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Straws In The Wind: What To Look For At A NAMA OneShow
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 3, March 2016
NAMA's annual OneShow offers a once-a-year opportunity to see the latest developments in vending technology, products and marketing. These endeavors are driven by innovators' beliefs in the wants and needs of the contemporary market. For this reason, it has been fascinating to watch the intersection of improving capability and unpredictable changes in demand... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Relating To The Public: How Walter Reed Did It For Vending Operators
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 3, March 2016
Walter Reed, who served as public relations director for the National Automatic Merchandising Association from 1958 to 1989, tirelessly and meticulously assisted vending operators in building rapport with local news media, and in conducting their businesses in a way that communicated professionalism and cleanliness... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

A New Day Dawns For Vending
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 2, February 2016
The vending industry often has been accused of a lack of imagination, especially by innovators who need to get a new technology adopted quickly in order to cover its costs of development. The usual complaint was that "vending operators won't buy anything that doesn't have a coin slot in it." Some (like us) replied that a small business without a research-and-development budget partially funded by Defense Department contracts showed good sense by reserving its major capital investments for assets that generate revenues immediately... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

You Don't Need A Weatherman...
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 1, January 2016
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans published this month by the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services have provoked a good deal of comment, none of which was particularly surprising. Sampling that commentary did, however, help us to connect two or three perceptions that we have been forming over the past several decades... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Something Old, Something New
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 12, December 2015
The 2015 Coffee, Tea & Water conference offered abundant food for thought. As the approach of the new year prompts reflections on past events and those that may lie in store for us in the future, we might consider the question of price sensitivity in workplace refreshment service... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Micromarkets: Old Answers Updated For New Questions
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 11, November 2015
The advent of the micromarket either takes the full-line vending revolution to the next step, or constitutes a second revolution of its own. In either case, the concept of small, flexible self-checkout "grab and go" foodservice facilities has aroused curiosity and stimulated experimentation to a degree perhaps not seen for four decades... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Let's Get It Right The First Time: Vending And Digital Advertising
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 10, October 2015
As touchscreen interfaces proliferate on networked vending machines, the age-old dream of using vending machines as advertising media has reawakened. This time, it very well may work, but it will need to be seen in context and implemented in ways that customers will find at least useful and at best, enjoyable... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

'I Can Do That,' But Should You?
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 9, September 2015
A question that continually arises in this (and many other) industries is whether a new kind of enterprise is compatible with vending, coffee service, contract foodservice or music and amusements... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

By The People, For The People
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 8, August 2015
We recently took part in the National Automatic Merchandising Association's first "Fly-In" in Washington, DC. The experience led us to reflect on the current impatience with contemporary politics that sometimes seems to dominate news and opinion forums... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

We Did It Before And We Can Do It Again
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 6, June 2015
Much has been written about the opportunities to interact more closely with patrons offered by new technology. That surely is worth doing, and we think it is best done in conjunction with the proven customer-relations techniques developed by the vending industry on its five-decade journey from a novelty to the retailing mainstream... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Let's Go On With The Show
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 5, May 2015
We were very pleased by this year's National Automatic Merchandising Association annual trade show, now called OneShow. The presence of 75 first-time exhibitors suggests that the workplace refreshments industry is attracting attention once again. That is a very positive development, fueled by the growing recognition that vending machines -- and micromarkets -- are excellent media for interacting with the public, and also have moved into the vanguard of the Internet of Things... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Collecting The Dividend
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 4, April 2015
It might be worthwhile to assemble a history of engineering concepts which did not catch on when first applied to existing technology, but became triumphantly successful when the state of the art advanced or the market changed. Vending offers many examples of this... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Adding A Dimension To Product Variety In Vending
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 3, March 2015
For as long as I can remember, product pricing has been a vexed topic in vending. The dramatic expansion of the vending industry began about six decades ago in an economy that was largely free from inflation (in 1955, the rate of inflation was around 0.4%) and the prices for items that could be sold through the vending machines of the day varied little from year to year... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Return Of The Powerhouse
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 2, February 2015
The full-line vending industry spent more than four decades perfecting the "full-house" single-cup fresh brew coffee machine and adapting it to customer preferences. The time has come to look at new ways to use it... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

The Business(es) We're In
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 1, January 2015
People were running vending machines, delivering coffee to offices in convenient formats and operating coin-actuated amusement equipment before there ever was a vending, a coffee service or a music and games industry The pioneers in all these fields looked at an invention -- basically a pro­cess for delivering a product or service -- and envisioned potential markets for it... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

New Year's Resolutions
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 12, December 2014
The arrival of a new year, and the departure of the old one, is a suitable occasion for reviewing the things we've done and those we haven't, with a view toward doing more of the ones that worked, and avoiding recurrent mistakes. With that in mind, we suggest the following.... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Micromarkets: Déjà Vu All Over Again
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 11, November 2014
The industry conversation about micromarkets is addressing the questions that the new segment will need to answer if it is to develop into a durable and expanding segment of the retailing business... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

The Tide Turns For ACE, And Vending
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 10, October 2014
We've just returned from the 2014 Atlantic Coast Exposition, the 60th annual presentation of an event whose history parallels that of the modern vending industry... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

The Most Valuable Asset
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 9, September 2014
The rapid growth of the full-line vending industry generally is attributed to the development of hot and cold beverage machines that prepared and delivered high-quality, high-margin coffee and soft drinks quickly at any hour of the day or night, seven days a week. Forward-looking machine manufacturers, imaginative foodservice professionals and pioneering operators recognized the importance of merchandising to overcome patrons' reluctance to buy fresh food from an unattended point of sale... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

When Less Is More
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 8, August 2014
The first practical and widely used vending machines sold gum, often in the guise of "sales stimulators" that allowed patrons to purchase a sample of something for a penny to help them decide whether to buy a quarter-pound of it. The vending machine since has proven to be a very effective tool for getting consumers to try something new before incurring the expense of a major retail rollout... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Market Research As A Byproduct
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 6, June 2014
Digital imaging and pattern recognition technology at the vending machine can be put to good use by tackling the age-old problem of finding out just what a vending patron does when approaching a machine... by Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

We Need To Talk, And Listen
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 5, May 2014
We recently received an inquiry from an operator who asked whether the new touchscreen customer interfaces for vending machines can be equipped to recognize spoken questions and commands... Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Perils Of Infighting Outweigh The Fun
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 4, April 2014
Several recent news items illustrate a point that we've been making for some time now. A couple of months ago, the well-known discount pharmacy chain CVS announced that it will discontinue selling tobacco products this fall... Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

Getting Serious About Career Training
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 3, March 2014
Everyone from President Obama on down is promoting technology as the key to America's future prosperity, and it's hard to disagree with that. What usually is overlooked in the public conversation about technology is that inventing and manufacturing wonderful new things is a very worthwhile endeavor -- but somebody has to know how those things work, and how to repair them when they don't | Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

The Smallest Locations Drink Coffee, Too
Issue: Vol. 54, No. 2, February 2014
The first coffee service operators succeeded by focusing on underserved small locations. That segment still is underserved, and still wants coffee Tim Sanford
Author: Tim Sanford

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