01 Apr Coronavirus Operations Guide
The coronavirus is making a big impact on all industries – vending, micro market, and delivery services included. In the face of these challenges, operators must take steps to find success. From optimizing operations, to offering additional services, and thinking outside the box – our coronavirus operations guide gives you 12 steps you can take to find success in these challenging times.
Call Your Accounts – See what accounts are still open, and which accounts are closed or working remotely. Know which accounts need your attention and continued service.
Go the Extra Mile – For open accounts, see if there is something they need that you can uniquely provide them. Items like hand sanitizer, paper towels, and vitamin C packets are in high demand. Workers might even need staple items to take home with them after finishing up their work. Do everything you can to maximize profits in your still-open accounts.
Maintain a Healthy Business – For your safety and the health of your community, it is essential to run a hygienic business. Do everything you can to run a clean operation. Make your route drivers bring sanitizer with them, Wipe down machines or markets after service, regularly disinfect your warehouse. Show your locations they can count on you being clean. The more openly sanitary you are, the better the chance you have to continue servicing open accounts, and to keep your community healthy.
Order Shelf-Stable Products – With decreased traffic at many locations, fresh food and quick-expiring products are riskier to order. Cut down on pastries, salads, and sandwiches and shift toward more shelf-stable products. For accounts that are closed, recover and re-distribute viable products. Minimizing product waste is essential to keep your operations up and running. For products that do expire, consider donating them to a local food bank.
Redirect Commissary Food – If you have a commissary, redirect the sale of these products to retail stores in need. Many retail stores are struggling to meet demand, especially with food, beverage, and paper goods. NAMA is currently pushing for legislation to relax packaging requirements to make this redirection even easier. Get your products to places in need.
Try Home Delivery – Home delivery / last mile delivery is in very high demand. If you need work for your drivers, see if you can maximize their efficiency with home delivery. Inform your accounts that you can do home deliveries for their employees. Use a service like Parlevel Link to let individuals place orders directly from you. If necessary, institute a minimum order dollar amount to ensure you profit from home deliveries.
Take Advantage of Low Fuel Prices – Gas prices are currently very low – national averages are hovering around $2 a gallon. Now is a good time to fill up. Your drivers can drive further, which means servicing your accounts has a lower fuel cost. This will let you service accounts in need more frequently, or service locations outside your normal zone of operations.
Stay Tuned to City, State, and National Decrees. Follow updates from NAMA, monitor legislation, keep an eye on shelter in place orders, pay attention to WHO, CDC, and Department of Labor updates. There are many resources you can turn to in order to stay informed and operationally compliant.
Know what Services Are Essential – Healthcare, utilities, emergency services, governmental facilities, critical manufacturing, transportation systems – all of these services and more are declared essential by homeland security. However, they may vary on the state or city level. Knowing which locations qualify as essential services will let you know which accounts are still viable.
Look to Add New Accounts – These essential services need extra attention right now. Locations that may not have needed vending or micro market services in the past, might need them now. Offer your services to locations conducting virus testing or giving temporary housing. There are locations in need of your services, you just have to find them.
Diversify Your Accounts as much as Possible – Moving forward, maintain these general rules of thumb in diversifying your accounts. Don’t let a single account be more than 10% of your total business. Don’t let a single industry segment be more than 30% of your total business. Try to have accounts in many different sectors – manufacturing, government facilities, hospitals, etc. The more varied your accounts are, the better positioned you are to find success in times of hardship.
Lean on Technology – Technology is more valuable than ever right now. It is imperative to streamline your operations and boost sales in active accounts. Cashless readers, vending management systems, micro market promotions – now is the time to use technology to run your operation at maximum efficiency.
Our industry and industry members are resilient. We’ve seen highs and lows during the 80 plus years that our industry has flourished. We’ll get through this too. With these 12 tips, you can find success during these challenging times.