Canadian Vending

Features Business Staffing
operator’s perspective: Cleanliness: It’s not rocket science.


April 1, 2008
By Lio Prataviera

Topics

When you think of advertising, you think of ads and commercials or
brochures and flyers. But in reality, everything you do in business is
advertising. And nothing advertises as well as cleanliness.

When you think of advertising, you think of ads and commercials or brochures and flyers. But in reality, everything you do in business is advertising. And nothing advertises as well as cleanliness.

Keeping your equipment clean is important on so many levels. Customers will receive the immediate impression that you are organized. In short, it makes it look like you’ve got your act together.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that consumers want, especially on a subconscious level, to know that the equipment – and, of course, the products they select – are being properly taken care of.

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Obviously, cleaning and servicing equipment is incredibly important, with more than half of equipment service time dedicated towards these basic tasks. Just about every machine service manual lists basic recommendations for maintaining the unit, with over half directly related to straightforward cleaning procedures. Some even list the recommended detergents or cleaning products best suited for maintaining that particular machine.

As for the money and security side of your operation, cleaning coin changers and acceptors is essential for obvious reasons; you wouldn’t run a grocery store with cashiers that refuse to accept money from every customer, would you? And machine door locks and latches will work reliably for the lifetime of the unit if they are simply cleaned and lubricated as required.

We all know too well that pop machines require a considerable amount of cleaning and servicing. Condensers
and evaporators operate much more efficiently when they are free of dust and grime, and illuminated panels are much more enticing to consumers when they receive a regular wipe. Touching up chips or scratches with a quick spot of paint takes no time at all and helps maintain the overall presentation.

But inside the machine counts as much as the exterior, particularly when leaking pop cans turn into sticky messes in the storage hopper and down the delivery chute. If left unattended, it becomes a magnet for all kinds of dirt, dust and even insects; not to mention an annoyance for consumers when they reach for a can and find it’s sticky.
 
Cleanliness relies on organization … it’s a lot of work and no one really has the time. But when I enter a location with my red bucket, rags and brushes to do some in-depth cleaning, it doesn’t take long to see the positive reaction from consumers. I’ve noticed the look on my customers’ faces; they love it because they feel somehow appreciated. Cleaning the machine makes them feel that you’re not taking their business for granted and are willing to make the effort to please them and co-operate in keeping their environment clean and pleasant. What’s more, time invested cleaning is exactly that: an investment in your business. It often translates into beneficial public relations time and is a valuable opportunity to get to know your customers better, create goodwill and wind up looking like a ‘star.’

In terms of just plain, good old-fashioned common sense, organized and regular cleaning procedures not only make you look good and increase sales and efficiency, but this preventive maintenance also reduces breakdowns resulting in lost sales and negative perceptions. It also limits the number of resulting repairs, service calls and the need for replacement parts. These savings go straight to your bottom line.

I let all my customers know that my equipment is wide open for inspection at any time; they know that they can call me and I will come and open it for them to inspect. But, because I keep things clean, none have ever felt the need to do so.

It’s not very important that you have the most modern equipment so long as it is kept neat and clean and operating in good, customer-friendly order. Most people can spot the difference anyway, especially subconsciously. Besides, even if you have the most modern and elaborate equipment on the market but it’s not very clean, who would want to use it?

Keeping your vehicle clean and presentable falls into the same category, as well as your clothes and personal grooming … these things all go hand in hand. My Grandmother always told me to keep my shoes clean, because others will notice.  She also said to look at other people’s shoes, and if their shoes are clean then it likely follows that their clothes must be clean, their homes must be clean, and so on. While not always true, of course, it’s still a good rule of thumb.

Cleanliness, on all levels of your business, is both basic and beneficial to your operations … it really isn’t rocket
science.  o

Lio Prataviera is the general manager of Real Refreshments, a full-service snack and refreshment vending company.  For questions or comments about this article, please call 1-888-599-2228, ext. 241 or e-mail vending@annexweb.com.