’s the only name that suits Manchester Vending’s nerve centre. On one wall, two giant HD screens, sixty inches apiece, demand your attention.

Manchester Vending uses Vendman technology to control every element of its business, so John Snr. is never alone in the Control Room. The data on the screens changes constantly, reflecting the real-time performance of the business. Together with Kelly, Donna and Danny, John Snr. keeps a constant watch over the entire operation, picking up trends, anomalies; route management data and all manner of other statistical information, enabling the operation to run as ‘lean and mean’ as it can, whilst constantly improving the high levels of service that Manchester Vending’s customers have come to expect.

Manchester Vending, with its award winning ‘Broderick’s’ coffee shop brand (that has proved such a hit at the airport’s Terminal 2), has a unique relationship with Vendman, inasmuch as John Broderick’s company was the first to place an order with Vendman, then a fledgling business with big ideas, but no track record.

Since ‘Day One’, the two Greater Manchester companies have worked together very closely. Indeed, many of the developments introduced by Vendman over the years have emerged as the direct result of John Broderick’s professional input. Daniel Hamby, Vendman’s Sales Director, is keen to acknowledge the contribution of his longest standing customer. ‘John grasped the concept immediately and he recognised the potential. For instance, in the very early days he told us ‘the system is great but it’d be even better if it also covered cash handling’, so that’s the way we went. Our relationship with Manchester Vending has enabled us to get a ‘view from the coal face’ that has enabled us to make continual improvements to our systems and software’, he said.

Asked to rank the benefits incumbent in Vendman vending controls, John’s reply is something of a surprise. ‘It’s like the Old Days again’, he says enigmatically, before explaining: ‘this company was built on customer service. By that I mean that the MD, me in those days, would be in contact with customers on a day-to-day basis. The thing is, as the company got bigger, especially when we passed the £2m turnover mark, I was spending so much time chasing round fighting fires that I could go weeks without spending time with the most important people in this business – the customers.

‘The best thing about our Vendman management system is that it gives us back the time that we’d lost to administrative issues and the mechanics of management. Jobs that might have taken days can now be accomplished with the click of a mouse and that lets us spend more time in customers facing roles, and that, I reckon, is the secret of our success.’

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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