Canadian Vending

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Innovative Insights: Adaptation

Adaptation


April 29, 2008
By David Murphy

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To answer the first question to my readers: no, I have not retired. 
The reason I stopped doing my column in your favourite magazine was
that it was time to focus on different facets of my life. Like many of
us the within this profession of vending and office coffee, my small
business has changed dramatically. The most significant reason over the
last 10 years has been the loss of a dozen industries to larger
markets, combined with the downsizing of existing ones.

To answer the first question to my readers: no, I have not retired.  The reason I stopped doing my column in your favourite magazine was that it was time to focus on different facets of my life. Like many of us the within this profession of vending and office coffee, my small business has changed dramatically. The most significant reason over the last 10 years has been the loss of a dozen industries to larger markets, combined with the downsizing of existing ones.

Sound familiar?

Add to this, a market shift in the buying habits of my present customers. This change resulted in a 45 per cent decrease in sales volume. When there were double the routes, it was easy to keep busy just managing, but now three quarters of my day is on actual route sales. No negatives here. At 59, I honestly admit I feel good being back on the road.

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But enough talk about me. Let’s focus on our profession to get a better understanding of the road ahead.
Over the last 10 years, there has not been a person, small business or large corporation that hasn’t changed or restructured one or more times in order to remain progressively successful. This can be both personal, but it can also be a small business focusing on changing product lines.

How about those multinationals – like Tim Hortons changing the look of their already successful stores inside and out? Don’t worry about age, if Joe Gibbs can come back to coach the Washington Red Skins or Marv Levy, at 80, can be general manager of the Buffalo Bills, and if Dave Murphy can do a route at 59, there is hope for everyone. In these times you need to not only have a vision, but also make changes and adapt in small ways. Remember: “Success Is High-Touch, Not High-Tech.”

Over the last 10 to 15 years, I have been outspoken about the changes in a couple of associations to which my own company is a member. This ruffled a few feathers, but I am not here to do that. I’m just offering an idea to work toward. A lot of times, change can be very unpopular.

As I stated above, over the last decade every successful person or company has had to make one or more dramatic changes. It is time for the Office Coffee Service & Vending Association along with the Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association to look toward each other. No company, person, or association can be effective on an island. The reason I make this statement is two-fold. In my consulting business I hear the need for changes because not everyone likes to speak out like myself.

The second reason is that I know we are going to have one the best CAMA shows in years. Spring is a good time to start looking for a fresh outlook and bring like-minded individuals together under a positive format. Having not told my wife of this, I will offer my time as chairperson to look at a serious attempt to bring about a much needed progressive voice for our profession, both office coffee and vending.

To all the readers of the magazine, take time to look at this year’s CAMA trade show, April 7-8 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Lorna and her committee have given a lot of volunteer time ensuring a very successful venue. I had a chance to tour the Doubletree, the host hotel, and every room has a view of the Falls. This cannot only be a great family weekend, but also a time to generate a new focus on your profession.

I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends in Niagara.

“Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror,” Book of Motivation. o

Dave Murphy has been in the vending and coffee service industry for over 30 years. He also acts as an industry consultant. More information can be obtained through www.davidmuphyconsulting.com.