John Ward and Ali Sheehan

Scobie McIntosh: The Key Word In The Crisis Is ‘Proactive’.

Proactive was the word that stood out when Planet Vending hooked up with Mark Stevens, Sales Director at Scobie McIntosh. Like most of us, Mark is working from home and making abundant use of everybody’s new Best Friend – Zoom – to keep the wheels of business turning; albeit much more slowly than is normally the case.

Mark Stevens

‘It’s a bloody tough place we’re all in; it’s relentless’, he says candidly. ‘Although our business, like every other, is greatly reduced, the pace is still gruelling as we work non-stop to identify ways we can be proactive in order to serve our customers in the best way possible.’

Scobie McIntosh is an immense business, maintaining and managing around 80,000 machines across the UK, Ireland and Mainland Europe. The company is diverse and made up of a Vending equipment maintenance business, a catering equipment maintenance business, an equipment refurbishment business and Scobie Retail Services, a shop-fitting operation in collaboration with a number supermarkets.

However, it’s from the Smallfield facility – a ‘from scratch’ artisan bakery – that Scobie McIntosh’s generous support of the NHS has emanated. ‘We’re opening up the bakery once a week specifically to produce loaves, rolls and scones for the front line health care professionals at the local NHS hospital in Redhill’, Mark says. ‘It’s been received really well.’

Opening the bakery is not as straightforward as it sounds, mind you: the last run was supervised by one of the company’s National Account Managers, John Ward, who – because of social distancing – roped in his wife and daughter to help with preparation, which was ‘a great success’.

Meanwhile, the company has been working closely with retailers Lidl, Costco, Morrison’s, Tesco LRS and Spar, as the focus on the High Street turns to the creation of ‘a new normal’ as restrictions gradually ease.

Dad and daughter get to work

‘For instance, we’ve been manufacturing sneeze screens for a couple of national retailers that are being installed at checkouts and customers service desks’, Mark said. ‘Again, it’s a proactive process: we take a concept to our customers and then work with them to create a bespoke solution that addresses their own unique needs. It’s complicated; involving three separate supply chains, with the hub of our activity being our manufacturing centre at Ashton-Under-Lyne.


‘We’ve used the power of IT to run our Operations Centre remotely – so when a service call is received it’s answered by somebody at home. We’re trying to ensure that it’s ‘business as usual’ from our customers’ point of view’, Mark added.

Scobie McIntosh has also been proactive in using the lock-down to carry out preventative maintenance work for certain customers. ‘While it’s quiet, we have easier access to their sites so a day time visit is not disruptive.’

It’s encouraging to hear of another company in our industry that has been able to adapt to the coronavirus situation in such a proactive way so that, when the crisis subsides, they can address the ‘new normal’ with their reputation enhanced.

More on Scobie McIntosh on Planet Vending HERE




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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