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Vendors Exchange Enhances Service Dept., Upgrades Computer System And Website

Posted On: 9/23/2006

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CLEVELAND -- Vendors Exchange International has revamped, updated and expanded its service repair department and implemented a major computer upgrade. The changes enable the company to better support its inventory of 29,000 different replacement parts and more than 8,000 vending machines and maintain its track record of shipping 93% of its orders complete the first time.

VEII has been an Authorized MEI Service Department and an Amana Authorized Service Center for years, but the company handled repairs as an adjunct service for the convenience of its customers rather than as a function of a full-fledged department.

Into the picture came Don Schofield, a veteran manager of service repair departments. He saw the potential at VEII to offer customers opportunities to save money while receiving exceptional service. By combining its service expertise with VEII's extensive parts and equipment inventory, the company now offers a one stop-shop to help customers be as efficient and profitable as possible.

Working alongside service repair manager Ron Thomas, Schofield oversaw the reconstruction of the service department. Rolling carts, conveyors, a parts washer and new systems have been put into place, along with a final double check of every repaired unit. Schofield also set up a full bank of equipment to test the most popular control boards.

VEII's goal is to turn around repairs within 48 hours after they are received in the building. And even when the company's quick turnaround time is not fast enough for its busy customers, VEII's vast stock of rebuilt coin mechs and validators provides the opportunity to "advance replace" equipment for a customer who needs a unit right away and cannot wait to send his piece in.

In order to further distinguish his department from other service repair departments, Schofield, along with the marketing staff of VEII, devised a two-tiered pricing structure on repairs. One price schedule offers a six-month limited warranty; and the other provides a full one-year warranty on labor.

"This program allows the customer to choose the pricing that best fits his needs," Schofield explained. "Once we repair a unit, even if a part goes bad that we didn't initially fix, we will replace the part without charging for labor. Of course, the customer will still have to pay for the part, but we are extremely happy with our QC department and the quality of our work. The extra $5 charge for the extended warranty is an extremely enticing and competitive offer."

In addition, for customers within certain areas, VEII is offering pickup and delivery service with returns every other week. Another service veteran, Dave Chernikoff, is overseeing this service.

While revamping the service department has been a tremendous feat, upgrading the company's computer software is another improvement the company made to impact and improve its customers' buying experience. The e-business module will allow customers to check their account history and place parts orders in real time.

Mark Butler, head of IT, has been spearheading the conversion. "The ability to give customers their account information and improving the website can only make the buying experience a smoother one. There will be bumps along the road, but in the end the customer will really benefit from these changes," he said.

Other changes "behind the scenes" will speed up the process of packing and pulling parts while improving the accuracy of the orders. In addition, the software will allow VEII to speed up the remanufacturing process so customers will not have to wait two to three weeks for the most common remanufactured pieces of equipment.

VEII's equipment or parts departments can be reached at (800) 321-2311.