Canadian Vending

Insights and Advice: Fall 2013

Preparing for polymer - Will you be ready for the new $5 and $10 polymer bills on Nov. 1?

September 24, 2013
By Kim Lockie

If you have read any of my articles, you know that one of the main themes in them is change.

If you have read any of my articles, you know that one of the main themes in them is change. Once again we have two bank notes, the $5 and $10 polymer bills, that are changing. It will have a large impact on our business as we have to reprogram our bill acceptors … once again.

After the new $20 bill was launched without much notice, CAMA spoke with the Bank of Canada on several occasions to make sure these new bills were integrated into the general public with little or no interruption. In our discussions, we agreed that a six-month leeway would be acceptable to our industry. It is a tight schedule, but the timeline has to be reasonable for both parties involved. The people in charge of the bill acceptor were provided with the new bills in May, which means the Bank of Canada can launch the new bills this November. My advice to all operators is to not delay in making sure your machines are ready for the change, and ready for the change on time. These new bills are flooded into the market on release date, and you can bet that people will be trying to use these new polymer bills to pay for items in your machines. And if you’re not ready on time, what will that say about your customer service to your cusomters?

On that note, another suggestion I can make, based on experience, is that if you have programmers you should send them directly to the manufacturer rather than your machine supplier. The machine supplier doesn’t receive any compensation for loading the programmers, and it will save one step in getting the programmers back quickly to get the vending machines updated on time. If you’re like me, and have many different coin mechanisms, then you will have to take that extra step and figure out which manufacturer can get the programmers back the fastest in order to get this part of the process completed. My guess is that all the coin manufacturers will complete this within a matter of days of one another.


I also trust that the manufacturers, being our partners, will do their best to get the programming completed without any bugs so that we have adequate time to program our machines before Nov. 1 rolls in. Unfortunately, we are relying on people from the U.S. who work on many projects, and ours is just another project on a long list of things to do.

As a group, if we can contact our suppliers and encourage them to help us out to give us the maximum time to get our programming out, we may get more time to actually program our machines than a month or so. Many voices are better than one. In the past, these coin mechanism manufacturers have been great partners in each and every one of our businesses, and I know they will continue to be our partners with this project and the many more that I am sure we will have in the future.

I hope to see you all at the CAMA show in Vancouver from Oct. 6 to 8. The show sounds like a big venue, and features some new booths. It is always a great place to network, visit with fellow operators and see our suppliers face to face. Come on out and enjoy: I am sure it will be an awesome time.

Kim Lockie is the owner of McMurray Coin Machines in Fort McMurray, Alta., and is the past president of CAMA and this year’s Don Storey award winner.

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