Canadian Vending

Features Associations Business
CAMA Connection: March/April 2009

Fighting To Be A Customer


April 30, 2009
By Kim Lockie

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Am I the only vending operator who is finding that we now have to fight to become a customer?

Am I the only vending operator who is finding that we now have to fight to become a customer?

Gone are the days of relationship building and suppliers seem to be increasingly taking the position “this is the way it is.” To add to this, a high percentage of suppliers are multinational firms, which means vending operators may be perceived as a thorn in the side for the small volume of business that they generate.
 
While this is only my opinion, I have heard that Canada may be around eight per cent of the North American market. Then vending is only about three per cent of the market in Canada, so in this scenario we are about .25 of one per cent in North America.

Think of your small company and how much you make up of the entire vending market of .25 of one per cent in North America. Perhaps equate this to owning 100 machines and having one machine that has one row in that single machine. It needs to be serviced, but the other 2,400 rows will be as busy and also demanding attention.

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Again, you are about one item on one coil in the whole picture. How often are you going to get to that one row when you are one person and you have another 2,400 that require attention, let alone one selection?

To spend too much time on such a small segment would not make good business sense.
 
In this regard, I think we need to look out for ourselves and do what is right for our own businesses. I suggest we look at local suppliers that are Canadian-owned and see if we can do business with them. There are many in Canada that would love to have your business and will still honour what they say they will do. They care if you survive or not as they, in turn, survive on your business.

We need to look close to home and do what we can to work with the people that will work with us. In the States, they are saying to support your local community and I think that is awesome advice to follow. So, maybe, check out local and Canadian suppliers of products and see if this would be a win-win relationship for both you and the supplier.

We will, of course, also continue to work with multinationals, many of which have invested a great deal in product that we are proud to carry – let’s just ensure that we consider all options when positioning our business in the vending industry in Canada.

Kim Lockie, President
Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association
Serving the professional vending & office coffee retailers of Canada

Au service des détaillants professionnels de l’auto-distribution et de la pause-café du Canada


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