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Issue Date: Vol. 48, No. 9, September 2008, Posted On: 9/15/2008


NCV Expands Seed Telemetry Deployment In SF Bay Area


Tim Sanford
Editor@vendingtimes.net

BERKELEY, CA — Cantaloupe Systems reports that North County Vending (Vista, CA) is expanding its deployment of Cantaloupe’s Seed wireless monitoring system throughout its San Francisco Bay-area branch operation.

According to Cantaloupe, NCV tested the system on four adjacent routes, each with a different vending environment, in the same geographic area. This trial involved a total of 600 machines. It permitted the elimination of one truck, and demonstrated that Seed integrates with NCV’s existing management software.

The operating company expects that the full Bay Area deployment will enable it to take three more trucks off the road. When the installation is complete, the Bay Area branch will serve as a model for Seed implementation in NCV’s other branches.

NCV president John Sowell said that the Seed installation has enhanced the company’s ability to monitor and benchmark its vending business, helping to drive substantial improvement in operating results. “Now we can manage the business for profitability with far greater accuracy and focus,” he explained.

“We knew we were over servicing, but never knew how much until we implemented Seed,” Sowell added.

Seed is an automated route and merchandising management tool that gathers data from machines throughout the day and transmits it to a central computer. By analyzing machine inventory and cash levels, and taking geographic factors into account, Seed can generate optimal delivery schedules and pick-lists on the basis of item-level sales information collected and interpreted in real time. This information permits warehouse personnel to make up specific orders for each machine on the route, saving time for the drivers and maximizing inventory throughput. Seed also features tools for capturing spoilage and inventory variances. And a customizable integration tool, SeedSync, facilitates interchange of the data collected by Seed with existing management information systems.

Supported by the Cantaloupe Consulting team, Seed’s combination of wireless remote monitoring, dynamic routing and “pre-kitting” capabilities have enabled NCV to increase fills per machine visit by 75%, and the company expects to reduce the number of trucks at the branch by 37.5% without reducing revenue.

“Over the past few years, we have envisioned a system that would dynamically build routes daily, using real-time data and our specific parameters for when machines should be serviced,” Sowell said. “Our experience with Cantaloupe over the past two years has given us the confidence in dynamic routing, and verification that the Seed solution can integrate seamlessly with our existing vending management software package. We have been very pleased with Seed and its integration tools.”

Cantaloupe chief marketing officer Anant Agrawal pointed out that NCV’s full-branch adoption of Seed is a major step forward for Cantaloupe Systems. He expects several other large full-line vending operations, which have obtained test results similar to NCV’s, to expand their implementation of Seed’s dynamic routing, machine “pre-kitting” and other powerful operational tools.

Agrawal observed that, especially in the current economic climate, “operators recognize that they can benefit with major cost savings when the Seed solution can enable them to experience 35% to 40% route consolidation and cut other costs, while still improving customer service overall.”

In addition to the direct savings that result from greater route efficiency, NCV reported finding significant value in increased average weekly route revenue (which rose from $9,357 to $14,971); increased fuel economy, through eliminating a vehicle; reduced product damage and shrinkage, because of “pre-kitting”; and reduced machine downtime because of rapid, proactive response to equipment malfunction. This not only has improved customer service – and the more efficient vehicle use made possible by Seed offers the marketing advantage of a smaller “carbon footprint.”

North County Vending runs more than 16,000 machines and serves eight major western markets. It was one of the first adopters of MEI’s EasiTrax technology, and has worked with Cantaloupe Systems throughout the Seed development process, which began in 2003.

Cantaloupe Systems offers hardware, software, network and consulting services supported by field-based implementation teams. It is a two-time winner of M2M Magazine’s Gold Value Chain Award for retail applications, which it garnered in 2005 and 2007, and recently was recognized as one of Inc.’s 500 fastest-growing private companies for 2008. Information about Cantaloupe and its Seed system may be found online at cantaloupesys.com.


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